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Eddie Reader: Peacetime (Shock)

Eddie Reader: Peacetime (Shock)

The former voice of Scotland's pop hitmakers Fairground Attraction has been a very credible solo act for many years now, but it's a fair bet not too many signed on for her album of songs by the great people's poet Rabbie Burns, wonderful though it was. This collection of traditional songs rearranged, some adaptations of Burns' poems, and...

Carla Bruni: No Promises (Filter/Shock)

Carla Bruni: No Promises (Filter/Shock)

The gorgeous Bruni is the woman -- so my wife tells me -- at whom Jerry Hall once shouted, "Keep yo' hands off ma man". (Jerry and Mick Jagger divorced not long after, although it would be unfair to blame this model-cum-singer for that). Bruni is undeniably beautiful -- which in some eyes will preclude her from also being a...

Tim Gane and Sean O'Hagan: La Vie d'Artiste (Too Pure)

Tim Gane and Sean O'Hagan: La Vie d'Artiste (Too Pure)

In the long and ever-changing list of "favourite bands" two names come up for me consistently, Stereolab and the criminally ignored High Llamas whose Sean O'Hagan was doing Brian Wilson better than Wilson was for over a decade. Soundtracks in the absence of seeing or knowing much about the movie can be difficult affairs, but with...

Stereolab: Chemical Chords (4AD)

Stereolab: Chemical Chords (4AD)

Last week, for reasons too embarrassing to explain, we went on a brief bender of Roger Moore's Bond films. Awful, slow, wooden and guaranteed to have you asleep on the couch within 20 minutes. Anyway, my suspicion is that Stereolab might have been doing much the same at some point because there are a few tracks here which could have stepped...

Marianne Dissard: L'entredeux (TEM/Border)

Marianne Dissard: L'entredeux (TEM/Border)

Given that this album was produced by Calexico's Joey Burns (who also wrote the music) this one comes as something of a surprise: you might have anticipated some kind of alt.Americana. There is something of that in the music and arrangements in places, but Dissard vocals (all in French) have that whispered, intimate, beguiling quality of the...

MARIANNE DISSARD INTERVIEWED (2009): The Tucson chanteuse

MARIANNE DISSARD INTERVIEWED (2009): The Tucson chanteuse

Marianne Dissard is a woman whose music confounds expectations, yet there is an impeccable logic to it: she is French but lives in Tucson, so there is an almost inevitable marriage of chanson and Americana on her album L’entredeux which was produced by Joey Burns of Calexico, who also wrote the music which envelops and supports...

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2010 (Cartell)

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2010 (Cartell)

Another year, another compilation to accompany the Alliance Francaise Film Festival -- and a chance for an overview of chic music out of France. Big names here are Charlotte Gainsbourg with the electro-title track of her new IRM album, Nouvelle Vague (a previously unreleased version of Fad Gadget's Under the Flag), Rachid Taha (in...

Marianne Dissard: L'abandon (Dissard/Rhythmethod)

Marianne Dissard: L'abandon (Dissard/Rhythmethod)

Although her impressive debut album L'entredeux took her to small audience (she sings in French) this Tucson-based singer and film-maker is rather more edgy on this outing which might win her an even bigger following. Dissard -- interviewed here and more recently answering our Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire here -- lets some of the...

Barbara Carlotti: Les Lys Brises (4AD)

Barbara Carlotti: Les Lys Brises (4AD)

Sounding somewhere between a wide awake Claudine Longet (who was so whispery you often wondered if she was singing or snoozing) and the cool, indifferent tone of Nico, this 32-year old Parisian really makes an impact, albeit at a very low level. She grew up on Simon and Garfunkel, Bob Dylan and classical piano, but made the move into chanson...

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