I can’t help it. Really. It is stronger than myself. But I love Soko. She first appeared on this blog in 2008 (see?), she became a minor hype, then she disappeared, and now she’s back with her first album: “I thought I was an Alien”. Video of the title song is available here. And again: I love it.
It’s not that she’s a brilliant singer (kinda thin), or that she has world shocking lyrics (kinda naive), or that she is musically very interesting (kinda dull).
But what is it then? Is it that “French-ladies-singing-in-franglish” accent? Yes, that is a huge part of the attraction. It is downright lovely. Is it ’cause she’s cute? You bet.
But there must be more, too. I think it is also something like originality, or even authenticity. It all sounds so honest. Soko’s a young woman who sings about what is on her mind, as if she is talking to you after a night out.
To give an example of what I mean, listen to a song like “Happy Hippie birthday”. It starts like a happy birthday song for a friend, but you can hear that the tone changed while she was writing the song.  She realised that he is much older and that the age difference is exactly like it was between her parents. You can say it is a bit messy song-writing, but I don’t care. It sounds real and authentic to me.

And yes, maybe I get easily deceived. Maybe Soko’s prefab, made up by a clever svengali.
But still, I can’t help it. I love Soko.

Soko – Happy Hippie Birthday

RIP Whitney

On the day Whitney Houston died, it is good to remember the legendary TV interview from Michel Drucker, with Whitney and Serge, on April 5, 1986.
As a wise man said: Serge said what every one thought back then…

Under the Radar (9): Guillotines & Spadassins

No French girls this time unfortunately, but France does have a very vivid garage rock scene, with a lot of 60’s influence. And that is what we like here as well, so in this “under the Radar” time for two releases by French Bands without female singers.
Les Guillotines, from the Parisian suburbs,  released a single in 2011. They are said to be a garage rock band, but one of the rougher kind. B-side track L’absinthe”, remind me of French punk-bands form the eighties (Think Les Olivensteins). The a-side (“L’Aube”) has a bit more 60’s vibe, so that is the one I picked for now.

Les Guillotines – L’Aube

Les Spadassins come from Rennes and released their second vinyl-EP in December 2011. It looks very retro at least (covers like this make me greedy!). Some bandmembers used to play in Les Dadds which I say perform live some years ago. Two songs in English, and two in French on this EP. It reminds me of British Beat, combined with French Yé-yé and a little bit of soul. Of course we choose for one of the two French songs, the soulful “L’Effet que ça fait”. Enjoy the soulful organ!

Les Spadassins – L’Effet que ça fait

Under the Radar (8): Liz Cherhal

Well not quite actually because Sylvester put her on his Yearlist, but Liz Cherhal’s album remained under the radar this year. But I guess, being Jeanne Cherhal’s sister she is used to it.. (go here for a rare video of the two siters together).

In 2010 she worked together with boyfriend Alexis HK on a children’s project : “Ronchonchon et Compagnie”, and in 2011 there finally was a new album of her own: “Il est arrivé quelque chose“.
Some of the songs on this album we already knew for her earlier EP, but that was from 2008 already, so it was high time to come with something new. And as we hoped for, on Il est arrivé quelque chose” she brings us the things she excels in: accordion, humour and well written songs.
In one of Sylvester’s favourites, you can hear all that:

Liz CherhalQuand Je Regarde La Mer

Year lists (8)

Sorry, sorry, sorry, I’m a bit late with the year list and it looks that most of my FS-colleagues were way better and faster. But I’ll give it a shot.
There were as always disappointments; albums you waited for but that disappointed when they came out. But also pleasant surprises. Actually, there were a lot of them. It was harder to make a list of only ten albums, than a list of, say, 25 good ones. So no Austine, Brigitte, Brigitte Boisjoli,  Catherine Major, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Claire Denamur, Elsa Kopf, Ingrid St-Pierre, L. Liz Cherhal, Lou Lesage, Nous Non Plus, Yelle…
Without further ado: here is my personal top 10

(11). Karin Clercq  – Karin Clercq
A bit odd to start with a Top Ten with eleven, but I had too. when I got this EP of Karin Clercq I was very enthousiastic. Great voice great songs. I even prepared a post, but then I realised I already knew the songs. It turned out that it was an EP for the French Market with songs form her album of 2009. But still one of the highlights of 2011.

10. Lise – Lise
Played this album a lot this year. Fresh songs, pleasant voce. Unfortunately some songs in English, but the French ones are a lot better!

9. Isabelle Boulay – Les Grands Espaces
There are always artist you don’t like. Isabelle Boulay was one of them. I didn’t even bother to listen carefully, it is just “nah, not for me”.  But this year I did and I was pleasantly surprised by her album. French Americana album of the year.

8. Aurélie Cabrel – Oserais-je
One of the pleasant surprises this year. Surprisingly the highest “Daughter of” in My list. Sorry Charlotte…

7. Ödland – Sankta Lucia
European project from Lorenzo Papace, with two wonderful sisters Bingöllü.

6. Chloé Lacasse – Chloé Lacasse
First artist from Quebec on this list and certainly not the last one!

5. Stéphanie Crayencour – La garçonnière
If this list was ranking of hard to find albums, this one wold be very close to number 1. Took a lot of effort to find it, but it was worth it. Highest Belgian artist on this list. (Merci I. for your hard work again!).

4. Claire Keim – Ou il Pleuvra
Highest Claire in My list. It was close but Claire Denamur just dropped out the top 10. Poppy album but this Claire sings just like what we expect of a Fille Sourire…

3. Salomé Leclerc – Sous Les Arbres
Again an album form an artist from Quebec. What a talents are there. And they keep coming!

2. Mélanie Laurent – En t’attendant
Highest singing actress in the list (sorry again, Charlotte). Very balanced album, and just a very pleasant album to listen to. But Maks described it way better here.

1. Coeur de Pirate – Blonde
What more can I say.. as stated, there were a lot of good albums, but only one really superb album this year. And when you are so lucky to see her perform live, you can only agree: Beatrice Martin is a little diamond, that needs more recognition.



It is always good news when a new album of Ödland comes out. Or maybe I should say a new Ödland movie. But that is what they make: soundtracks of non existing movies. Last year, they took us to the 19the century with Ottocento, and this year they take us on a trip to Northern and Central Europe. “Sankta Lucia” is the title of this new album, and it looks wonderful. Lorenzo Papace is once again supported by singer Alizée Bingöllü (by far the most intriguing name in French music) and Léa Bingöllü and Isabelle Royet-Journoud. Dreamy, folky and very much mesmerising. As usual the artwork is stunning. Check out their website for details and look at the wonderful dreamy video’s like this one. and for your ears only, we picked this lovely song:

Ödland – Østersøen

Lulu Gainsbourg

New official video: “L’eau à la bouche”


Listen to a snippet of Vanessa Paradis & Johnny Depp singing ‘Melody Nelson’ on Lulu’s upcoming album HERE


It is always good news when old friends have a new album released.  Especially when it is a brand new album from the legendary Filles Sourires Sweethearts Nous Non Plus. Jean-Luc Retard and (in particular) Céline Dijon  are on our radar since the beginning of this blog as can be seen here. And their first album even made the list 0f best albums of the decade by official FS-contributor Sky.
After that debut album came a second one in 2009 and now there is a new album called “Freudian Slip”. And it doesn’t disappoint. Céline Dijon is as sultry as ever and the sixties yéyé influence is still there as is the eighties electronic organ. The title song sounds like a rediscovered Serge track, “J’en ai marre” strongly reminds me of French eighties new wave. Unfortunately there are  only eight tracks on the album.
First single is a “tribute” to Italian President Silvio B. called “Bunga Bunga”. It goes with a lovely video that can be seen here.
 But for today I choose for what could very well be the last summer song of the season, the lovely “Yé-Yé C’est l’Été”.

Nous Non Plus – Yé-Yé C’est l’Été / Summer Song


Remember Soko? The French actress/singer who gained popped up in 2007 as “one of those artists  gaining popularity through the internet?” Her “I Kill Her” even became a hit in Belgium and Denmark. You know, The Soko who sang in English with a very heavy French Accent (“Ai Kiell Uhr”), that some people love?  But the success as a singer didn’t last. Only an EP was released (“Not Sokute”) and in January 2009 she used her Myspace site that made her popular to declare herself “dead”. She dissapeared from the music scene, disappointed with “the music industry”..

Last year there was a sign of a comeback when she participated in the newest Nouvelle Vague project en now she is back. Or at least we hope she is. She finished her album but it will be only released in February next year, because she has a film career too that is asking her attention.
But what is known so far is wonderful. First there was this “official” video of “No More Home, No More Love”, with gives us a glimpse of the Soko we knew. Now there is a new song included in the French magazine “Les Inrockuptibles” and it is very nice. The accent is still there but the sound is different. Think sixties, girl groups  and add some electronica.  Her new album will be something to look forward too.

Soko – Just Want To Make It New With You


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