More Greco

Guestposter Mark has an update on Juliette Gréco this summer:

juliette-greco-jpg_10297Juliette Gréco does not do retirement. ‘Retraite, c’est un terme militaire pour moi’ she retorts. And she can suddenly lose 40 years, as here at the Festival de Ramatuelle on the Côte d’Azur on 7 August.
At the end of a typically sharp performance of Leo Ferré’s ‘Jolie Môme’, the white light on her fades and for a second she loses four decades from her face – looking not 86 but perhaps 44, La Grande Sophie’s age today. Freeze the Youtube film and click forward slowly from 2min 42sec and what no still photograph could capture is on Filles Sourires.

Juliette also sang ‘La Javanaise’, and we can see the stress that caused her to retire after an hour suffering from heat stroke, as reported in ‘Le Figaro’ the next day.

In her heyday JG only sang for 45 minutes plus encore. So to perform for hour in August heat would tax anyone at 26, let alone 86. Yet a week later she was back on stage at the Festival Musicalarue de Luxey, in Les Landes.

One impressive yet little-known Gréco song, difficult to do on stage because it needs an orchestra, is now on the web : ‘Et là, t’y crois’, from a 1993 album. The magnificent arrangement of Etienne Roda-Gill and Julien Clerc’s lyric is by Jean Claude Petit. The lyrics are not long, but stretch wonderfully for 4 minutes. I have used my Youtube channel to put them into two comments boxes below the Youtube screen picture.

Elsa Kopf

If a gorgeous, husky-voiced blonde says she wants to marry you, while holding a big black gun in her hand, what would you do? Flee? Come along on a shopping spree? One thing’s for sure, the blonde isn’t afraid to use the gun, as you can see in Elsa Kopf‘s video for Sugar Roses. A Mazzy Star-ish, folksy song that is one of the highlights on her new album Marvelously Dangerous. Strasbourg-born Elsa sings in French, Spanish and English, this song’s taken from her second album that was produced and co-written by Pierre ‘Peppermoon‘ Faa. Elsa was in Amsterdam last week, where she did a few small shows with her extended Peppermoon family. She was brilliant, funny, beautiful and really demanding attention – even without her gun.

Diving With Andy

5307060-7919958What’s the most perfect Autumn song? Les Feuilles Mortes? La Chanson de Prévert? The September of My Years? Celle qui by Diving With Andy certainly is a contender. It’s the only French song on the new (third) album by the duo. Remy and Juliette formed DwA in 2003, a trio then. They’re influenced by Elliott Smith, OP8 and Eurythmics, to name but a few. Juliette has a Sarah Cracknell-ish posh accent when she sings, the songs are delicate, well-crafted and very, very melancholic. Celle qui is the first DvA-song that’s totally in French – on the Benjamin Biolay-produced debut there’s an English-French duet with Coralie Clément. Also beautiful.

Diving with Andy – Celle Qui

Sandie Trash

If Charles Bradley is the Screaming Eagle of Soul, then Sandie Trash is the Screaming Siren of Chanson. She’s an FS-mainstaysandie-trash-gif, appearing on the first Filles Fragiles cd with her brilliant Jane B.-cover, Sandie just released a digital album and a beautiful double-10-inch vinyl record (one vinyl is blood red, yeah!) with her trademark electrofying French punque. It’s loud, people, really loud. But at times, Sandie gives the pedal a little rest, and shows her softer side. In this duet with Alex Rossi, for instance. Almost every French male-female duet has a Gainsbourg-Birkin ring to it. Which is nice.


Just a reminder, tomorrow the new album by Pendentif, one of the bestest French releases of this year, is officially out. Tho you can find it on Spotify already. Me, raving about that album, here.


Regular correspondent SoCal Steve wrote a great piece on the Forêt album on his own blog – I stole it for FS:

And now to be added to the pantheon of “wow” and “what the fuck was that?” comes “Forêt”, the eponymous-titled debut album from the Montreal based duo of classically trained vocalist Émilie Laforest and musician / composer Joseph Marchand.

Similar to their Montreal-based compatriots Groenland and Hôtel Morphée, the duo have drawn back to a disparate past to put their stamp on the future. In the duo’s case they’ve distilled the complex atmospheric of acclaimed indie label 4AD stablemates The Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance, and mixed with the dark psychedelia of Portishead’s “Third”. The addition of Spanish guitar and subtle reverb weaves a surrealistic yet always edgy aural landscape.

Even upon a cursory first listen it’s immediately obvious that there’s a huge amount of love and attention been showered on this immaculately crafted album; Marchand’s flowing arrangements perfectly balance with LaForest’s haunting vocals, bringing life to award-winning Quebec-based poet Kim Doré’s atmospheric lyrics.
The is perfectly balanced album, at times complex, at others, the very model of simplicity – slower numbers such as the ghostly “Je tombe avec la pluie” and the balladesque “Après la guerre” neatly complement “Le verbe amour” and “Corps maquillés”, where that aforementioned reverb hints at that slightly darker undercurrent that’s always present.

I mentioned a passing similarity to the early days of 4AD. Listening to this album, there’s a growing case to compare this album favourably with that label’s “super group” This Mortal Coil’s seminal album “It’ll End in Tears“.

High praise? Maybe… But trust me, this is a stunning debut album and it might well be that good…

Interviews here, here.