Floating with Françoiz

Our gamine lady of French indie pop: That’s Françoiz Breut, kind of a brooding indie folk figurehead of the Nouvelle Scène Française and with Si tu disais actually famous in France for a few hours in the mid-90s. Fifteen years later, Françoiz has come of age, and La Chirurgie des Sentiments may be her most consistent album yet. While opening with BXL Bleuette, an hommage to her adopted hometown Bruxelles, Chirurgie’s soundscapes, oscillating between airy mournfulness and serene mirth, chanson, post-new wave and splinters of electropop, actually lead directly to the vastness of the firmament. L’astronome reminds distantly of Clare and The Reasons’ dreamy Pluton, and the sweeping Cabinet des Curiosités beams the sound of Bahia right up to the asteroid belt, combining Gallic-Brazilian weightlessness, space age pop and easy listening scope to a clandestine super hit. With Chirurgie, Françoiz has arrived, though not à Bruxelles. Finally she’s at one with the universe.

Françoiz Breut – Cabinet des Curiosités

François & Françoiz

French artists who get signed by cool British indie-labels, there aren’t that many. Barbara Carlotti’s part of the 4AD-family, Françoiz Breut’s albums were at some point distributed by Bella Union and now Domino has taken François & the Atlas Mountains under their indie wings. François Marry is no stranger to overseas labels, though.  He was part of Movietone, and joined Crescent (who both released records on FatCat and Domino). After three albums (self-released or on Fence) the fourth F&tAM cd gets a worldwide release via the home of Franz Ferdinand, Anna Calvi and The Kills. Next year, that is. But in France it’s already out. Shame, ’cause it’s a very good album. François sings both in English and French, has a pleasant voice and likes his songs groovy, with African popinfluences. He also likes to add a good string section, and when Françoiz Breut is his duet partner, we at FillesSourires HQ are definitely all ears. La Breut with strings, in a tristesse song – Cherchant les ponts sounds like a track from Breut’s masterpiece Une Saison Volée.

See/watch the new F&tAM single Piscine HERE

Francois & the Atlas Mountains & Francoiz Breut – Cherchant les ponts

Marianne & Francoiz take America

In October, Marianne Dissard and Françoiz Breut toured the US of A together. Eleven days, eleven shows, 3489 miles. That’s a roundtrip Paris-Moscow! Especially for FillesSourires, the girls kept a diary. It’s star-studded, it’s funny, it’s girly, it’s a good read.

Jour 1 – Bruxelles to Tucson
Françoiz : I don’t really feel like landing and having to go through the impressive border checkpoint. In Chicago, a charming border agent, a sort of Mickey Rourke (is his hair greased back or just greasy?), asks me why I’m coming to the USA and what my job is in Bruxelles. I shake and say I am an illustrator. Now, onward to Phoenix, a city of suburbs that extend straight into the surrounding desert, houses that spring out of the ground like weeds.

21H30 : Marianne and Shana – a cute blond – come to pick us up, Stéphane (my guitarist) and me at the bus shuttle in Tucson. Marianne plays tonight at Plush, with her young musicians, including Sergio, who had played with me when I was last in Tucson. The bar is quiet. Marianne softly sings with her big glasses, anchored to her mike. We meet up with our road companions, Antoine and Christophe, last seen at the Bruxelles airport. They’re here to film our tour, beginning tomorrow.

Jour 2 – Tucson to San Diego

Françoiz : Early rise; I don’t quite realize yet that we’re playing in San Diego tonight. Marianne has found us a drummer, Jonathan Richman’s drummer. I’ve been a fan of Jonathan for a long time. We used to cover one of his songs in Les Squads Femelle, my first band. It’s always strange to play a show with someone you’ve never met before but apparently, that’s the American way. Now, we have to go get a guitar we’re borrowing from Al Perry, after having breakfast at Hotel Congress. Howe Gelb drops by to say hello before leaving for a show in Europe. We go pick up Tommy Larkins (the one who plays drums, sitting on a tree branch in There’s Something About Mary, next to Jonathan Richman). He walks out of his house and into our tour van with a glass and bottle of white wine. It’s barely 1pm; I guess you wake up as you can.

The van is too big, our heavy heads roll around. We get stopped at the California border: “No fruits with you?” No fruits, no problem. We arrive, after a few stops in the desert, on Paloma Road. What a nice name! I’ve never put myself in an oven: that’s how it feels like when we step out of the van. Los Angeles reached 45 degrees today, the highest temperature ever recorded at this time of the year since temperatures have started to be recorded in 1887!

Marianne : I’m drifting, head in the clouds. I’ve managed to sneak on the CD of my musical obsession of the moment, A Sufi And A Killer by Gonjasufi. Sand dunes, then we cross the Arizona/California border. The sun is setting, grey-pink. All is hallucinating around us, in my head. Hallucinating, the arrangements of Gaslamp Killer on that album. Hallucinating, the temperature outside the van. Hallucinating, these people around me who joke in French. Hallucinating, that coïncidence, a tweet from Gonjasufi who writes that he’ll try coming to our show in LA. I’m all excited about if for miles!

Read the rest of the tour diary HERE. A tourvideo is up on Marianne’s Facebook, HERE.

Marianne has a new album coming out next year. See a teaser video HERE.