Charlotte Gainsbourg @ Paradiso

Charlotte wasn’t to blame, I think. That’s if you want to blame anyone for the show yesterday in Paradiso. The sound engineer is a perfect scapegoat, but getting the sound right in the Amsterdam venue is a challenge, I know. Yesterday, the first half of the concert had waaaaay too much bass. After about four of five songs, it got better. But it didn’t save the show.
It’s not easy to put the finger on the reasons why it didn’t appeal to me. Heck, I wanted it to be great. The Bruxelles show was excellent. Fierce. Yesterday, it was plushy. Lovey-dovey. Someone on twitter said it was like a pajama-party, due to the white clothes every one wore on stage. Connan Mockasin, dressed like a cult leader on stage, should’ve been the perfect musical companion – see this video. But yesterday, the music was too timid, too tame. To me, it sounded and looked like the band and Charlotte were uneasy with each other. Like they weren’t familiair enough with the material, with the new arrangements. Reviewer Peter Bruyn said to me: Connan’s no Beck, no Jarvis, no Conor J. O’Brien from Villagers, or one of the other men that helped push Charlotte to great heights. He’s sub-top at best. Charlotte needs top guys.

At times, it fared pretty well. The glam-funkin’ way Connan re-arranged songs from Charlotte For Ever, her first album from the 80s that Serge penned, did work. But songs like Heaven Can Wait or The Songs That We Sing, needed more oomph, chutpaz, drive, body – something like that. And that note-perfect cover of Ashes to Ashes…nice. For once.
Were my expectations too high? Charlotte wasn’t to blame. Yesterday, she looked stunning, sang charmingly, smiled a lot, it seemed like she had a great time. Part of the audience did so too (I guess about 400 people showed up, in a room that holds about 1500). But to me, to mrs Guuzbourg, to several people I spoke afterwards like FS-collaborators Maks and FransS, it didn’t even touch the standard we raised for Charlotte.

See an impression on Youtube.
More pictures HERE

Charlotte & Connan

Charlotte Gainsbourg is touring with flamboyant Kiwi (meaning: from New Zealand) artist Connan Mockasin. This weekend, they’re playing Brussels and (hooray!) Amsterdam. They redid Got to Let Go, the track Charlotte sang with Charlie from Noah & the Whale on her Stage Whisper album. A better version, I’d say. I’m not that familiar with Mockasin’s music, but according to It’s Choade, My Dear, he must’ve heard Serge’s masterpiece Melody Nelson.
Watch Charlotte and Connan together here.

Charlotte Gainsbourg & Connan Mockasin – Got to let Go
Connan Mockasin – It’s Choade, My Dear


Yes, we are partisan. Always were, in the six year this blog exists. You all know we have our prefered sweethearts. we’re on first name basis with ‘m: Camille, Charlotte, Beatrice (Coeur de Pirate), Coralie, Vanessa. And Claire. And because Claire has a new album, it is a happy day at Fillessourires. Us and Claire, it started in 2008 and continued in 2009 when her first, self-titled album came out.
And now there is a new album “Vagabonde”. Earlier this year we could see Claire has grown (duh!), as she showed in the catchy “Bang bang bang” (released on an EP in May) and in some sessions she did this year, like this one where she covers Big Mama Thornton.

And now there is “Vagabonde”. She continues to be our Claire, but she is older, more mature. It is clear that she’s studied the musical history, especially Americana (she lived in America, you know). The whole album sounds like an Americana album, sung in French, with “our” Claire’s husky voice, like in the new single “Rien de Moi” (also on the EP).
Was “Bang Bang Bang” a potential summer hit, the rest of the album is perfect for the upcoming autumn. No wait, autumn started already in July. With old whiskeys and/or good red wines and fireplaces…
For a teaser I decided to pick “34 Septembre” because that is a new song and it is in two weeks from now. Welcome Back, Claire!

Claire Denamur – 34 Septembre

More Charlotte Gainsbourg

Charlotte Gainsbourg fans are spoiled. First there was a new video, now a previously unreleased track. ‘White Telephone’, added to the dvd that’s enclosed with the French magazine Courrier International, is a beautiful track that sounds like a leftover from the 5.55 sessions. Various strings, a floating, Air-ish bassline, some fx, her husky voice. What a treat. VERY different from the new single (below). Mille fleurs to Antoine for sending me this track.

Charlotte Gainsbourg – White Telephone

Charlotte Gainsbourg

Charlotte Gainsbourg released a limited (500 copies) vinyl-single on Record Store Day, yesterday. It’s a split single with the wonderful Conor O’Brien of Villagers (who wrote the CG-song too). The actual single was unavailable in the Netherlands, and now you have to pay triple the price on eBay. The track, which was co-produced by O’Brien and Renaud Letang in Paris, will be released on Gainsbourg’s next full-length album, Live and Unreleased , due sometime this year (it was announced last year, but we’ll see it when it drops) (hopefully outside of the US and France too). See a fantastic live-performance of Villagers in Rotterdam here.

Charlotte Gainsbourg – Memoir

Travelling 2

A rule of the thumb when it comes to singing actors; if they’re not French, stay away! Travelling 2 is, yes, the second compilation of French singing actors, ranging from Yves Montand (en duo with Marilyn Monroe, one of the few non-French exceptions who recorded acceptable songs) to Vanessa Paradis, Virginie Ledoyen and Charlotte Gainsbourg. It features gems like Charlotte’s L’un part, l’autre reste and the very funny Chanson des chats from Michel Gondry’s Science of Sleep movie. With two songs from ultra-vixen Ludivine Sagnier and a very sultry version of Singin’ in the Rain, Travelling 2 is very FillesSourires-friendly.

Nora Arnezeder & Feloche – Singin’ in the rain
(orig. from this movie, the cover was used for this perfume ad)
Ludivine Sagnier – Si Tard (from the movie Love Songs)

Charlotte For Ever 2.0

And I quote: ‘The record is swathed in the worst kind of 80s production stylings you can imagine: session muso slap-bass, extended synthesizer solos, show-off guitar licks at every turn, wailing saxophones everywhere … Despite this, Phil is convinced the record is a lost classic of genius songwriting, and my brief was to strip it of the badly dated 1980s production and re-record the whole album to reveal the hidden pop gems at the heart of it all.’
The record in question is Charlotte Gainsbourg’s Charlotte For Ever, written by Serge in the mid-80s. ‘Phil’ is Philip Ilson from the London Short Film Festival – a massive Gainsbourg fan. He wanted to do something to celebrate the premiere of Joann Sfar’s Gainsbourg film. So he commissioned Markus (formerly Their Hearts Were Full of Spring’s frontman) to update Charlotte For Ever, together with Charlotte McEwan (currently a film student at University of the Arts, London). Bold move.

Did Markus and Charlotte as Hige Club do a better job than Serge and Charlotte? McEwan has a voice as untrained as Charlotte Gainsbourg’s, but lacks the innocence that makes the original album such a perverted joy to listen to. Especially in Lemon Incest, a song one should never try to top.
That said, not having to listen to the slapping bass and the nasty synths certainly makes this update more enjoyable. Ouvertures Eclair for instance is a much better song in the cover version.
Listen to (and order) the brave effort by Markus and Charlotte HERE. Hige Club performs live on the Branchage Festival end of September.

Hige Club – Charlotte For Ever
Charlotte & Serge Gainsbourg – Charlotte For Ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg in Bruxelles

Yes, Charlotte Gainsbourg did Serge’s Couleur café last Saturday in the Royal Circus of Bruxelles. And L’hôtel particulier. And some hard rocking versions of her own songs (well, songs that were written especially for her), with added psychedelic fx. Those expecting the gentle, almost velvet atmosphere of Charlotte’s 5.55 album probably were disappointed – songs like Songs that We Sing and Jamais were grittier. Jamais even got funkier, with the emphasis on the bassline. I read some reviews of her show in Le Cigale Paris (here), the concert in Bruxelles was exactly the same. It was fierce, sometimes Charlotte could not be heard over the music – but then we knew she has no Aretha Franklin-pipes. I liked it a lot, the band was great (‘cept for the drummer they all played various instruments), the psychedelic fx worked (esp. in Le chat du café des artistes) and the Serge-cover were a treat. She also did a gorgeous Dylan-reprise (see video here). I’d love to see and hear her in a more intimate setting, with lots of strings and a plushier atmosphere. But those leather pants sure fit her nicely.