Friday, 30 March 2012

un petit peu de Gillian Hills

Since firing off my last post, there's been this little nagging voice in my head going "FerGawd'sSakeMan,JustGive'emWhatTheyWant", and since what the majority of our visitors want this week is the lovely Miss Hills, I now give to you un petit peu de Gillian Hills.

Beginning with the song everyone's talking about, as covered in that opening episode of Mad Men season 2.

Gillian Hills - Zou Bisou Bisou

Next, it's time to stop traffic the Gillian Hills way, here she comes doing the Cha Cha along the central reservation

Gillian Hills - Cha Cha Stop

One of my fave Gillian songs now, and I ain't lying - a proper yé-yé groover which is so yé-yé that April March covered it on her Paris in April yé-yé tribute album.

Gillian Hills - Tu Mens

This next one will get all the boys (and most of the girls) fawning over our Gillian *puff puff*

Gillian Hills - Ma Première Cigarette

and if you don't believe me check out the video

And finally, penned by Gillian herself, this beautifully baroque and Françoise Hardy-esque little gem from her last ep.

Gillian Hills - Rien N'est Changé

If you hurry, you may also find a song in our L'Amour à la Chaîne thread, and there's another featured in one of our mixtapes.

Gillian Hills: Beat Girl, Blow Up doll, ice lolly-sucking devotchka and all-round Swinging Mademoiselle, we salute you!

If you enjoyed this little introduction to the music of Gillian Hills, I can highly recommend the Twistin' The Rock compilation which, although hard to find as a physical CD, is available here, here and here among other places

And if you want to delve deeper into the world of Gillian, I suggest you start by visiting her at her personal website, where she relates her own story and guides you through her music, acting and modelling careers, as well as showing off her poetry and illustrations.

After that, you could check out Cha Cha Charming's profile of Gillian which focusses on her musical output, and then move on to the Ready Steady Girls site for a biog and audio clips.

All aboard the yé-yé train

I still haven't *got* Mad Men, but apparently the makers are willing to meet me halfway by opening the new series (season?) with a cover version of a Gillian Hills song 'Zou Bisou Bisou'

I'm still not sold (is it meant to be so wooden?) and to be honest I have precious little time to watch one episode let alone a whole series. I mean "season". Ahem.

But I'm no TV critic, so what does my opinion matter.

What I do know is that "everyone" was apparently "talking" about it around the mythical "watercooler" come Monday morning, and they were talking so loud it even trickled through to my little corner of the world.

So they'll all be wanting to know what this yé-yé thing is all about, and thankfully someone has hastily provided a handy beginner's guide: A Field Guide to 1960s French Yé-Yé Pop.

Now all this probably sounds like I'm some embittered blogger who thinks the crowds are going to come and take his precious amour away. Au contraire mes amis, it just feels like everyone's finally coming round to my way of thinking.

So if you've just discovered the wonderful world of French yé-yé, and you're reading this, please take some time to look around and enjoy the music on offer (including the mixtapes we've posted on Mixcloud), maybe even 'follow' us...

I would also recommend you check out these blogs and sites as your next port of call
Right, I'm off to do some painting and listen to some French femme pop...

The (other) one that got away

Poor Noëlle Cordier, like Giorgio, she too has been called up for the past two months, but has ended up sat on the subs bench throughout, looking a bit despondent. It's not the first time she's been mooted for an airing either, from what I can remember.

Maybe it's just that she comes on a bit too strong: Whenever I go to cue her song up, I dig the rhythm'n'blues piano and the quick blast of brass, and then she slaps me round both ears with that opening salvo of "cheeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE" and has me reaching for the record box to find an alternative.

Noëlle, you had your moment in the past.  It was 1967, 3rd place in the Eurovision Song Contest, back when it was worth taking part.  Sandie Shaw took the prize.

Still at least you have those memories and that little snapshot of you and Sandie: the photographer caught the two of you amidst the chaos of the aftershow, camera poised, flash bulb in hand, and on the count of three say "cheeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE"!

Noëlle Cordier - Cheese
[buy Noëlle Cordier on the increasingly hard to find Ultra Chicks vol 4 from discogs | cdandlp]

Thursday, 29 March 2012

La Chanson de Serge

Not sure how I missed this, but 6music repeated La Chanson de Serge: The Serge Gainsbourg story,  a radio doc narrated by Malcolm McLaren, earlier this week.

For some reason I can only find episode 2, which is available to listen again on the iPlayer until 11.59pm on Tuesday 3rd April >>>>>> LISTEN HERE

Here's the blurb from the 6music website:
"There is no equivalent of Serge Gainsbourg in the contemporary British music scene. At his traffic-stopping funeral in 1991, President Mitterrand described him as "our Baudelaire, our Apollinaire. He elevated the song to the level of art." Today, his former home in the suburbs of Paris's Left Bank is covered in graffiti and the "wall of Serge" is a bigger shrine than Jim Morrison's grave in Pere Lachaise cemetery.
He became famous the world over for a heavy breathing hit; propositioned Whitney Houston on live TV; and caused outrage with his reggae version of Le Marseillaise. Over here Gainsbourg is known chiefly for his steamy duet with Jane Birkin, Je T'aime, a worldwide hit in 1969 which was banned by the Beeb and condemned by the Vatican.
The song was originally recorded by Gainsbourg and his then girlfriend Brigitte Bardot. When the subsequent Birkin version was released, some assumed the couple had simply placed a tape recorder under their bed during a night of passion. In fact, they were standing in two separate booths in a studio in Marble Arch.
Gainsbourg knew no musical barriers, recording jazz, reggae, pop, disco, psychedelia and rock 'n' roll. But although the French regard Serge as their very own John Lennon or Bob Dylan, his work was not so highly regarded outside his native country.
In a programme first broadcast in 2009, the late Malcolm McLaren, who lived in Paris for many years, visited the people and places central to Serge's story. These include Saint-Germain des Pres, where Gainsbourg first performed in the rive gauche cafes and bars; his former home in the Rue de Verneuil; his grave at Montparnasse cemetery; and contributors include Jane Birkin, Francoise Hardy, Petula Clark, David Holmes and biographer Sylvie Simmons."

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Is Numan Human?

The answer to the question, it seems, is YES.  Unless, that is, he sent one of his androids to talk to Steve Lamacq today.

And the event?  Tubeway Army's Replicas is the 6music 'ClassicalbumoftheDay'. This means that tracks from the record have been peppered throughout today's schedule, and that Lammo got to grill the Numan all about the making of the album.  He was quite candid for an android: talking about getting used sexually by older women and banging out prototype versions of his tunes on an out-of-tune pub piano, plus, his rather ham-fisted first forays into analogue synthesis.

You can listen again via the BBC iPlayer until around 3.59pm next Wednesday 4th April >>>

The one that got away

During the weeks between our soirées I often jot down any songs that catch my ear with a view to giving them a spin at the next L'Amour Electronique. I usually end up only playing around 50% of these, some of them sound so good they end up on heavy rotation for the next few months, others get played once and will perhaps re-surface months or years later. And then there are those that never get their chance to delight the ears of our punters.

This is one of those songs: I've playlisted it two months in a row now, but just didn't find the right moment to slip it in.

Giorgio - now is your time - take us for a one-way ride to no place on your arpeggiated-disco train.

Giorgio Moroder - Utopia-Me Giorgio
[buy Giorgio Moroder from itunes |]

Merci beaucoup to all those who joined us on Saturday, by the way.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

I Dream of Wires

Thanks to my friend Andrew for showing me this trailer for a forthcoming documentary on modular synths.

Mmmmmmm, analogue porn...

Here's a brief synopsis of the project:
I DREAM OF WIRES: THE MODULAR SYNTHESIZER DOCUMENTARY will take you on a journey into the obscure, but highly influential world of modular synthesizers. Learn how it revolutionized music from the pioneers that were there, why it quickly became obsolete, and how it has become all the rage again. Our aim is to create a definitive document on the modular synthesizer revival, and we need your help to make it happen. Please watch the promotional trailer and see some of the amazing people we've already interviewed; and that's just the beginning...
They are currently raising funds to complete the film, you can contribute at:
("great incentives for even modest contributions"!)

And for progress on production visit the Modular doc facebook page.

L'Amour à la Chaîne pt.11

Keeping it in the family for this next step of la Chaîne: Chritsine Pilzer is the elder half-sister of another star of the French yé-yé scene - Violaine!

Hers she comes with her sass and her stomp, a whole sackful of problems and a snotty sounding harmonica with enough attack to rival Antoine and make Bob Dylan sound like an asthmatic old windbag.

Violaine - J'ai Des Problèmes Décidement
[buy Violaine from itunes |]

L'Amour à la Chaîne: what will be the next link in the chain? Leave your suggestions and reasons in the comments.
Jacques Dutronc - L'Amour à la ChaîneFrançoise Hardy - Je Changerais D'Avis > Les 5 Gentlemen – Cara-Lin > Add N To (X) – Monster Bobby > Serge Gainsbourg – Le Poinçonneur des Lilas > Les Shades – Orage Mécanique > Gillian Hills - Rentre Sans Moi > Zombie Zombie - Psychic Harmonia > Michel Polnareff - Qui a Tué Grand'Maman? > Christine Pilzer - L'Horloge De Grand-Père > Violaine - J'ai Des Problèmes Décidement > ?

Thursday, 22 March 2012


Proof that placing an ad in Gumtree saying "French Girl Wanted" works out well:

Yes Knickers are a good thing: harking back to that reverb-y garage sound I love so much.

They are playing tonight in that there London, details on the facebook.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

la musique electronique

Hope you can join us this Saturday for another soirée of the finest vintage French pop, electronic tones and synthesized musique.

L'Amour Electronique
9pm - 3am
at The West Hill, Buckingham Place, BN1 3PQ
Entry is free, la nuit c'est bon!

You are welcome to join the facebook event page.
Oh and please help yourself to the confections in our latest mix.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Monday, 19 March 2012

L'Amour Electronique mix 3


Another mix of vintage French pop, eclectic electronics, psychedelic sweetness and synthetic sounds from your trusty L'Amour Electronique DJs (originally recorded live at our soirée on 22 January 2011).

Mix 3 begins with a little lesson in parler en Français, a spooky analogue symphony from Add N to (X) and then a steamy French version of Nancy & Lee's 'Summer Wine'. Onwards with some classic Gainsbourg, a rare Québécois garage cut, Nicoletta's eerie take on 'I Put a Spell on You', and some obscure Turkish Francophone garage. A little 70s segue leads us into more modern electronic territory with the brutalist synth-pop of Electronicat and Sebastien Tellier's epic Sexual Sportswear. Ending with a bittersweet 8-bit ballad from Yazoo and some Dutronc-ian absurdist psychedelia.

tracklisting for part 1
H. & G. Rapid Learning Systems: FRENCH – General Expressions: Salutations /
Add N To (X) – On The Wires of Our Nerves
Marie Laforêt (avec Gérard Klein) - Le Vin De L’été
 Serge Gainsbourg – Ballade De Melody Nelson
Les Bel-Air – Ils Parlaient Dans Mon Dos
Nicoletta – Ça Devait Arriver
Jacqueline Taïeb – Bienvenue Au Pays
Broadcast – Message From Home
Galatasaray Lisesi – Zazie
Les Roche Martin – C'est Toi Qui A Gache Notre Vie
Philippe Clay – Dis Ma Femme
Sylvie Vartan – Ballade Pour Une Fugue
Grace Jones – La Vie En Rose
Stereo Total – Miss Rébellion Des Hormones
Electronicat – Frisco Bay
Sebastien Tellier – Sexual Sportswear
Yazoo – Nobody’s Diary
Jacques Dutronc – Ma Poule N’a Plus Que 29 Poulets

Our third mix continues with a mod-dancefloor classic and a tasty bit of boogaloo from Monsieurs Polnareff and Ferrer, some classic Stereolab and a truly sinister slab of analogue-synth abuse from Add N to (X). Next a Dutronc cover from Les Lolitas and one of my favourite Françoise Hardy songs. We also have garage femme pop (Les Princesses), porno go-go music (Gracy et Paje), Frrrrrench R’n’B and Ra-Ra-Ra-Rollergirl, then a swerve into 8-bit and space disco. Then Leonie takes our breath away with her epic, breathy Lilith, leading us into a little French/electronique finale.

tracklisting for part2
Michel Polnareff - Time Will Tell
Nino Ferrer - Les Hommes A Tout Faire
Stereolab - French Disko
Add N To (X) - Revenge Of The Black Regent
Les Lolitas - Les Cactus
Françoise Hardy - Pourtant Tu M’Aimes
Les Princesses - Oh! Dis Moi
Joe Gracy Et Michel Paje - Les Danseuses à Go-Go
Les Problèmes - Dodécaphonie
Ronnie Bird - Elle M’Attend
Anna Karina - Rollergirl
Dave Rogers - Theme From Cybernoid (ZX Spectrum 128k)
Herman's Rocket - Space Woman
Leonie - Lilith
Air - Ghost Song
Coralie Clement - Vis-à-Vis
Deux - Game + Performance
Serge Gainsbourg - Ford Mustang
Jean-Michel Jarre - Oxygene (Pt.4)
Future Bible Heroes - I'm A Vampire
France Gall - Les Sucettes

Friday, 16 March 2012

Do You Know The Beast?

Anyone who downloaded my halloween mixtape 'Quelle Horreur vol.1' will know my views on Évariste and his track 'Connais-Tu L'Animal Qui Inventa Le Calcul Intégral?' which, I've said on many occasions, is quite possibly THE scariest piece of music I've come across.

Well, this came in the post last week: a vinyl re-issue of all of the output from the man known to his mother as Joël Sternheimer, who took his pseudonym from a 19th century French mathematician and politial firebrand, and is now regarded by many fans of pysche and garage music as the French answer to Kim Fowley.

Doctor in Theroretical Physics, mathematician and unlikely dabbler in yé-yé... Here we find Évariste doing his best unhinged-muppet impression and enlisting a legion of teenie-bopping girls to scream in adoration for him. May the freakbeat be with you.

Évariste - Évariste Aux Fans
[Buy Évariste on vinyl from Spin | System Recs | Juno | etc]

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Chantal Kelly interviewed!

Ooh look!  A marvellous and fascinating interview with another star of the yé-yé era - Chantal Kelly -  courtesy of the Bedazzled and the Swingin' Mademoiselles facebook page.

Some great little anecdotes about how France Gall "stole" Bébé Requin from her, hiding from Juliette Greco, hanging out at the Drugstore Publicis with the French Minets, advertising Phillips cassette players, and dancing "The Jerk"...

Read the full interview with Chantal Kelly at Bedazzled or Swingin' Mademoiselles
(the Bedazzled link has some great unseen videos too!)

Here is the eerie lead track from Chantal's debut ep, its, Claude Bolling-arranged, tribal rhythms and wailing melody tapping in to a native American-Indian seam of exotica untouched by other songs of the time.

Chantal Kelly - Caribou*
[this track was never re-issued, but you can buy Chantal Kelly from]

*As far as I remember I originally found this via the, now sadly defunct(?), Spiked Candy blog

Sunday, 11 March 2012

L'Amour à la Chaîne pt.10

We've been clearing Grandmother's house following her recent passing.  So much stuff hoarded away throughout her long and colourful life.  Lord knows what we'll do with Grandfather's clock, that great hulking Victorian beast of a time-piece which forever lurked in the dingy hallway.

Christine Pilzer - L'Horloge De Grand-Père
[buy Christine Pilzer from CDandLP (if you have lots of money)]

L'Amour à la Chaîne: what will be the next link in the chain? Leave your suggestions and reasons in the comments.
Jacques Dutronc - L'Amour à la ChaîneFrançoise Hardy - Je Changerais D'Avis > Les 5 Gentlemen – Cara-Lin > Add N To (X) – Monster Bobby > Serge Gainsbourg – Le Poinçonneur des Lilas > Les Shades – Orage Mécanique > Gillian Hills - Rentre Sans Moi > Zombie Zombie - Psychic Harmonia > Michel Polnareff - Qui a Tué Grand'Maman? > Christine Pilzer - L'Horloge De Grand-Père > ?

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

L'Amour à la Chaîne pt.9

Pssst!  I think the coast is clear, haven't seen a zombie for weeks now.  The post of the living dead is over.

In the interim, some sad news: A death in the family - Dear ol' grandma shuffled off this mortal coil.  It doesn't look as though she succumbed in the zombie invasion. No, I suspect there my have been foul-play afoot.

But who killed Grandmother?

Perhaps this ecclesiastic euology from Polnareff will shed some light.  And even if it doesn't, it's sure to get all the tears a'flowing*.

Michel Polnareff - Qui a Tué Grand'Maman?
[buy Polnareff from itunes |]

Thank you Michel, that was beautiful.  Not sure why you had to spoil the moment by dressing up in Grandmother's clothes and baring your arse at the congregation though.

* to paraphrase a certain Mr. Cave (who, coincidentally, once covered Polnareff for a tribute album)
L'Amour à la Chaîne: what will be the next link in the chain? Leave your suggestions and reasons in the comments.
Jacques Dutronc - L'Amour à la ChaîneFrançoise Hardy - Je Changerais D'Avis > Les 5 Gentlemen – Cara-Lin > Add N To (X) – Monster Bobby > Serge Gainsbourg – Le Poinçonneur des Lilas > Les Shades – Orage Mécanique > Gillian Hills - Rentre Sans Moi > Zombie Zombie - Psychic Harmonia > Michel Polnareff - Qui a Tué Grand'Maman? > ?