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

Yearlists (4)

alkabalbir1. Alka Balbir – La Première Fois
The absolute number one for me this year. If I only had a Twitter account on which I would have tweeted something about newbie Alka Balbir, it surely would end something like this: #perfect #melancholic #exciting #thrilling #delicate #passionate #hoarse #fragile #debut
Alka – La Vie Par Les Deux Bouts

2. Axelle Red – Rouge Ardent
The biggest surprise of 2013. In fact I gave up hope that the Belgian redhead would record an album that could fully blow me away in all its aspects, but somehow pieces fall into place on this ninth album. And after seeing her exciting gig in Ghent, Belgium last month, I was finally convinced: Axelle has it all. At last.

3. Vanessa Paradis – Love Songs
Contrary to Axelle Red, Vanessa Paradis almost can’t do wrong with every new release. Love Songs might not be the blast ‘Divinidylle’ was, it still stands out easily among all the other releases this year. Miss Paradis is a FS-fav on long stay and my guess is that it’ll stay that way.

4. Pendentif – Mafia Douce
I’m not used to putting a dance album in my yearlist. But sometimes things can no longer be ignored. Pendentif recorded a most perfect post-summer soundtrack to lighten up the days at this time of the year and completely caught me with it. I actually put on my dancing shoes. Well, at least while writing this.

5. Sandie Trash – Salve Regina
An intruder in this years yearlist? Is it delicate, subtle, tender or sensitive? Hell no. Is it loud, wild and uncontrolled? Hell yeah! And I like it. Every attempt to assert that the French can’t make mean and sordid rock is superfluous from now on. Thanks to Sandie Trash that is.

Wishing you all the best for the next year.
Cheers, Maks

Year lists (3)

I’m still in doubt about 2012…If you’d asked me one week ago  what kind of year it was in French music, I would have said “hmm”…
Big names fell short, no album really stood out, no song kept ringing around in my head…
But that was last week. When making this list and going through all the music, it turned out 2012 wasn’t that bad. A lot of talent stood out. So no Françoise Hardy, no Berry, No Pauline Croze, no Daphné, no Barbara Carlotti….but instead:

10 Dawn Landes – Mal Habillée
When one of our French girls releases an album with English songs, we regret it most of the time. But when an American girl has the nerve to release an album with only French songs, I go “Yay!”, and give her a special reward by including her in my year list.
Look here.

9 Buridane – Pas Fragile
A few years ago we heard a few songs from this chanteuse. And then silence…. Nothing more from Buridane, until this year, out of the blue there was here album.
Although we don’t agree on the title, obviously…
Check her video for “Badaboum

8 Céline Ollivier  – La Femme À L’éventail
Sweet surprise on #8. Her name was humming around on the internet for some time and there it was, her debut album “La Femme À L’éventail’, by this classical educated chanteuse. Excellent songs, very pure, and very personal. Listen to one of her songs “Au Flore” here.

7 Amélie Veille – Mon Coeur Pour Te Garder
Never heard about her before this album, but it turned out to be her third. Although it was six year since her last one. Yet another Quebecoise in a year list..Video officiel: ici

6 Céline Mastrorelli – Elle Était Une Fois
Guuzbourg wrote: “A favourite past time is to follow the progress of supersweet singer Celine Mastrorelli. She first popped up on our rader in 2008”, and now she fulfilled our expectations with  “Elle Était Une Fois”. Look and listen here

5 Sophie Vaillancourt – Histoires De Filles Et De Garçons
When I first heard about this album, I had no expectations at all. It looked “poppy”, she was a former of Star Académie participant, so not really things that would appeal to me.
But then I listened to it and was pleasantly surprised. Poppy, yes, but in a folky way and it all sounds very fresh. Top 5 material!
(couldn’t find a video, but here she is singing at her own release party!

4 Mademoiselle Nineteen – Mademoiselle Nineteen
Almost missed this one in my year list, because it was very early in the year when this one came out. Sparkling sixties sound from a girl from Liege. Year lists are good for replays! Here’s the lovely retro clip of “Quelle importance“.

3 Fanny Bloom – Apprentie guerrière
What a surprise this one! And again an example of the wonderful talented pool of singers from Quebec. Won the prestigious Félix de l’Album alternatif de l’année for his album.

2 Lou Doillon – Places
his should be actually my number one..But since the whole album is in English, it makes it difficult to top the list. Since this album gets better by everytime you listen to it, it must be in in the list. (I.C.U. clip here)

1 Melanie Pain – Bye Bye Manchester
When I gave this album a first listening, I was happy and relieved… Yes, this is the kind of music, the kind of voice and the kind of atmosphere that made me a Fille fan. See her perform the title song live ici!

When it comes to defining one’s beauty, hair is one of the most significant things to put into consideration, for this reason is important that you learn about 10 facts about hair.

Year lists (1)

Fanny Bloom1. Fanny Bloom – Apprentie Guerrière
With this superb debut solo-album, Fanny Grosjean left the sometimes somewhat naïve songs of La Patère Rose far behind. Apprentie Guerrière is mature and diverse and never fails. Bloom shows with this album that she grew in all facets of her writing and luckily still has her delightful, hoarse voice on top of it.
Listen to ‘Mon Hiver‘ and feel everything a song needs. In only 1:40 minutes that is, simply brilliant.

2. Françoiz Breut – La Chirurgie Des Sentiments
Never a dull moment with Françoiz. With ‘La Chirurgie Des Sentiments’ she managed to surprise again within her very own and very special universe. And wherever she will take you in that weird universe, being with Françoiz somehow never feels uncomfortable. In contrary.

3. Celine Mastrorelli – Elle Était Une Fois
It took beauty of the year Celine Mastrorelli quite a while to come up with a full album. But it was worth the wait. Celine does it the way we like it most at FS. Check ‘Lost in Paris’ and you’ll understand why.

4. Mélanie Pain – Bye Bye Manchester
Too bad she did only half of the tracks on this album in French. In spite of that she easily made it into this years top 5 with her ukulele and Casio. Original songs, seductive singing, all the ingredients we already know from Nouvelle Vague, but she can do it on her own very well.

5. Mademoiselle Nineteen – idem
Fresh, quirky, contemporary and poppy, exactly what you might expect with a name like ‘Mademoiselle Nineteen’. Nevertheless reminiscents of earlier days (Lio! France Gall!) are never far away and in this case that’s a good thing. The Lolita-esque Belgian singer recorded the most cheerful album of the year without getting obligatory.

Wishing you all the best for the next year!

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.


Year lists (6)

1. Mélanie Laurent – Mélanie Laurent
She called her superb debut album ”The fulfillment of a childhood dream”. Well, her childhood dream tickled me from the start (Début) until the end (Fin). Together with Damien Rice she made a perfectly balanced mixed of classical chansons with a little hysteria, sweet duets, surprising arrangements and little hidden treasures of intimacy. All drenched in Mélanie’s seductive voice.

2. Coeur De Pirate – Blonde
Is there anything left to say about FS fav Béatrice Martin? How brilliant her second album is and how fantastic her concert was in Brussels earlier this month? Guuzbourg already did.
Nothing left to say. Béatrice is here to stay.

3. Brigitte – Et Vous, Tu M’aimes ?
Whenever top fashion designers Victor & Rolf team up with artists, there must be something special on them. Aurélie Maggiori et Sylvie Hoarau are two special ones. Their debut is filled with simple and catchy melodies, a little folky every now and then and at it’s best when both ladies sing together.
See Brigitte live at the Viktor & Rolf Runway Show in Paris

4. Charlotte Gainsbourg – Stage Whispers
Maybe it’s because of the sweet memory of her IRM-concert in Brussels last year, maybe it’s because I saw mommy live on stage again earlier this year, maybe it’s because there weren’t enough exciting new releases this year. Fact is that this ‘half live, half old with some new’ album can easily compete with all other FS worthy releases this year. Not only because her name is Charlotte Gainsbourg.

5. Salomé Leclerc – Sous Les Arbres
As mentioned earlier: The guitar-driven songs are the perfect field for her versatile voice to play on and simultaneously kidnap the listeners mind to drop it somewhere under the trees.

6. L. – Initiale
Award for ‘most intriguing album of the year’ goes to Raphaële Lannadère who’s calling herself L. A mysterious cocktail of the classical French chansons with Eastern and South European influences in mostly piano-driven songs that makes you hold your breath over 11 songs.

7. Les Bien-Aimés (OST)
Some things hardly can go wrong imho. Ludivine Sagnier, Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve singing in a Paris’ studio is one of those things. For addicts that is. The best soundtrack of this year came along with a great movie.

8. Claire Denamur – Vagabonde
Hold your horses! Claire Denamur treated us with her second full album. Less sunny as her debut from 2009, ’cause Claire’s grown-up. Musically. And as her sweet and husky voice got layered with dark tones, so did her songs. If there wasn’t already something like ‘French americana country folk chansons’, Claire invented it with Vagabonde.

9. Ingrid St-Pierre – Ma Petite Mam’zelle De Chemin
Just another girl from Canada singing and playing the piano? That would be too easy. A refreshing and uncomplicated debut that deserves to finish my FS yearlist comes more close. Ingrid St-Pierre is one to keep a close watch on.

10. Allright, there is no number 10. This year did need a lot of time management and not every record got the attention it deserved, as from now on I have to file my music back home under another label too: children.
But hey, it can be worse when Vive la Fête is taking care of it.

Wishing you all the best for the next year!

Year lists (5)

FOFS David send in a very special end-of-the-year list:

As 2011 comes to a close, I want to thank you again for your Filles Sourires blog. I’ve been going back through all your posts looking for artists I missed, buying many secondhand CD’s. On the offchance you haven’t seen these, here’s three albums from this year:

Ingrid St-Pierre, from Quebec, has been playing the cafes and small venues for years, and had her debut album “Ma Petite Mam’zelle De Chemin” One of my favorites is Desjardins (video). Another is Homeostasie Cranienne.

I came across Maya Barsony’s new album, “Monter Amoureuse”, when I reread your Filles Sourires post on her 2008 album. I found I enjoyed almost every song, especially liking Insomnie. Here’s the video for Poing Virgule.

Another Canadian premiering this year was Alecka, with her self-named album. Her songs vary widely, from “Le Printemps” (a favorite of mine this year), to more of a hard rock with a ska beat, Choukran (video).

A couple not from this year:

Occasionally (okay, very occasionally), I come across a filles with several albums that I don’t think have been mentioned previously on FS. One of these is Lynda Thalie. Lynda blends North African and middle Eastern rhythms with a bit of rock, similar in some respects to Souad Massi, including her low alto voice. While I like songs from each of her three albums, my favorite is from “La Rose des Sables”, Rallye aicha des Gazelles. The video shows the competition which I hadn’t heard of before – it’s an endurance road rally in Morocco, for women only.

Beats me what happened to Mimi Rousseau after her debut album, “Belle Route” (2007), but I wish she hadn’t stopped there. She does a very nice cover of Suzanne Vega’s “Luka”, with french lyrics. Another favorite of mine from this album is “Cassiopeia”.

Anyway, I have been meaning to write to you for quite some time – I have a bit of time off and thought I’d finally peck the keyboard for a bit. Thanks again for all the effort you put into FS.

all the best,

P.S.: Really envy you’re getting to see Beatrice Martin in concert. Hands down the album of the year – still listening to it every day.

Year lists (4)

Sylvester Hoogmoed, longtime FOFS and host of the excellent Het Chanson on Dutch Concertzender and writer of a book on singer Ramses Shaffy, provided his yearlist:

It was not a very lively year for French chanson. Death anniversaries of Brassens (1981), Gainsbourg (1991), Montand (1991) and Bécaud (2001) were commemorated with the usual tributes. At 87, Charles Aznavour was still going strong, with a series of concerts and his 57th album (not counting the ones in English and other languages). Brigitte Fontaine (72), Johnny Hallyday (67), Alain Souchon (66), Julien Clerc (64) launched not too boring cd’s with one or two nice nouveautés. Likewise did Thomas Dutronc – the son of Jacques (68) and La Hardy (67). Têtes Raides on their excellent new album invited Jeanne Moreau (83) to resume her singing-career after some 30 years. In August Allain Leprest (57) died after decades of obscure brilliance. Only two months earlier he had recorded ‘Leprest symphonique’, which hopefully will bring some fame at last – posthumously.
Luckily there were Juliette, Thomas Fersen and Les Ogres de Barback to shake things up in 2011, as did some filles sourires, In particular I liked the albums of L (Raphaële Lannadère), Brigitte Boisjoli, Luce, Liz Cherhal and Stéphanie Crayencour – second cousin of Marguerite Yourcenar (1903-1987).

01 Les Ogres de Barback – Comment je suis devenu voyageur
Jolly, multi-instrumental, multi-cultural. Favourite track: Graine de brigand

02 Têtes Raides – L’an demain
The spirit of Brel, combined with Mano Negra. Favourite track: Emma (featuring Jeanne Moreau)

03 L – Initiale
Dreamy beauty. Favourite tracks: Mes lèvres, Chapeau rouge, Mescaline

04 Juliette – No parano
Qualité engagé and humorous. Favourite tracks: Dans ma rue, Les dessous chics, Rue Roger Salengro

05 Allain Leprest – Leprest symphonique
Classical poète maudit, dished up with a classical orchestra. Favourite tracks: Il pleut sur la mer, Nu

06 Thomas Fersen – Je suis au paradis
Nice voice, singing original ironic lyrics. Favourite track: Félix, J’suis mort, La balafré

07 Luce – Première phalange
Cheerful pop-chanson, excellent to start the day with. Favourite tracks: La symphonie d’Alzheimer, J’me fume, J’aime la pluie

08 Liz Cherhal – Il est arrivé quelque chose
Every song she writes is good, like the accordion she plays (and the fluit and the piano). Favourite tracks: Un matin, Quand je regarde la mer, Mes bretelles et mes hublots, Le poids des fantômes. (Listen on Spotify, here)

09 Brigitte Boisjoli – Fruits défendus
Pop music rather than chanson, but too good to ignore, even for me. Favourite tracks: Le temps de partir, Fruits défendus

10 Stéphanie Crayencour – La garçonnière
Unpretentiously charming. Favourite tracks: Charleston d’insomnie, Petite chanson pour te laguer, Les miettes

Year lists (3)

Mordi, he of the wonderful and inspirational Blowupdoll blog, lines up his French faves:

Here’s my French year list! It’s in no particular order and features albums and individual songs , male and female singers. It’s worth noting that Charlotte Gainsbourgs new album probably should be on this list, but I haven’t heard all of it and it’s not released here for another few days so that will probably be on next years list!

Yelle – Safari Disco Club (album)
I wasn’t that enamoured with their first album ‘pop!’ but with this new album felt more poppy, clubby, electronic and fun. I was obsessed with the album for the entire months of April/May. Favourite song ‘S’eteint Le Soleil’.

Lou Lesage – Forgotten Child (song, pictured)
Her voice on this song is near perfect – soft, with a French accent. The tune is gorgeous (so is she) – shame the album didn’t quite live up to this.

Alex Beaupain – Pourquoi Battait Mon Coeur (album)
He really deserves more success than he gets- he should be up there with the likes of Biolay. A great songwriter, great tunes. I don’t know if it’s because I emotionally associate him too much with the heartache of ‘les Chansons D’amour’ but his voice often sounds like its on the verge of sadness. Favourite song ‘Au Depart’.

Christophe Willem – Prismphonic (album)
Are you surprised he is on my list? I am! And although not every song on this album is amazing – but with help from top pop people like Richard x, Karen Poole and Isabel Guzman some of it is not bad at all. My favourite has to be ‘Jamais Du’ – I love the piano – to me that’s a quintessential French pop sound. Infact, if I had my way, all French pop songs would sound like Desireless had given birth to them.

Catherine Deneuve – C’est beau la vie (song)
Not her duet with Benjamin Biolay but the solo version she sang at the end of ‘Potiche’ really moved me – I cried! I’m still not sure why!?

Melanie Laurent – En T’attendant (album)
After reading an interview with her a few years ago where she said she was going to record an album I could not wait. After a long wait I wasn’t disappointed at all. Whether in English or French – her voice always sounded good. ‘Il Fait Gris’ is such a standout song – amazing.

L – Initiale (album)
This may be the French album of the year for me. It captivated me so much, it was hypnotic, her lyrics were interesting and her voice just gorgeous. Can’t wait to hear what’s next from her. Favourite song ‘Jalouse’.

Les Bien Aimes Soundtrack
I haven’t seen the film yet and I know it will never come close to Les Chansons D’amour but Alex Beaupain once again put his song writing talents to this soundtrack- and so it sounds like it could also be great film. Featuring Deneuve, Mastroianni and Sagnier. I love ‘ Ici Londres’ featuring Chiara Mastroianni

Year lists (2)

Sami, of the Hot Fidelité blog and a FOFS for a long time, lines  up his fave French tracks of the year:

1. La Femme – Sur la planche. This unsigned Biarritz band have only released two ep’s and already an instant hit. Sur la planche sounds like the best french surf song ever, somewhere between Rock lobster and L’aventurier.

2. Brigitte – Battez-vous. They ask men to fight to get them but each time I hear this perfect combination of bassline, handclaps and punchlines, there’s a riot goin on.

3. Nous Non Plus – Bunga Bunga. Easily the kinkiest song of 2011, and probably the best anthem for the end of the Berlusconi-era.

4. Jenifer – Je danse. Highly guilty pleasure, this popstar never really convinced me before this funky track, very 80’s inspired.

5. Mighty Mocambos & Caroline Lacaze – Physique. One of the very few examples of enjoyable and soulful funk sung in French.

6. Lescop – La forêt. Hated his band Asyl but surprised by this new wave return, kind of Taxi Girl 2.0

7. Yelle – Que veux tu. Cheap synths, childish lyrics but it works again for Julie and her boys.
8. Julien Doré – Kiss me forever. Reminds me of Coffee & TV, hard to get out of your head when you hear it.

9. Orelsan – 1990. A kinda old school rap song about what was acceptable in the 90’s, catchy and fun.

10. Katerine, Francis et ses peintres – Roc. Every cover he made on his triple (!) LP is great, but this one is waaaay to hilarious.