Yearlists (8)

bands_liminanasWhen starting to think about 2013, my first thought was that it wasn’t a good year at all. No highlights, disappointments, a meager year in the FS history.
I listened to everything again and started making a shortlist, with about 20 names.  And then the other year lists appeared. 42 different names (!) of which only 10 made my shortlist….
Maybe 2013 wasn’t that bad overall, and can we hail 2013 in the future as one of the most diverse years in FS history.

So apologies to Vanessa Paradis, Pendentif, and Laurence Hélie who were bubbling under, but here’s a yearlist with a lot of new names…

10. Carla Bruni – Little French Songs
Comeback album of the former French First Lady. All political fuzz set aside, it’s still Carla Bruni, people!
09. Marilou – Au Milieu De Mon Écart
08. Ottilie – La Histoires d’O2 – XIIII
Belgian singer with a  special album, that stayed a bit under the radar. See more here
07. Sarah Olivier – Pink Galina
06. Ariane Brunet – Fusée
05. Sophie Maurin – Sophie Maurin
04.Sally Folk  – Confection
03. Angèle David-Guillou – Kourouma
02. Riff Cohen – A Paris Surprising album. the title song (here) makes me happy everytime I hear it.
01. The Limiñanas   – Costa Blanca
Gainsbourg with guitars.. Wonderful album! (and in january they will come to Holland. Wonder how the will perform life!)
[couldn’t find a clip of their neiw album, so here is an older one!]

Year list (7)

Here’s guestposter Sylvester lookin’ over his shoulder. He will broadcast his best of the year list this saturday and on January 4th, via THIS link.

Father Christmas will have a hard time finding interesting new albums in the category Variété Français. The past few months have not exactly been fruitful for French chanson. On the other hand, in the first part of 2013 the supply was overwhelming! Very difficult to reduce this overload to a Top 10.

10. Thomas Fersen & The Ginger Experiment
In the year he turned fifty, Fersen went back to the rock sound of his debut. Good for him, it compensates for his lethargic voice, which is so much in contrast with his imaginative lyrics. VIDEO

9. Rose – Et Puis Juin
Her third album got rather a poor reception by the critics, but it wasn’t that bad. At least ‘Aux éclats je ris’ was an excellent song to start spring with. VIDEO
8. Carla Bruni – Little French songs
Charming songs about Mick Jagger and about her sentimental, dynamic husband. François ‘Penguin’ Hollande is a poseur, according to La Bruni, but I’m glad his victory made it possible to relaunch her singing career. VIDEO

7. Sanseverino – Honky tonk
His newest album was a tribute to blue grass music, but the jazzy gipsy sound dominated like before. Stéphane Sanseverino remains the best representation of Django Reinhardt on earth. VIDEO

6. Clarika – La tournure des choses
Nice lively cd of the 46-year old singer, who recently was the victim of a death-anouncement-hoax on Facebook. No wonder she prefers old-fashioned means of communication, like letters written with a ballpoint – she sings about it on her new album. VIDEO

5. Hôtel Morphée – Des histoires de fantômes
Promising debute of this Canadian avantgarde popband, with a nice folky psychedelic sixties sound. It took them five years to make their first album, but now they have acquired a taste for it: next year they will record a successor. VIDEO

4. Sophie Maurin – Sophie Maurin
Ragtime piano, bluesy mood, charming voice, interesting lyrics, excellent debutante! I very much liked her first album, wich is varied and vivid, with a slightly melancholic aftertaste. VIDEO

3. Kent – Le temps des âmes
Kent, aka Hervé Despesse, started as an Anglophile punker and now got new inspiration in Berlin, where he performed with pianist Marc Haussmann at a Kreuzberg cabaret. The result is a sober, nearly solemn album, which is sehr gut. VIDEO

2. Alex Beaupain – Après moi le déluge
Beaupin’s fourth album definitely proofs contemporary French chanson is far from dead. Nostalgic realist songs like ‘Grands Soirs’ won’t make history, but are of a timeless beauty. VIDEO

1. Albin de la Simone – Un homme

In the past I thought De la Simone was too self-critial, when he said he could do better. But indeed, his new album is his best – until now. A sympathetic chansonnier, taking refuge from harsh certainties in beautiful compositions. VIDEO

Year list (6)

Guestposter David rounds up his favourites of the year:
Like Steve, on this side of the Atlantic release dates can be problematic. Melanie Pain’s “Bye Bye Manchester” made a yearlist last year, but it shows up to me as a 2013 release. Far and away the number one album for me this year, but there are many other good ones. I thought it would be tough to come up with 10. I’ve had to trim instead. Perhaps not such a bad year for filles, looking back.

11. Elsa Kopf, “Marvelously Dangerous”. The English title misleads a bit, as unlike Elsa’s “Acoustic Joys”, here she sings mostly in French. I confess some of Elsa’s singing is almost too perfect and sweet for me, but every time the music shuffles to Elsa I find myself stopping what I’m doing to listen anyway. A puzzlement. My favorite, “un chat, un chat”.

10. Clarika, “La Tournure des Choses” – Clarika will be familiar to long time “Filles Sourires” fans, but somehow her latest effort escaped mention. Clarika continues to surprise hitting it perfectly with “C’était Mieux Avant”.

9. Maude, “Le Temps Inventé”. First newcomer on this list. Maude’s voice drives every song, clear as a bell, calling Marie-Pierre Arthur to mind, but Maude stays more towards the folk side, as you might expect of a Granby music festival participant. A pity, in a way, as “Coeur En Boule” is far and away the best song on this CD, but I like most of the songs on this CD. Here’s “Si Le Monde” .

8. Mell, “Relationship Cheap”. Drifing away for a moment from the sweetness and light side, clearing whatever the ear’s equivalent of the palate might be, Mell put out another hard driving rock album. “Oh Mon Amour” works on a variety of levels, with Mell’s signature guitar and vocals. Here’s a video of “Un Pied Dans Le Vide”.

7. Anik Jean, “Schizophrène”. Drifting even further away, Anik continues her Goth/heavy metal ways. Anik’s another favorite, and her fourth album doesn’t disappoint, with “Tu Es Mon Enfer” as an example.

6. Maissiat, “Tropiques”. Amandine Maissiat, previously of Subway, put out her first album early in the year. “Tropiques” includes songs from her previous EP, but with enough new material to make the purchase worth it. Here’s a video of Maissiat performing “Havre-Caumartin”.

5. Auren, “J’ose”. If you like Austine, there’s a fair chance you will like Auren. Girl/guitar/acoustic with low voice that carries her songs effortlessly, capturing attention like a whisper in the ear. And she’s pretty, of course. Another video here.

4. Les Soeurs Boulay, “Le Poids Des Confettis”.
I can’t add anything more than Steve has already said. A favorite. Recommended.

3. Robi, “L’hiver Et La Joie”. When I first heard Robi thanks to Filles Sourires last year, I kept a close eye out for Robi’s first album. Wow. The first three songs on this CD got a lot of air time with me this year. Video: Où Suis-Je .

2. Marie Cherrier (pictured above), “Billie”.
I confess I sometimes can’t tell one pretty voice from another. I can always pick out Marie’s, though. My favorite: “Scotch”.

1. Moongai, “Cosmofamille”. I’ve only had this CD for this past month, but it’s already got a lot of play. One of those albums you can play straight through without wanting something different. When Guuz says “this could be big”, I pay close attention. Moongai’s electronic/pop style reminds me somewhat of a U.S. duo, “Bitter:Sweet”. Here’s Cosmofamille.

I’m Fresh! You’re Pretty!

I’m Fresh! You’re Pretty! aka Je suis fraiche tu es mignonne is a trio who love Weezer, Daft Punk, 80 synths and like to cover new and old tunes. Their sound is like an update of eponymous French 80s band Indochine. On their Soundcloud page you can listen to their version of Gainsbourg’s Je suis venu te dire, to La Femme’s Sur la Planche and to this cool Christmas song:

Morphée Carla Dance 2013 Year List (5)

liminanas_medium_imageThere’ve been better years in French music, but we’ve seen worse. So: Loads of retro, a bit of tongue play, an actress you probably never heard about (I hadn’t), one of Steve’s faves, a Biarritz gang in love with Germany’s capital, and of course a few little French songs.

11. Actually, Vanessa’s Love Songs were a bit of a letdown, especially the Biolay chansons. The most fun is the Glam-inspired Mi Amor, written by BB Brunes’ Adrien Gallo.

Vanessa Paradis – Mi Amor

10. La Masheillaise 1 & 2. If you’re into Gallic pop bâtard, this is the thing for you. Two mash-up compilations featuring few flakes, part playful nonsense, part premier cool. Free download here and there, FS favorite being:

Chocomang – Quel Modèle Veux-Tu

09. The Limiñanas, Costa Blanca. Pictured. More of the same, but still an intriguing blend of hypno guitar minimalism, tongue-in-cheek morbidezza and cinemascope retromania, think Mazzy Star with Edie Sedgwick on vocals, lysergic style.

Limiñanas – Votre Coté Yéyé M’emmerde

08. Jeanne Balibar, Slalom Dance. An album from 2006 I discovered only this year, definitely not the kind of stuff you’d expect of a singing actress, gritty, eccentric, touching, think Gréco produced by Alain Bashung. Balibar also did a fine version of La putain for the compilation project Autour de Reggiani in 2002.

Jeanne Balibar – Sex & Vegetables
Jeanne Balibar – La Putain

07. Hotel Morphée, Des Histoires des Fantômes. A bit too folky for my tastes, but Laurence Nerbonne is a spellbinding – and peculiarly sexy – raconteuse amidst the overcast aura of this gloomy Canadian sunday. Music to listen to with the shades drawn.

Hotel Morphée – La Bête et la Mitraille

06. Malcolm McLaren, Paris. Almost twenty years old, this one was the most-played record on my turntables this year. For some reason, I never had heard of it, and therefore it qualifies as brand new, as witty, literate, upper-class British and intertextual as it gets. Blame it on my awful tastes.

Malcolm McLaren – Miles and Miles of Miles Davis

05. Charles Trenet. Of course, we celebrated the 100th birthday of Trenet in 2013, the national idol who wrote La Mer on a train ride in twenty minutes, writer of almost a thousand chansons, surrealist, poet, entertainer, genius. Here’s his take on immortality again.

Charles Trenet – L’âme des Poètes

04. Helena Noguerra, Année Zero. An uneven one with a two or three bummers, but breathing a hidden, clandestine charm, also featuring one of the most beautiful chansons for some years to come: Appelle moi, written in collaboration with her ex-husband Katerine, a heartbreaker of a song about yesterday, today, and forever.

Helena Noguerra – Ceux Que J’ai Embrassés
Helena Noguerra – Appelle Moi

03. Carla Bruni, Little French Songs. Bruni’s best album, a ravissante roundup of perfect earworms, the ultimate love song for the really big guns (Mon Raymond), a gorgeous shit-eating grin, and a superb Italian version of Charles Trenet’s Douce France.

Carla Bruni – Dolce Francia
Charles Trenet – Douce France

02. Alka, La Première Fois. Maybe someday somebody will find an explanation why this one went down the drain. Oscillating between libido opera, Jane B. breathlessness, highly infectious funk and holy intimacy, La Première Fois is chock-full of vibrant grooves and feels like a long wet kiss on the mouth.

Alka – Pas la Peine Te Dire Adieu

01. La Femme, Psycho Tropical Berlin. Despite the tacky cover and daft title, this is it. The most catchy album of 2013, shamelessly retro, openly aggressive, super girlish, the ideal instrument to club oneself to death. That baise-moi beat rips your shirt off and goes right for … well, you tell me.

La Femme – Amour dans le Motu