Soraï, Halo Maud

Rap is rarely posted on this blog, not that I don’t enjoy a bit of boom-bap, but usually I choose for the more hushed, sultry and soothing sounds. Soraï is from Montreal, you can tell because she seamlessly raps in both English and French(-Canadian). Her debut album Synesthésies has a colourful, 90s indie hiphop vibe (think Luscious Jackson, Beastie Boys, that scene) which I like a lot, and grew up with. But Soraï adds a lot of personality and (personal) style to her music too. Have a taste:

Also seamlessly in both English and French (sometimes in one song), and very on the beat, is Halo Maud. She doesn’t rap, and though her music is very rhythmic (three drummers!) it’s not hiphop. It’s more psychedelic, magical, wonderous. I love this track;

Fleur, Tess Merlot

Two Dutch singers, featured here before, with new tracks. Tess Merlot, as you know, loves the golden years of 60s/70s chanson. Her gorgeous, creamy album Chante La Vie is out now and features this duet with total Dutch vocal hero Ben Cramer:

And Fleur, above, loves the 60s music from France as well, but takes a more jubilant, YeYe-approach. This new single rocks anyone who loves Clothilde, Annie Philippe, early France Gall.

Hotel Particulier

Hotel Particulier is an indie rock(ish) band from Lyon, France. Yes, they’re named after de Serge Gainsbourg-song (on the Melody Nelson album), they say they’re inspired by Jeff Buckley and Radiohead, you can hear that in earlier tracks. This is the new single:

Francoiz Breut

Ooh la la, Francoiz is spoiling us with yet another brilliant single, one with some heavy Stereolab vibes. An ode to spring, if I’m understanding it correctly. On her Facebook, she says about this track: ‘Joy joy joy of the sprouts, of the strength of the root under the bitumen. May the spring give us strength!’

Project Gemini feat. Wendy Martinez

Project Gemini = producer Paul Osborne. First album The Children of Scorpio (2022) is a dazzling world of folk rock, psych soundtracks and hazy cinematic funk.

On his upcoming second album, two tracks are blessed by the sultry, smokey French vocals of Wendy Martinez, ‘Extra Nuit’ and ‘Entre chien et loup’. The former echoes Paul’s love of classic French psych-pop from the late ’60s and early ’70s and artists such as Laurance Vanay, Calcium, Leonie, and Serge Gainsbourg. You can hear the Serge-reference immediatly in that fat, plopping bass-sound. Love this a lot. (Wendy was featured here before, see?)

Donna Blue

Second album by Utrecht-based, Dutch retro-duo Donna Blue. In the new songs (in French and English) you still hear ye-ye and sweet 60s pop (Nancy & Lee), but in this interview (in Dutch) they say jazz, more specific bossa jazz (Laurindo Almeida, who made a FANTASTIC album with Stan Getz in 1966, one of my all time favorite records) is an influence. Not that much in the two French songs, of which the dreamy ‘Mains de l’amour’ a real gem.

Barbara Rivage

Second feature on French duo Barbara Rivage (Roxane Argouin, Vivien Tacinelli). The debut album ‘Tout sera beau’ is out, and it’s a cool one. Fresh, bit dark, danceable. I hear Les Rita Mitsouko as much as Françoise Hardy (as Clara Luciani, with lesser disco input), but these two aren’t copycats, no sir. Love Roxane’s low voice, the funky basslines, the electronics. Two examples of their greatness: