lundi 28 mars 2005

Savvy Traveling Prompts Drugburn Interruption

I'm going to be away from my main computer for a while, so I won't be able to post as frequently as I'd like to in the next couple of months. I'll try to update at least once a week, although I expect it to be more often than that.

Real posts will resume around the end of this week--until then, sit tight.


samedi 26 mars 2005

Allo les beatniks

I'm too tired to write anything coherent, but here are three songs about beatniks.

Régis Barly--"Faux Beatnik"

Stella--"Beatnicks D'Occasion"

Michel Polnareff--"Beatnik"

jeudi 24 mars 2005

Les Hors-La-Loi Twist

This short but sweet burst of psychedelic keyboards was composed by Antoine Duhamel for my favourite Godard film, Pierrot Le Fou. "Twist Pour Jean-Luc." Do it.

Yé-Yé Of The Day: Édouard

Édouard was the alter ego of Jean-Michel Rivat, a pop songwriter who wrote hits for France Gall, Sylvie Vartan, and Stone et Charden, among others. Rivat took his parody of long-haired "beatnik" singers way over the top, as you can see from the above picture, but the music itself actually isn't too bad.

The main butt of this joke is, of course, psych superstar Antoine, avec ses cheveux longs et ses chemises à fleurs. "Les Hallucinations D'Édouard" is a straight-up cover of Antoine's signature song "Les Élucubrations D'Antoine" (which was itself a semi-cover of Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues") with a few lyrical changes, of course. B-side "My Name Is Édouard," on the other hand, is more of a British beat parody, both musically and lyrically. But both songs are great to listen to whether or not you know what he is saying, non?

mardi 22 mars 2005


This post is dedicated to the sub-subgenre of songs released in the wake of "Je T'Aime" that tried to cash in on its success. You know the drill: excessive female moaning in a French accent over some porn-y synths and a throbbing bass line. If anyone is aware of other examples I might not know yet, give me a heads-up.

"Erotica" was a one-off single released by a woman known only as Rita. Perhaps we'll never know who the real mastermind behind this classic was, or whether or not she was faking it, but either way, it's a sleaze classic. I'm dying to find a decent-quality image of the sleeve, which pictures a blonde tilting her head back in simulated ecstasy. Magnifique.

Jean-Jacques Robert and Jean-Michel Guise composed the soundtracks of two softcore films in the early 70's, Avortement Clandestin! and Caroline Mannequin Nu. Their lone and ultra-rare LP, Delirius Music, includes songs from both films, including the sextastic "Love Call." This song is more subtle than "Erotica," but just barely. The songs must have been separated at birth. I'll be on the lookout for other songs from Delirius Music, although I doubt I'm ever going to own the original--it's selling for over $100 these days. Reissue it, somebody, please!

lundi 21 mars 2005

Yé-Yé Of The Day: Pierre Vassiliu

French music and film have been intimately related from the very beginning. Countless stars in France have crossed between the two media without the difficulty experienced by many American celebrities. Drugburn has never touched on the music of French cinema up to this point, but that is something that I very much want to change.

Pierre Vassiliu started his career as a pop singer, songwriter, and film composer in the early sixties. He toured with big names like Jacques Dutronc, Françoise Hardy, and Johnny Hallyday and wrote fantastic soundtracks for La Fille D'en Face and Une Fille Et Des Fusils (among others), but his solo career didn't begin in earnest until 1970. That year, his debut album Amour Amitié was finally released.

A beautiful, sophisticated record, Amour Amitié is a subtle but effective marriage between jazz and cocktails and classic French-soundtrack organ music. Words fail me, as usual, but lend your ears to the lovely duet "On Imagine Le Soleil" and the slow-building Moog freakout "Une Fille Et Trois Garçons." I can't hear either song without seeing in my mind's eye the imaginary film that I've built around them.

Yé-Yé Of The Day: Les 409

Hot on the heels of my last post, here's another heart-stopping group of kids from 60's Québec: Les 409. When it comes to tambourine, I always say that more is more, and these two songs prove that thesis beautifully.

Dig "They Say," a stompin' R&B original, and "Born In Chicago," their stompin' R&B cover (made famous by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band).

It's worth mentioning that "They Say" mentions (albeit in English) long hair several times. For some reason, des cheveux longs are a constantly recurring theme in French-language music from the sixties. Even more so than in the U.S. and U.K., the squares in France couldn't get over how crazy long the kids were letting their hair grow! There is a whole subgenre of French yé-yé/beat songs about the stylish androgyny embraced by those damn kids (most famously "Fille Ou Garçon" by Stone, "Comme Un Garçon" by Sylvie Vartan, and "Est-ce Que Un Garçon Ou Est-ce Que Une Fille?" by Les Cavemen). Other oft-mentioned fashion trends included des chemises à fleur (flowered shirts) and mini-jupes (miniskirts).

P.S. I know that hardly anyone reads this blog, so if you know someone else who is into this sort of thing, please spread the love. I don't know what that Fluxblog guy has that I don't besides consistent daily posts...oh wait, he has boring indie mp3's and an annoying flash image. Nothing against him, really; I just wish that Drugburn wasn't languishing in obscurity.

samedi 19 mars 2005

Yé-Yé Of The Day: Les Misérables

I'm not sure who originated the misnomer that French people can't rock 'n' roll. To me it is a completely ridiculous statement, and there are few better examples of its irrelevance than the dynamite 60's québécois combo Les Misérables. Although it is saddled with a moniker that is unfortunately reminiscent of a certain overwrought stage musical, the band's Stonesy swagger and beat classics helped to put French Canadian fuzz on the map.

Original hit "Vivre Avec Toi," with its stinging, overdriven guitar riffs and tambourine shake shake shake, is the kind of song I like to put on the stereo during impromptu bedroom dance parties. Les Mis also do a great French-language cover of The Box Tops' "The Letter" entitled "Une Lettre." Quelle surprise!

vendredi 18 mars 2005

Roi Des Métamorphoses

There are music discoveries, and then there are music discoveries. Most people are content to float along in life, waiting for new music to find them. When it does, it's usually via MTV, the radio, or a TV commercial. Others listen to suggestions from friends and music magazines, or perhaps check out the recommended releases section at their local record store.

And then there are those of us for whom it is a sickness, those of us who wave a newly beloved record over our heads like a winning lottery ticket. We talk like the new bizarro long-lost psychedelic masterpiece is the cure for cancer, and as part of the small cultural elite who knows about it, we are practically entitled to some of the credit for its brilliance. The artists responsible become Colossus of Rhodes-sized gods to us, and if they are still active we await their new releases with mouth-foaming religious fervour.

Well...Julien Ribot kind of makes me feel that way.

Thanks to the aforementioned savvy German francophiles at Le Pop, Ribot's two lush, masterful albums have entered my auditory system. A genuine music prodigy, he has collaborated in the past with big names like Kahimi Karie, Françoiz Breut, and Katerine, as well as achieving some notoriety in France for his version of the Beatles' "Revolution" in a television commercial.

The music itself is hard to describe, much less categorise. Orchestral samples, drum machines, live drums, vintage synths, horns, guitars, falsetto backing vocals, and M. Ribot's witty, slightly cocky voice combine to create music that rests somewhere between disco, laptop rock, French chanson, electronica, and prog. Words fail me, but I find the result to be utterly addictive.

"Sept Mille Dollars," from his debut Hôtel Bocchi, is quintessential Julien Ribot. It sounds like something you'd hear blasting from a French discothèque circa 2088.

"Fille Nº 70," from the brilliant concept album La Métamorphose De Caspar Dix, speaks the international language of sex. What more can I say?

Yé-Yé Of The Day: Camille

A few weeks ago while poking around at the Les Inrockuptibles website, I was pleasantly surprised to notice that Camille released Le Fil, her second solo record, last month.

Camille is one of my favourite vocalists of the musical French nouvelle vague, as well as the voice of four songs from the...errr...Nouvelle Vague record that everyone was talking about a few months ago. The NV website calls her "one of the most talented French vocalists of all time," and it isn't kidding. On her first album, Le Sac Des Filles (released in 2002), Camille's crystalline voice ducks, jumps, and explodes like a bossa nova Roman candle. This is a vocal virtuoso, not some lame Whitney Houston wannabe from American Idol. This is for real.

The recording of "Ruby" is spare and lo-fi, just acoustic guitar and vocals, and thus completely non-representative of the rest of Le Sac Des Filles. I had no choice but to include the song, though, because its beauty compels me.

"La Douleur," on the other hand, is very typical of Le Fil. Perhaps it has something to do with the album's title--fil means "thread" or "line." Throughout each song, a sustained tone can be heard, perhaps originating from a synthesiser, and this tone seems to tie all the songs together. Most of the songs also use vocal percussion of some kind, so that there are very few instruments besides voice and the drone in the background.

P.S. "1, 2, 3" is featured on the second Le Pop compilation, which I really can't recommend enough if you are curious about the sound of modern-day French pop music. I've fallen in love with half the musicians on that album since I first heard it.

mercredi 16 mars 2005

Yé-Yé Of The Day: Fabienne Delsol

The music of Fabienne Delsol resembles a cross between early April March and more recent Holly Golightly, but perhaps a bit more psychedelic. Not that I think she's so easily filed away, but fans of March and Golightly would do well to track her down. Fabienne doesn't deserve to be such a no-name--she already put in a stint as frontwoman of the amazing garage-pop sextet The Bristols. And did I mention that she's French? Not fake French like April March and me, but genuine, baguette-eating French?

Fabienne's solo album No Time For Sorrows is one of the best modern updates on the yé-yé sound I've heard. She manages to pay homage to the era without giving making me think, "Been there, heard that." It's most definitely going to be in my top ten albums for 2005. Check out the sultry, bluesy "Chills And Fever" and her lovely cover of France Gall's Serge Gainsbourg-penned yé-yé stone classic "Laisse Tomber Les Filles."

mardi 15 mars 2005

Yé-Yé Of The Day: Évariste

(I reserve the right for this feature to not necessarily involve yé-yé music, or be posted every day.)

The première Yé-Yé Of The Day is a song by psychedelic French oddball Évariste entitled "Les Pommes De Lune." One of the main attractions to me is the way he starts singing like he's channeling Fozzie Bear or gargling water in various parts of the song...but seriously, it's one of the best French psych songs I've heard, complete with great acid-inspired lyrics.

The only info I can find about Évariste online is this page, which describes his involvement with the May '68 revolution. Fucking awesome. And if you click the little picture of him on the bottom, it takes you to a page with another mp3.

Edit: After translating "La Révolution," his song about May '68, into English, I've decided to post an mp3 of the song along with my rough translation. Feel free to correct it.

"La Révolution"

Father Legrand says to his little boy
"Goddamn, what is wrong?
What are you going to do in the streets, sonny?"
"I'm going to start the revolution."

"But, heavens, god damn, god damn,
I've given you enough money!"
"Against the society of consumption
I want to start the revolution."

The Revolution! The Revolution!

"But I've paid for your school.
It's not just for daydreaming."
"They don't learn from our outrage,
And they prevent us from demonstrating."

"Ah, yes, you'll work like me, I'm afraid,
When you don't make it into the higher class."
"We will dispense with class differences.
It's why we're starting the revolution."

The Revolution! The Revolution!

"If you won't quit now,
Look outside--it's packed with cops!"
"No, Dad, it's the CRS,
And I'm going to go kick their asses!"

"But look, sonny, don't you see
That it's the Reds who are behind everything here?"
"Oh, Dad, I'm begging you, you're talking bullshit,
Leave the fear of red to beasts with horns."

It's the Revolution! The Revolution!

"Then explain to me, my dear,
Tell me about that Cohn-Bendit."
"You've made it clear to me that you're an idiot,
And me, I want to start the revolution."

The Revolution! The Revolution!

vendredi 11 mars 2005

Drugburn Lives

That's right: I am back. I somehow managed to delete a large chunk of my customised template, which resulted in my having to change it to the rather austere Drugburn that you now see. I don't really like it this way, but until I can get someone to redesign it for me, it will have to do. Also, all my sidebar links got deleted, which is a drag, and I felt bad that I didn't put them back. For the moment, anyway, this blog will stay minimal.

I can now post mp3's, as I said quite a while ago, and I'm finally going to put that ability to use.

MUSIC POSTS IMMINENT, I PROMISE. Not that anyone reads this fucking thing.