Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Vive le Vinyl

My ears pricked up as Jarvis opened his Sunday Service with Françoise Hardy's Autumn Rendezvous, and what followed fairly had me frothing at the mouth...

Mr Cocker paid a visit to the Radio France vinyl archive and was joined by the Dirty Sound System DJs who plundered the millions of discs for some rare French cuts by the likes of François de Roubaix, Pierre Cavalli, Alain Goraguer, and more.

It's available until 3:59pm next Sunday and it makes for ace listening >>> LISTEN HERE

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

ghosts of halloween past

Does this look awfully lazy me re-visiting ghosts of halloween past? Sorry if it does, but I just don't have the time to find and compile anything new (and I like to think there are still people out there who haven't come across either of these mixtapes yet).

Quelle Horreur! is my original mix of ghoulish Gallic psyche, creepy freakbeat and blood-thirsty femme-pop...

1. Stella - Si vous connaissez quelque-chose de pire qu'un vampire, parlez m'en toujours, ça pourra peut-être me faire sourire
2. Serge Gainsbourg - Docteur Jekyll Et Monsieur Hyde
3. Christine Pilzer - Dracula
4. Les Maledictus Sound - Kriminal Theme
5. Evariste - Connais-Tu I'animal Qui Inventa Le Calcul Integral
6. France Gall - Frankenstein
7. Jany L. - Mon Joli Vampire
8. Gérard Manset - Animal on est mal
9. Les Maledictus Sound - Monster Cocktail
10. Nicole Paquin - Mon Mari C'est Frankenstein
11. Brigitte Bardot - Le Diable Est Anglais

Quelle Horreur! vol. 2 is dripping with sinister synths, creepy claviolines, demonic drum machines, and eerie electronica...

1. Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind - The Shining (Main Title)
2. Kap Bambino - Batcaves
3. Relaxed Muscle - Beastmaster
4. Future Bible Heroes - I'm a Vampire
5. Ladytron - Miss Black
6. John Carpenter - Halloween Theme (Main Title)
7. Zombie Zombie - Walk Of The Dead
8. Broadcast - Evil Is Coming
9. Les Georges Leningrad - Cocktail Vampire
10. Suicide - Ghostrider
11. Mount Vernon Arts Lab – Hobgoblins
12. Stereo Total – Film D’Horreur
13. Lio - Bébé Vampire
14. I Monster - The Blue Wrath
15. The Moontrekkers - Return of The Vampires

QUELLE HORREUR! VOL. 2 (57.1mb zip file)

Lou Reed RIP

(I've been trying to upload this mp3 for the past two days. Better late than never....)

This is for Lou Reed who has been with me ever since I bought a cassette of the best of The Velvet Underground when I was 17 and no-one in my year at school could understand what I could hear in it.

I love this photo of Lou and Nico, I like to imagine they're working out Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams.

Here is my own tiny L'Amour Electronique-esque tribute to the man: a melancholy 8-bit cover of Stephanie Says by one of my favourite bands Stereo Total.

Stereo Total - Je Rêve Encore De Toi (We Love Taxigirl Mix)
[nb. until I can work out a way of embedding a player through my new file hosts, you'll need to click the link to listen and download the mp3]

Monday, 21 October 2013

Jane & Serge photobook

This grainy and evocative image is taken from a new book of photographs of family life chez Serge and Jane, taken by Andrew Birkin.

I've not seen the book Jane & Serge, but here is a Guardian review, and here is the publisher's blurb.

I can say nothing more except that the candid photos look enticing and entertaining, and that I'm not keen on the cover (but you can't judge...)

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

apologies for tardiness

So sorry to have been so tardy with this business of keeping you all in the market for sweet French fancies and electronic goodness. I have been busy with life and art/music, and it looks likely to continue that way for a while.

If I were to sit down and list all of my passions in order of preference, I fear that, at present, L'Amour Electronique would come right down towards the bottom of a rather long list. It's not that I don't enjoy finding and sharing this music any more, but more that the rewards I get from doing it don't really add up to enough to make all the work worthwhile right now.

If I think of all the things I would like to get done, the creative pursuits - such as music and art - which I scarcely have any time for anyway, are really the things I should be prioritising. Rather than faffing around trying to find a link to an image of some obscure French dollybird, or the biography of some decommissioned European synth-nerd...  (Another factor that has contributed to this general feeling is that my current file-hosting service seems to delete files faster than I can post new ones to replace them.)

So, my intention is to strip any L'Amour Electronique posts I make back to basics, and probably for the most part I will just be continuing the, curiously popular, L'Amour à la Chaîne feature.

And for the rest of my time I will be working, spending time with my wife and baby daughter, and putting my energies to good creative use with projects such as this.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

L'Amour à la Chaîne pt.21

Greetings Chaîne fans, for link 21 you just need to take the title of the last song 'Metal Horse' and drop the equine noun, and you get...


By Gary Numan.

Metal is taken from Numan's 1979 The Pleasure Principle album, his 1st 'solo' album after two under the collective Tubeway Army guise. It sees Gazza dropping the guitars completely and embracing full electronic/synthetic instrumentation throughout. And on the cover he appears to be trying to divine 'Pleasure' from a small red pyramid.

Hmmm, nice conceptual cover Gary, wonder where you got the idea from?

According to the wikipedia entry (your only trustworthy site on the interweb kids!*), 'Metal' is sung from the "perspective of an android longing to be human". Which leads me to ponder once again: Is Numan Human?**

Gary Numan - Metal
[you can buy The Pleasure Principle from all yr usual online outlets. Or you can go to a real shop and buy it for real from a real person.]

**I used to have a badge with a rather crude Numan drawing on it and the legend "Is Numan Human?" in a hi-tech digital typeface

L'Amour à la Chaîne: what will be the next link in the chain? Join in...
Please leave your suggestions and any 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-PèreViolaine - J'ai Des Problèmes Décidement > Dutronc - Dodecaphonie > Fabienne Delsol - Ce Jour LaJohnny Hallyday - Son Amour Pour Un Jeu > Miss Kittin & The Hacker - L'Homme Dans L'Ombre > Andre Popp - L'Homme Invisible > Future Bible Heroes - Love Is Blue > Sandie Shaw - L'Orage > Ars Post Tergum Introet - Ford Mustang > Simon Bookish - Metal Horse > Gary Numan - Metal > ?

Monday, 12 August 2013

Chocolat Chaud

Blimey! The Tindersticks have gone synth!

Anyone who came across our sister night Tonight We Fly will know that we have a great fondness for Tindersticks and their stock in late-night-music-to-drink-red-wine-in-dingy-bars-whilst-dressed-in-a-shabby-suit to.

They have occasionally put out music that has crept into the L'Amour Electronique remit - the odd French language version and a number of film soundtracks for French film director Claire Denis (Nénette et Boni is a particular favourite at L'A-E HQ).

So it is pleasing to report that they have just put up a teaser for their latest soundtrack (For Denis' Les Salauds, or Bastards to you non-Francophones).

The big surprise, as alluded to before, is that it is purely electronic and sounds like a slurred and seedy Giorgio Moroder tragi-disco comedown. It gets stranger: it is a cover of a Hot Chocolate song. Only Stuart Staples and co. could get away with this...

You can download a shorter edit of the full song for free from the Tindersticks website.

And some helpful wag has already posted it on soundcloud

The film is screening in French cinemas now (hopefully a UK release soon?), and the soundtrack album is due on 16th September (LP & CD from the Tindersticks shop), and is already available on iTunes.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

L'Amour à la Chaîne pt.20

Looking at my blog stats the other day, I was heartened, yet slightly baffled, to see some of the most visited posts are those from my ongoing L'Amour à la Chaîne sequence. So with that knowledge under my hat, I s'pose it's time I added another link to the ongoing chain.

Previously on L'Amour à la Chaîne it was a Portuguese cover of Serge's 'Ford Mustang'...

The Mustang was named after the free-roaming horses descended from those brought to the Americas by the Spanish, and now regarded as "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West, which continue to contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people."

Each and every Ford Mustang has a metal horse emblem affixed to the radiator grill (unless it's been half-inched), so in tribute to this iconic hunk of chrome, here is METAL HORSE!

"Glittering horse, you were sold, in a shady shop on the Edgeware Road"

I still love this hefty slab of cutandpaste 8-bit reductivist electro pop by Simon Bookish, hope you like it too!

Simon Bookish - Metal Horse
[Metal Horse was originally released in 2005 as a limited seven-inch on Tomlab Records. You can still buy it direct from Tomlab's European and US online outlets. There was no mp3 release.]

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-PèreViolaine - J'ai Des Problèmes Décidement > Dutronc - Dodecaphonie > Fabienne Delsol - Ce Jour LaJohnny Hallyday - Son Amour Pour Un Jeu > Miss Kittin & The Hacker - L'Homme Dans L'Ombre > Andre Popp - L'Homme Invisible > Future Bible Heroes - Love Is Blue > Sandie Shaw - L'Orage > Ars Post Tergum Introet - Ford Mustang > Simon Bookish - Metal Horse > ?

Monday, 22 July 2013

L'Amour Electronique mix 4

!!!NEWSFLASH!!! Part 2 of this mix now added below!!!

I felt I should commemorate the fact that a whole year has passed since the final L'Amour Electronique soirée on 26 May 2012, so I dug out a mix I had sitting on my hard-drive and dusted up for your listening pleasure.  This one was mixed live at one of our nights on 26 February 2011. Hopefully it'll keep y'all entertained while we wait for the mp3s to come back...

Here is some blurb that I spewed out to introduce it on mixcloud:
You want an epic prog-electroni-folk lament from Air? CHECK! You want a seriously DEVO-lved Toni Basil space-oddity? CHECK! You want to swoon as Gillian Hills makes dragging on a cigarette sound like the sexiest thing EVER? *PUFF PUFF* You want naked thighs and leather boots? CHECK! You want the Kili-watch rush of a surf-guitar instrumental? CHECK! You want early J-J Perrey Moog-pop? CHECK! You want Da Da Da en Français? CHECK! You want Christophe to leave behind his blue-eyed years and get on a grinding, motorik groove? CHECK! You want obscure pre-beat orchestral pop from Tienou; electro-pop from The Knife and Future Bible Heroes; Françoise Hardy, Liz Brady, Adèle (not that one), Polnareff and Brigitte Bardot? yé-yé! yé-yé! yé-yé! THEN HIT PLAY NOW >>

tracklisting for mix 4 (pt.1)
Air – Sex Born Poison
Stereo Total – Cannibale
The Knife – Kino
Toni Basil – Space Girls
Brigitte Bardot – Le Diable est Anglais
Adèle – J’ai Peur Parfois (acoustic version)
Gillian Hills – Ma Premiere Cigarette
Françoise Hardy – Pas Gentille
Serge Gainsbourg – L’Homme à Tête du Chou
Philippe Nicaud – Cuisses Nues, Bottes de Cuir
Liz Brady – Palladium
Léo Petit et Ses Guitares et Ses Rhythmes – Kili-watch
Jean-Claude Vannier – L’Ours Parasseux
Michel Polnareff – Ta-Ta-Ta-Ta
Jean-Jacques Perrey – Porcupine Rock
Toss – Da Da Da (Est-ce qu'on s'cherche ou est ce qu'on triche?)
Christophe – Rock Monsieur
Tienou – Tu N’Peux Pas T’Empêcher de Rire
Future Bible Heroes – Love Is Blue
Jean-Michel Jarre – Equinoxe (pt.4)
Françoise Hardy – Le Premier Bonheur du Jour

And now for PART 2! 
Allez-Allez! The mix continues >> obscure indie-poppers do Serge > pure synth-pop > moody French disco > sugary & soulful femme pop > In/Out > lo-fi electro-pop > analogue synth abuse > filthy dirty freakbeat > a hefty dose of road rash > proto-electronica > sounds of summer > psyche-noir. And all for your listening pleasure.

tracklisting for mix 4 (pt.2)
Addictive Larsen – Bonnie & Clyde
The Human League – Open Your Heart
Kraftwerk – Airwaves
Michel Polnareff – La Mouche
Mareva Galanter – Les Filles C’est Faites Pour Faire L’Amour
Bébé Suong – Mine De Rien
Elizabeth – Madame Superman
Les Roche Martin – Les Mains Dans Les Poches
Serge Gainsbourg – Qui est ‘In’, Qui est ‘Out’?
Sue Wilkinson – You’ve Got To Be a Hustler
Stereo Total – Baby Ouh
Add N To (X) – Ann’s Eveready Equestrian
Jesus – L’Electrocuté
Christophe – Macadam
The Normal – T.V.O.D.
Mathématiques Moderne – Disco Rough
Bertrand Burgalat & Robert Wyatt – This Summer Night
Johnny Hallyday – Noir C’est Noir

Tour de France, Tour de France

Huge congratulations and much awe and respect for Chris Froome, following in Sir Bradley of Mod's cleats and taking 1st place in the 2013 Tour de France yesterday. This one's for you...

Meanwhile, Kraftwerk performed at the Latitude festival on Saturday night. It was a "3-D concert" - er, aren't all concerts 3-D if you are there watching? No, apparently this was even more 3-D than real life as there were huge projections which made you feel sick unless you were wearing 3-D glasses which probably made you look like a bit of a twerp.

You can watch an impressive 35 minute show of highlights from their set on the BBC website. And you may also want to try and werk out if they are actually playing anything behind each of their neon lecterns. Sadly, no Tour de France though...

You can watch Kraftwerk at Latitude for the next 4 weeks via the BBC iPlayer

Here's the setlist for the film:
* The Robots
* Numbers
* Computer World
* Home Computer
* Computer Love
* The Man Machine
* The Model

Saturday, 20 July 2013


First there was C'est Chic! Now there is Très Chic! The new Ace Records compilation of 'more French girl singers of the 1960s'.

It's a tough job putting together a comp like this: trying to make it a captivating, immediate listen for the newcomer, as well as aiming to create a strong overview of the French yé-yé scene; meanwhile there's probably the nagging thought at the back of your mind that there are people like me out there who have got all the more populist stuff and want some new treasures unearthed and plonked on their stereo. And that's before you get to the tooth-pulling task of trying to get licensing permission for the material you WANT to put on it.

I say: give me anything with some 60s French music on it and I am a happy bunny!

The 24 track CD version has Gillian Hills on the cover, and I had a nice surprise (and a little flush of pride) whilst scanning through the inlay booklet: the L'Amour Electronique blog gets a mention under 'other reference sources'!

There's an abridged (blue!) vinyl version too, with a very un-sixties Anna Karina photo on the front.

If I can find the time, I'll write a little review of it...

You can buy both direct from Ace Records: CD version | Vinyl version.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Ripping Vinyl - Karo

Would Madame et Monsieur care for a little vinyl warmth to start le weekend? How about a double-serving of pure, unadulterated Québécoise sweetness by Karo, on the Trans-Canada Vedettes imprint?

You French pop fans will probably know Karo (real name Caroline Vallée), for her sugar-y 60s HIT 'Un Garçon En Mini-Jupe' (what was it back then with all those boys with long hair and mini-skirts and girls with short hair in trousers?). What you may not know is that she penned the music and lyrics to most of her songs, which certainly wasn't the norm for most female pop artistes back then. These two being perfect examples of her oeuvre, encapsulating an, undoubtedly rose-tinted and very saccharine, world view.

Here she is in double-vision with her ever-present smile and schoolgirl bunches:

And here she is oiling up her motorbike, though possibly not getting ready to join the Ton-Up Club...

...As this evidence suggests...

Could anyone make the prospect of riding pillion with a roaring motorcycle between your legs sound quite so twee as Karo does? "VRROOM! VRROOOOOM!" She squeals as she wraps her arms around her leather-clad beau and they race off down the Route TransCanadienne.

Karo - Sur Ta Moto

On the flip-side, Karo hauls a gang of school kids in and together they summon up the joyful sound of going away on summer holiday (and not a Cliff in sight!). It's absolutely brimful of sunshine and happiness, and then she slips in a key-change and the cup of glee runneth over.

Altogether now, everybody cheer: "HEYYYYYY!"

Karo - Je M'en Vais En Vacances

[you can download a compilation of Karo's 60s material Un Garçon En Mini-Jupe from 7digital or archambault.ca. If you'd like to buy the 45, there's one in the US on musicstack, a snip at £22.37.]

I have a couple more Karo 45s hanging around, so if you like these songs and want to hear more from her, leave nice comments and it will encourage me to dig them out.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Serge: at home, in the studio, and in the musical of his life

Whilst looking for a video for Serge's 'Ford Mustang' for the last L'Amour à la Chaîne post, I re-discovered this ace behind the scenes/making of a song film.

Most of the film features studio footage of Serge, Arthur Greenslade, and co putting together the song 'Initials B. B.' at Chappell Studios, London in April/May 1968. Then at 11m20 there's a brief clip of a 'Ford Mustang' vocal take with some scary, toothy percussion; followed by Serge doing an unused take of 'Black and White'; plus a little bit of that plummy-voiced woman on 'Bloody Jack'...

That video led to me discovering this charming "day in the life of Serge and his kids" video dated Saturday 31 March 1979:

After which I came across this hazy, bar-set interview with Serge and Jane, in which, half-way through, as if seeing himself in some cheesy, soul-searching moment from a musical of his life, Serge breaks into a sad song about Charlie Brown. I kid you not...

Monday, 17 June 2013

L'Amour à la Chaîne pt.19

Now that I've sorted out those pesky mp3s, I reckon it's time we got back to la Chaîne.

The last link was Sandie Shaw. She was born and brought up in Dagenham, Essex and briefly worked at Ford Dagenham, one of Ford Motors' British production plants (and location of the famous women sewing machinists' strike of 1968, fact fans!).

So, for the next link I give you the song 'Ford Mustang' by Serge Gainsbourg. But instead of the original, here's a cover-version en Portugais (I think!). This version was originally released in 2000 on the Gainsbourg tribute album Lucien Forever (Pussycat Records).

It's not often these days that a search on the interweb yields scant results about a band or artist, but that is the case with Ars Post Tergum Introet. If my search engine of choice is to be believed, they have released just this cover and possibly one other song 'Rien'. There is nothing else about them whatsoever, other than link upon link to (mostly) non-existent mp3 downloads of this song. If anyone has any info, it'd be great to know more about them.

Let's just enjoy the song now, eh?

Ars Post Tergum Introet - Ford Mustang
[I can't seem to find any copies of the Lucien Forever album anywhere either, so, sorry, no links to buy the CD]

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-PèreViolaine - J'ai Des Problèmes Décidement > Dutronc - Dodecaphonie > Fabienne Delsol - Ce Jour LaJohnny Hallyday - Son Amour Pour Un Jeu > Miss Kittin & The Hacker - L'Homme Dans L'Ombre > Andre Popp - L'Homme Invisible > Future Bible Heroes - Love Is Blue > Sandie Shaw - L'Orage > Ars Post Tergum Introet - Ford Mustang > ?

Nothing but the truth

This is my new favourite Clothilde song.

It was the 4th track on her 2nd (and final) ep, and it has all the hallmarks of this quintessential Swinging Mademoiselle: The disaffected vocal; a hyperactive bubblegum groove; some ridiculously strangulated fuzz-guitar; ding-dong bells; all manner of plinky-plonky percussion; horns a-plenty; a bit at the start of the chorus where she goes "Heh!"; not to mention the kitchen sink... All thrown into the mixing console and stirred up by French pop svengali Germinal Tenas.

I really can't understand why it hasn't already been on any of the umpteen Swinging Mademoiselle/Ultra Chicks/Femmes De Paris/Pop A Paris comps to date... But it's now available to us all on the Born Bad Records released French Swinging Mademoiselle 1967 album, and the CD and LP versions include a full transcript of a candid interview with Élisabeth Beauvais (Clothilde's real name), plus interjections from the aforementioned Mr. Tenas.

Clothilde - La Vérité Toute La Vérité [buy Clothilde - French Swinging Mademoiselle 1967 on CD, LP or all manner of digital formats from Born Bad Records]

Friday, 14 June 2013

I can haz mp3s!

Finally I have sorted out the AWOL mp3 situation.  I've re-instated files as far back as L'Amour à la Chaîne link 17 (all mp3s from older posts have now been deleted. so if you missed any of them, it's too late now - though I'm sure I could find an excuse if you ask nicely!)

Now that that's all sorted, I can start posting some new stuff, expect at least 1 new post in the next few days.

Thanks for being patient.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

I got the blues for Françoise

'Scuse me for possibly being a little bit fashionably late for the party, but I got violently ill at the weekend and, well, some things (like being violently ill*) are more important than blogging.

I've been rather enamoured of late by the new Ace Records Françoise Hardy compilation. which brings together her English language output between 1968 and 1972, a period when she worked a lot with Tommy Brown and Micky Jones (who also worked with Sylvie; and then as Johnny's backing band The Blackburds; and who have had honourable mention before here and here), and a time when rumours that she might work with Nick Drake, sadly never came to fruition.

You get 2 almost complete albums of post-psychedelic folk rock and Françoise charming your ears with her delicate, slightly hesitant English. Some fine sleevenotes from Mr Bob Stanley too!

You can (and should!) buy the CD direct from Ace Records for £11.50 inc. free delivery in the UK via the following link >> Francoise Hardy - Midnight Blues Paris London 1968-1972 (Ace Records)

Now, if only my mp3 files were accessible, I would post a song... but they ain't so I'm currently looking round for a more reliable host body. Watch this space.

*such things are not necessarily as much fun as, though they are often a lot more work than, blogging... Both can certainly be draining though.

Monday, 13 May 2013


Apologies, the place where my files are hosted is having some kind of server problems, and all the mp3 files are currently inaccessible. I've emailed them and hopefully they'll be back up and running soon...

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Cactus versus Brezel

It will no doubt surprise you, dear reader, that my position in society as a music blogger/artist/musician/DJ/toy maker/father has not yet made me my millions. It is because of this that I, plus the good lady V and the little O, found myself in a Holiday Inn up there in up-and-come-and-pretty-much-gentrified Hoxton, East London.

Caught in a moment of pure glamour, we were awaiting the only working lift to reception, and as the doors slid open, who should we spy amidst the packed-in-like-sardines passengers? None other than our old friends Stereo Total (over from Berlin for one night only)...

[I wondered aloud if they always stayed at the Holiday Innn, but apparently they rather regret writing that song: "Next time we will write about a more upmarket hotel!"]

We checked out and found a café bar to pass the time until their flight, and they very kindly furnished me with a vinyl copy of their new LP Cactus versus Brezel. And then they were off, refreshed by breakfast, Guinness and rosé wine.

There was no sign of the fisticuffs promised by that title, but just supposing...

"LAYDEEZ AND GENTLE MEN, in the coin Français, on vocals, kazoo and banging the drums: FRRRRANÇOISE CACTUSSS!!!"

"It doesn't pay to try, all the smart girls no why..."

Trust Françoise, she's a smart cookie and she knows.

She knows it makes good sense to take a rough pop diamond by smacked-up heartbreaker Johnny Thunders and to turn it into a dirty, shuddering, synthetic hymn to love, loss and empty arms.

*this is the sound of a filthy, dirty arpeggiator*so there*

Françoise Cactus - You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory
[only released on the 3-disc Girl Monster compilation (Chicks on Speed Records), which is out of print, but there are 2nd hand copies here]

"And in the Deutsche ecke, on guitars, synths, trautonium und neu!-ses:  

"We can hear you coming through loud and clear on the answerphone."
"No, you're breaking up. You're breaking up into a stuttering, electro cut-up xerox of an old Serge Gainsbourg Freggae number..."
"Is that you Françoise? Brezel? Just what is this bad news filtering in on the solar winds? Tell us, what news from way up there in the celestial heavens?"
"No, you're breaking up again..."
---message terminated---

Brezel Göring - Bad News From The Stars
[originally released on the Brezel Göring/Barom One split LP (buy it from Gagarin Records); confusingly, a virtually identical version also came out on Stereo Total's Discotheque remixes album (buy); and then there's an alternate version, with our other friend Vice Cooler rapping over it on Hawnay Troof's sprawling double album Dollar and Deed (buy)]

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Breathless (again)

I caught a bit of Jazz at the Movies on Radio 2 last night.

Jean-Luc Godard fans should listen just for the clips of Jazz composer Martial Solal talking about his soundtrack for À Bout De Souffle: working with Godard, his choice of character themes (strings for Seberg, brass for Belmondo), and the end result - as young Jazz-chap host Jamie Cullum notes the film action is almost cut to the "crazy, jagged be-bop" music.

Jazz at the Movies is on the iPlayer until 21.59 on Monday 6th May >> LISTEN HERE

Monday, 22 April 2013

French pop a la BBC (repeat)

Attention French pop fans! A bit of Gallic eye candy to feast yr mincers on...

I blogged about these before, but I shall give them a mention again, as both shows were repeated last night on good ol' BBC4.

Exotic Pop at the BBC has a sultry Juliette Greco and a painfully awkward Françoise on it; plus Monsieur Aznavour in a terrible jacket, Plastic Bertrand after one too many fizzy pops, and jail-bait era Vanessa Paradis.
It is available on the iPlayer until 12:29AM Mon, 29 Apr 2013 >> WATCH IT HERE

Anyone For Demis? How The World Invaded The Pop Charts, meanwhile has "the French Cliff Richard" Johnny Halliday, Françoise on Eurovision and The Piccadilly Show, Serge &  Jane, and Mademoiselle Paradis again.
Available on t'iPlayer until 1:29AM Mon, 29 Apr 2013 >> WATCH IT HERE

Here's a full run down of the unmissable bits (from the point of view of yr humble, but obviously superlatively taste-driven, scribe): Wot I said last time about them two programmes wot were shown on the BBC

Friday, 12 April 2013


For once I'm not referring to those naughty synth-abusers Add N To (X), though they did have a bit of a thing for fucking machines (as seen in this titillating video, and this titillatingier one...).


Instead we gonna go back.

How far we going back?

Way back.

Back to the Godfather of Soul...

The year is 1969, James Brown hits the R&B top spot with the James Brown Orchestra, sweating it up to a fast-paced funk workout called 'Give it Up Or Turn It Loose'. Hot on his heels is an American jazz pianist (aka The Man From O.R.G.A.N.) messing about with his new Moog synthesizer, and making like some kind of pioneering electro-disco sexpot...

It's time to unleash Dick Hyman's analog[ue] sex machine. Don't be afraid boys and girls, just 'Give it Up Or Turn It Loose'

Dick Hyman - Give It Up Or Turn It Loose
[2nd hand vinyl copies of MOOG: The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman on discogs.com starting at a bargain £3.50! Get 'em while you can!]

Monday, 8 April 2013


"C'mon bébé, love me, PLEASE LOVE ME..." moans Rita, as this slow-grind bass groove slips into gear.

Just listen to her breathy gasps and groans as the Hammond organist tickles her fancy. And I bet you're feeling a little uneasy when that guitar-lick freakout brings her to a steamy climax...

Oops! Sounds like she just broke it.

Oh! Rita! You always have to go too far.

Rita - Erotica

Coming up: more SEX

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Sex = Science

My last post was titled "Sex Please, We're British". So, here's some more sex...

Sex = science, and Rita is in the lab, waiting to teach you your first lesson in 'Sexologie'.

Look! She chalked up a few diagrams on the blackboard, and she's firing up some mechanical sci-fi sex-funk music to get you in the learning mood.

Uh-Oh! She's getting carried away now, off comes the pristine white lab-coat, she's twirling it round and tossing it aside... Look at her go, gyrating like a go-go dancer from way down deep in the Valley of the Dolls... It's all gone a bit softcore, Vaseline on the lens and the windows are starting to get steamed up. What would the headmaster say if he walked in now?

Too late.

Anyone fancy a rewind?

Rita - Sexologie
[nb. this is not to be confused with the stunning sitar ass-shaker of the same name by Danyel Gérard]

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Je T'Aime - Sex Please, We're British

Tonight Stuart Maconie presents The People's Songs on BBC Radio 2 - a look at how the British public received Je T'Aime... Moi Non Plus back in 1969. 

It's on air at 10pm, here's a synopsis:

We've always had an uneasy relationship with our European cousins and their continental mores and morals, especially when they come over here and rub our face in it. Here was a bug-eyed Frenchman performing a racy duet with his young lover. And she was blatantly mimicking sexual pleasure. And what was worse was she was British! The cheek of it!

It was the Sixties and sex seemed to be everywhere in the arts. Lady Chatterley's Lover had been banned for thirty years and triumphed in an obscenity trial that same decade. The musical Hair was delayed from opening in London because of censorship. The Rolling Stones' "Redlands" court-case, ostensibly about possession of drugs, had been further mired in suggestive sexual misbehavior. And a little later the counter-culture magazine Oz went through the longest obscenity trial in the UK.

But in the case of Je T'Aime, despite it being foreign, and despite it seeming to be quite rude, we loved it. And unlike many other countries, the UK didn't ban the track. In fact we bought it by the truck-load; it flew into the number one slot.

But perhaps in hindsight this shouldn't have been so surprising. The music hall had been founded on innuendo. George Formby had become a massive star, singing songs that were pretty much predicated on a single innuendo. So we willingly absorbed Je T'aime into our 'nudge-nudge, wink-wink' Benny Hill, Carry On pop culture.

In this episode Stuart will attempt to trace the evolution of British attitudes to sex, scandal and pop music. Do you recall the release of Je T'aime? Were you offended... or aroused? The People's Songs wants to hear from you...

Monday, 25 February 2013

L'Amour à la Chaîne pt.18

A fine choice from Kitty for our next stage in the slowly growing Chaîne: After the Andre Popp-penned, Eurovision '67 cover by Future Bible Heroes, she suggested Sandie Shaw en Français. Why? Because Sandie skipped barefoot to the number 1 spot in the very same Eurovision contest with 'Puppet On A String', bien sur!

On this 1966 ep track, Sandie, with a bit of help from Ken Woodman and his orchestra, summons up the stormy sound of all those early 60s death-disc melodramas...

Thunder rumbles overhead, the wind howls, and there's a palpable sense of panic in Sandie's voice.

The English language version of this song has her running from the arms of an over-bearing monster of an ex-lover. Run, Sandie, Run!

Sandie Shaw - L'Orage
[Pretty much all of Sandie Shaw's essential French output is collected together on the CD Chante en Français: Pourvu Que ça Dure - available from yr usual mp3 shopping boutique; or, for a sizeable sum, 2nd hand, on certain tax-shy online retail outlets]

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-PèreViolaine - J'ai Des Problèmes Décidement > Dutronc - Dodecaphonie > Fabienne Delsol - Ce Jour LaJohnny Hallyday - Son Amour Pour Un Jeu > Miss Kittin & The Hacker - L'Homme Dans L'Ombre > Andre Popp - L'Homme Invisible > Future Bible Heroes - Love Is Blue > Sandie Shaw - L'Orage > ?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

postcard from the 4th Dimension

I woke up this morning in the 4th Dimension.

Or, at least, the 4th Dimension had invaded my head-space...

Here is Victoire Scott to take you on a little tour. Hold tight, it's a wild wild ride on the dark side.

Victoire Scott - 4ème Dimension
[one day I dream of finding a 45 of this for a few Euros in a French flea market, for now I'll just have to lust after the copy priced at $77 on GEMM. It was re-issued on Ultra Chicks vol 6: Vous Dancez Mademoiselle and there are reasonably priced copies on Discogs.com]

Look! You can watch Victoire in the 4th Dimension courtesy of MrNonosse's impeccable YouTube channel.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Françoise, Nicolas, Jean-Benoît et Jeanne

Let's toddle back to 1998 when Air released their, oft-copied/seldom matched, sci-fi lounge masterpiece Moon Safari. Tucked away on the b-side of simian-disco smash 'Sexy Boy' was a gem that saw them calling on the voice of a certain first lady of the French yé-yé scene.

This passed me by completely at the time, and though I loved the song 'Sexy Boy', I could only afford to buy the album and not the single too, and so I missed out on those bonus b-sides.  Instead I discovered something magical when my now wife and I did a tape swap, where we both compiled some Gallic-flavoured numbers for our first holiday together in Paris.

Back then, neither of us had much of a French record collection, so we had to be imaginative: anything with even a hint of the old ooh la la about it was recorded and sequenced, and a certain track on her C90 shone through. It was taped off an Elefant Records compilation Pop Romantique: French Pop Classics (1999) - a tasty little album if you can still find a copy: it has French language covers and originals including that Heavenly/France Gall one I posted recently; and Chaîne 17 contenders-by-proxy The Magnetic Fields doing a creaky version of 'Le Tourbillon' from Jules et Jim, that sounds like a busted old merry-go-round.

But I digress. The song by Air with a guest vocal by Françoise Hardy is entitled 'Jeanne' - a beautiful, breathy wisp of pastoral synth-pop with possibly the most melancholy oscillator solo I have ever heard. Make sure you have a handkerchief nearby before you listen...

Air feat. Françoise Hardy - Jeanne
[as mentioned above, this was issued as a b-side to Air's 'Sexy Boy' single, and also on Pop Romantique (Elefant Records/Emperor Norton). There are cheap used CD copies of both on the usual 2nd hand sites, and a couple of reasonably-priced vinyl copies of Pop Romantique on discogs.com]

Monday, 28 January 2013

Songs and Souvenirs of Serge

Jane Birkin performed in Glasgow on Saturday. And I couldn't go. Nah Nah! Not fair!

She was appearing at the Glasgow film festival backed by a band of handpicked Glasgow musicians singing a selection of Gainsbourg-penned numbers. Before the performance they screened a short doc titled Souvenirs of Serge.
"A rare glimpse into the personal life of Serge Gainsbourg by the woman who knew him best: his lover and creative collaborator, Jane Birkin.
Few figures in the history of popular music have left more of an enduring legacy than Serge Gainsbourg. Across a career that spanned three decades, Gainsbourg left his mark on jazz, pop, funk, rock, reggae and more, while becoming the greatest musical star France had ever seen.
Souvenirs of Serge reveals a different side to the man. Compiled from Super 8 footage taken on holiday with Serge and the kids in the 1970s, Birkin creates a unique and intimate portrait of her passionate love affair with this charismatic and conflicted man. Moving and painfully honest, Souvenirs of Serge is a small but total tribute to a beautiful, doomed relationship that would define both their lives forever."
This seems to have been the UK premiere for the film, and it has only shown at selected film festivals so far (blurb taken from the Melbourne International Film Festival site). There's scant info about it and I couldn't find even a teaser or trailer video out there on the internet...

Does anyone know if it will have an official release?

Someone who might know more is Mr Duglas T Stewart who spoke to Jane about her protection of Serge's legacy for the Scotsman. There's a real warmth and candour between the 2 of them in the interview which you can read here >>

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

L'Amour à la Chaîne pt.17

This was to be my inaugural post of 2013, however it has now taken about 2 weeks to finish composing, and it has been well-and-truly bumped down the list.  I had it clear in my mind that I had no intention of heralding the new year by blowing hot air about how grand resolutions to keep the posts coming and write more regularly for you, my handful of readers. But the lesson has been learned and the stock has been taken, and nowadays I have even less time to devote to hollering into the ether in the vain hope that more people will hear me. Soooooo.....

Instead I shall get on with the next instalment of la Chaîne.

Cast your minds back, dear readers, to my previous link, and that dastardly Invisible Man was getting a bit too touchy feely with his wandering hands, musically aided by Monsieur Andre Popp...

Back in 1967, a young greek chanteuse by the name of Vicky came in fourth representing Luxembourg at the 12th Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna. The song was 'L'Amour Est Bleu' and it was co-written by Andre Popp and Pierre Cour. The song has been covered by everyone from Jeff Beck to Johnny Mathis, and was a number 1 hit record in the US when Paul Mauriat released an easy listening version in early 1968.

Favourite recordings round our way are Claudine Longet's swoonsome version, and this more recent(!?!) electronic Europop cover by Future Bible Heroes (one of many projects led by the sickeningly prolific genius and indisputible Eeyore of lo-fi indie pop Stephin Merritt)

Future Bible Heroes - Love Is Blue
[this was released in 1997 on the Lonely Days ep (Slow River Records), which is out of print. There are 2nd hand copies out there, current market value £10-£13]

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-PèreViolaine - J'ai Des Problèmes Décidement > Dutronc - Dodecaphonie > Fabienne Delsol - Ce Jour LaJohnny Hallyday - Son Amour Pour Un Jeu > Miss Kittin & The Hacker - L'Homme Dans L'Ombre > Andre Popp - L'Homme Invisible > Future Bible Heroes - Love Is Blue > ?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Swing when you're winning

On my jaunts around the interweb, I also heard the pitter-patter of Clothilde's mischievous chansons, which have been collected together, in all their Germinal Tenas-produced, intricate glory, for a long-overdue retrospective, French Swinging Mademoiselle 1967, to be released on Born Bad Records (on vinyl and CD if rumours are to be believed) in February or March this year. If you can't wait for the physical release, you can download it in all manner of digital formats from the Born Bad Recs BandCamp page, or you can preview it and buy it via the handy little player below...

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Swing Mademoiselle, Swing!

Passing by the always impeccable Filles Sourires site, I was oh so grateful to Monsieur Guuzbourg for heralding the arrival of Swinging Mademoiselle Volume 3.   I've been out of touch with most of the outside world (as the present dearth of blog posts testifies) - one of the side effects of having a small person to look after - so the news gave me a tiny flutter of excitement at the prospect of some hitherto unheard yé-yé delights to please my ears and my itchy, dancing feet.

Some of you may remember how I got in a bit of a lather about that Girls In The Garage Vol 12, regarding it as the 3rd part of the Swinging Mademoiselle series (not to be confused with the pale imitation Swinging Mademoiselles - note the pluralisation and beware - CDs), being that it was compiled by the same person: an elusive monsieur by the name of Sasha Monett.

Here's what he says of this latest edition:
"The world has changed a lot in the 10 years since the release of volume 2, and I can say (in all modesty) that the term Swinging Mademoiselle has basically become a genre in itself, designating the instantly recognizable sound of French pop with female vocals, recorded from 1965 to 1968.  
This is the third and -- I emphasize -- the final volume, because there will not be any more. Sorry, friends, but three is enough (or four, because you can include Girls in the Garage volume 12 in this series). This time, I’ll present artists who are much more obscure than those in previous volumes. It’s a difficult task, because in today’s ultra-connected world where everything is three clicks away, nothing remains truly « obscure ». It’s a daunting task, but I’ll try anyway."

I'm waiting patiently for my vinyl copy to arrive from France, but he very kindly forwarded me the mp3 files, and they're keeping me warm in this snowy weather. The first few listens suggest he's certainly delivered on his promise: a quick cross-reference of my own mp3 and vinyl library brings up only 2 duplicates (Valéry - 'Vous Dansez Mademoiselle'; and Dorine - 'Pêches à la crème'; which were both on Ultra Chicks 6, I think). The rest is pure, uncharted vintage Femme-pop joy: from the slightly sleazey doo-wop naiveté of Michelle's 'Viens petite fille', to the psyched-out baroquerie of Christine Moncenis' Serge Franklin-penned 'Sensation'.

In the absence of any time to write a gushing review, Sasha Monett, I doff my cap to you!

The vinyl pressing is limited to only 1000 copies, and there's no digital or CD release on the cards as far as I know, so you should order your copy now - my tip is to get it direct from source if you're in Europe, or from Dionysus Recs in the US.