Posts Tagged ‘french music’

REVIEW: Van Dyke Parks with Clare & the Reasons @ Mississippi Studios (Portland, OR – 2/10/10)

11th Feb 10 (Thu) 2 comments


Van Dyke Parks is recognized around the world as a musical genius… he’s a brilliant session musician, composer, arranger, lyricist, and singer.  He has contributed to many masterpieces (check out his rap sheet).  He is most well known for his collaboration with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. While Brian is a prodigiously gifted composer, he was no lyricist, and needed one who could match the daring new music he was devising in his head.  The result is their collaboration on the much vaunted SMiLE album.

I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of the Beach Boys.  I just don’t care for their music. Well, I connected with Van Dyke Parks via a newer band… Silverchair (VDP did string arrangements for Diorama and Young Modern).  Yeah, yeah… if you only knew them from 1995’s “Tomorrow” (from when they were 15 years old)… well, they’ve grown.


Van Dyke Parks rarely ever records or tours, putting at most one or two records per decade. When I heard about the shows via the Clare & the Reasons email, I jumped at the chance of seeing both of these artists on the stage together.  I had seen Clare & the Reasons open up for My Brightest Diamond back in Nov 2008, and I loved their French bohemian meets modern indie rock vibe.

There were only four shows slated for this rare double bill tour…

02.09.10 – Seattle, WA Triple Door
02.10.10 – Portland, OR Mississippi Studios
02.12.10 – San Francisco, CA Swedish American Hall
02.14.10 – Santa Monica, CA McCabe’s

This was only my second time up to the Mississippi Studios.  I really like the intimate setting, even the crazy hovering piano.  The last time I was there was for David Bazan in November.  For the VDP & Clare show, I’m glad they had chairs down… whew. :)

Opener Josh Mease went on around 9pm and played 6 songs.  He had a very gentle singer-songwriter style.  His guitarwork was good, but his voice was simply superb (nice lyrics, too).  Josh is on Frogstand Records, the same record label as Clare & The Reasons.  I dug his own tunes more than the Randy Newman cover.  For his last song, Clare & The Reasons came up to play with him…

Josh Mease’s Setlist: about 20 mins

  • missing song name
  • missing song name
  • Marie (Randy Newman cover)
  • Days Like This
  • Eleanor
  • Start Over (with Clare & The Reasons)

Clare & The Reasons stayed up after Josh’s last song and moved some instruments around (and subsequently lost a percussion brush).  Off to a great start! :)  They joked lightly about it and then… viola, they found it!  Their set was a sandwich of Arrow songs, The Movie songs, and more Arrow songs.

Arrow came out late last year, but I didn’t get a chance to pick it up until yesterday.  I also picked up Olivier Manchon’s brand new instrumental CD, Orchestre de Chambre Miniature Volume 1, with saxophonist John Ellis, Gregoire Maret (from a Herbie Hancock band), and more string and woodwind players.  Check their albums out (click pictures below)…

What I love about the band is not just limited to Clare Manchon’s vocals, but also the wonderful multi-instrumentation from Olivier and the well rounded guitarist and upright bassist.  The set was full of great percussion, strings, garbage ukelele, french horn, pizzicato strings, a borrowed saw, acoustic & electric guitars, and sublime vocals.  Van Dyke Parks & Josh Mease joined them on stage for their next to last song… (apparently Bill Frisell also joined them on stage up at the Seattle show).

Clare & the Reason’s Setlist: about an hour

  • You Got Time
  • All the Wine
  • Perdue A Paris
  • Ooh You Hurt Me So
  • Wake Up (You Sleepy Head)
  • You Getting Me
  • This Is The Story
  • Alphabet City
  • Pluton
  • Pluto
  • Our Team Is Grand
  • Love Can Be A Crime (with VDP & Josh)
  • That’s All (Genesis cover)

Van Dyke Parks came on after a short break.  He was seated at the piano and brought The Reasons (sans Clare) as his backing band.  They started out with a great instrumental piece.  The rest of the songs we heard were poppier tunes with some great instrumentation (as expected).  VDP is an amazing pianist and composer.  His voice wasn’t superb or sublime, but it fit the songs.  I wasn’t familiar with his songs, but of the ones he announced while we were there… Opportunity for Two, Orange Crate Art, and Sail Away.

VDP was also a great banterer in between songs.  Usually short, but funny… one of my faves was “my wife thinks that ‘cook’ is a noun.

We only stayed for half of his scheduled hour-long set (as we had a 2 hour drive back home), but it was a great set of tunes.  If anyone has the complete VDP setlist, let me know.

many more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: SadeSoldier of Love

all pictures (cc) 2010 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)


nouvel album par Jeanne Cherhal

18th Dec 09 (Fri) 1 comment

Quirky French songstress Jeanne Cherhal will have a new album coming out on March 8, 2010.  It’ll be called Charade and likely hard to find in the U.S.  Luckily’s buttons are in roughly the same place as’s… that’s how I blindly ordered her last album, L’Eau. :)

I found out about Jeanne when we picked up her (brilliant) debut album, Douze fois par an, in a record store in Toulouse, France.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to a new one…

~Dan – np: MegadethEndgame

Le songstress français bizarre Jeanne Cherhal aura un nouvel album sortir le 8 mars 2010. Ce s’appellera Charade et probablement difficile à trouver aux États-Unis heureusement’s les boutons de s sont dans rudement le même lieu comme’s. C’est comment j’ai aveuglément commandé son dernier album, L’Eau.  J’ai découvert au sujet de Jeanne quand nous avons pris son premier album brillant, Douze fois par an, dans un magasin record à Toulouse, la France. Quoi qu’il en soit, j’attends avec intérêt un nouvel album…

REVIEW: Yann Tiersen @ the Wonder Ballroom (Portland, OR – – 4/29/09)

30th Apr 09 (Thu) 7 comments

(that’s unnatural)

So, I was soooo stoked about seeing French musician Yann Tiersen for the first time.  His albums are quite delightful.  I, like many people in the States, first heard of him via the soundtrack/score to Amelie.  But then based on the Brooklyn Vegan (photo credit above) and photobear 2009 tour reviews, I got a little sad.  No accordion, very little violin, and Yann on guitar for most of the night!? Pardon my French, but… viens m’enculer!? Viens m’enculer!?

Well, I didn’t know how it would turn out; so I figured it’s still a rare occasion to see Yann in the U.S.  I already had the tickets, it was only 2 hours away… so… I gotta go.  No photos allowed at the venue.  Boo.

The opener, Skinni Dip yogurt (on Burnside – downtown), was awesome.  The opener (at the venue), Asobi Seksu, played far too long.  I’m having a bad streak of uninteresting / painful openers.  Sorry.  Just didn’t like them at all.

Yann Tiersen and his band came on around 9:45pm, and the first two solid songs were rock numbers that had very little resemblance of a Yann Tiersen song.  The 3rd song was finally one I recognized, but only vaguely as it was turned into some sort of messy, too fast rock blast.

No try on the set list… it’s too difficult to remember song names originating in a foreign language to mine.  Also, the set that we caught didn’t even seem to be a Yann Tiersen show.  I mean, I have 95% of his catalog (all but the latest Tabarly soundtrack)… and the songs were completely foreign to the crowd.  Had I wanted to go to a decent/mediocre rock band play a poorly mixed show, I would have gone to my local rock venue and paid $3 to see what was going on that night.  I went to see Yann Tiersen’s songs in a live setting.  Unfortunately, we really didn’t get that.  I mean, I’m all for artistic expression, and the artist doing what they feel is their artistic direction versus what the fans “want” – – but to some extent on a live tour, you’d expect to give the fans what they expect… again, at least to some extent.

Maybe this was his French way of pulling a prank on us stupid Americans.  It just makes you wonder.  Oh well… if he comes back, I’m not buying tickets until I read some reviews with more mention of accordion solos. :)

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: CelldwellerSymbiont -EP- & then… O.S.I.Blood

To cleanse the palate… here’s what I was hoping for in a Yann Tiersen show…


(or, from Amelie)

Sigh. Maybe next time.

Vladimir Bozar ‘n’ Ze Sheraf Orkestar

8th Nov 08 (Sat) 1 comment

new music alert

Vladimir Bozar ‘n’ Ze Sheraf Orkestar‘s Universal Sprache is one of those albums that is hard to define.  Vladimir Bozar started as an offshoot from a French Frank Zappa cover band, The Children of Invention.  Their last gig was Vladimir Bozar’s first gig.  The music on this debut CD is a great mix of the insanity that comes from artists like Frank Zappa, Mr. Bungle, Secret Chiefs 3, and to some extent John Zorn.

Clearly not for the purveyor of “pop” music, this is a very imposingly hard to digest collection of great sounds that I wouldn’t necessarily call “songs.”  With that being said… I love it.  It jots and tittles across your mind, and right when you start getting into the groove… it slaps you upside the mouth, buzzes up your leg, claws through your pant leg and sits down like a puppy who wants to be petted, then zooms off for an espresso.

Metal, punk, classical music, jazz, movie sound, Tzigane music, electronic, and spoken word.  This Ritalin-side effect gang of misfits has toured in Europe with Trey Spruance’s Secret Chiefs 3, as well as the stripped down Estradasphere Trio.  Trey Spruance said of Vladimir Bozar ‘n’ Ze Sheraf Orkestar that “obviously, this music is composed of lunatics hopelessly.” :)

The album, Universal Sprache, was recorded in Estradasphere’s Seattle studio with Tim Smolens recording, Tim Smolens and Jason Schimmel* mixing, and Timb Harris contributing trumpet, TIm Smolens contributing bass & vocals, and Jason Schimmel contributing mandolin.

*– Speaking of Jason Schimmel, I’m stoked for his amazing Orange Tulip Conspiracy tour coming through Eugene, Oregon, next week… November 17th @ Samurai Duck.

Vladimir Bozar ‘n’ Ze Sheraf Orkestar are planning to tour Europe and (hopefully) the US in 2009.  In the meantime, you can hear clips of the album on MySpace and order it from iTunes, EMusic, Rhapsody, et cetera… or physical CDs via Estradasphere’s Lobefood mail order should be coming soon (not yet, though).

The band is:

  • Djé de Vence (Jérome Simond)-Clavier/Sequencer/Accordion
  • B’hz (cédric Benard)-Drum
  • Cyro (Cyril Torres)-Guitar/back vocal/kazoo
  • Mina (Jasmina Barra)-Bass/vocal
  • Pedral (Pierre Lacasa)-Lead vocal/mandolin

On the web:

~Dan – np: Frank ZappaOne Shot Deal

REVIEW: Yael Naim @ Aladdin Theater (Portland, OR – – 10/15/08)

16th Oct 08 (Thu) Leave a comment


Well, I heard about Yael Naim a week ago thanks to the NPR World Cafe podcast… she’s a Paris-born, Israeli singer-songwriter.  She’s been described as “a touch of folk and a touch of jazz, with mysterious and evocative words sung with a delicate and intentionally husky voice.”  After just hearing of her, I found out that she was playing the Aladdin Theater in Portland the very next week.  I was just going to head up to the Aladdin if I was up for it, and buy a ticket if they had some available.  Well, thanks to the power of the internets, I got an email Tuesday morning from the Aladdin, and they were giving away 50 tickets to the first people who responded to their email.  And, woot, I got a free ticket.  Natch.

The opener, Peter Von Poehl, was… well… absent.  So the replacement opener was Grey Anne.  And she was… RAD!  Very quirky, indie rock girl with an electric guitar, drum, accordion, butterfly wings, echoplex, and a stuffed giraffe.  Fun songs, off the wall, nice textures, strong voice, confident, quirky… She’s from Portland; so I hope she makes her way down to Eugene sometime soon.


Yael Naim and her band were really good, too.  They played Britney Spears’ “Toxic” as well.  That’d make my friend Bruth happy. :)  I enjoyed her set a lot, but I think my favorites of hers were the ones in French.  There’s something about French music that’s just… FUN.  Yann Tiersen, Jeanne Cherhal, Paris Combo, and… well, Yael Naim.

Next Aladdin visit for me… Jonatha Brooke and GlenI sat on a glass table and might not be playing guitar for a whilePhillips.  Yikes. :)  I hope Glen’s arm is better to be at this show, because otherwise, I don’t think I’ll go.  At the end of the day, I hope he gets better more than me being able to see him.

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: RadioheadIn Rainbows

From the Top of the World

23rd Sep 08 (Tue) Leave a comment

A Reminder

My Brightest Diamond‘s From the Top of the World -EP- is out today on iTunes.  It’s the single for the title track plus 3 French songs.  Here’s my original post about this release with all of the INFO

$2.97 if you only want the new songs.  But if you don’t have A Thousand Shark’s Teeth, you might as well get that one, too.  You know you want to…

~Dan – np: My Brightest DiamondFrom the Top of the World

REVIEW: Eric John Kaiser @ Cozmic Pizza (Eugene, OR – – 1/17/08)

18th Jan 08 (Fri) Leave a comment

Well, this was my first show of 2008…

Eric John Kaiser played tonight at Cozmic Pizza. One of the best things about living in a small town is that we can catch an early show (7pm), have a wonderful meal (pesto, artichoke, garlic, vegan-cheese & kalamata pizza with a wonderful pint of local Ninkasi stout), and still be home by 9pm. Fuck yeah.

Anyway, I literally first heard of Eric John Kaiser {heretofore known as “EJK”} about a week ago. He sent me a potentially (but ultimately not) dreaded “friend request.” You know, those friend requests “from bands” you might like. Well, I usually give them a 4 second listen then mark them “DELTEATED.” Well, EJK’s music ended up being quite good… I’ve got a soft spot for French music (Jeanne Cherhal, Yann Tiersen… um… yeah, those two). And, whoa… he (EJK) is from Portland-OR (though born and raised in Paris-FR). And he was playing Cozmic Pizza in literally a week.

Well, I literally went to the show. And it was literally good. Literally.

We left at the first break (8:30pm or so), but got a good hour+ of music. he played some tunes from his CD (L’ODyssée) that I recognized… “L’animal blessé” and “Le Puzzle” (a least). He also played a french version of “Sweet Home Alabama” and a took-us-almost-all-song-to-figure-out-what-it-was version of André3000‘s “Hey Ya!” :-)

Overall a great show, great performer, and great CD (I heart CDBaby).

Next show(s): maybe UO/LCC Jazz Fest tomorrow or Saturday (if any of the artists strike my fancy)… maybe 3 Leg Torso the following Saturday… or maybe next monf’s PDX Jazz Fest (Ornette Coleman, Dave Douglas/SFJAZZ Collective, and Belà Fleck/Flecktones/Oregon Symphony Orchestra… all of which I’m mucho excitedo).

Upcoming CD(s): ah geez… the first of the 2008 Tzadik‘s have been physically conjured by the best non-for-profit (by design) record company ever… new John Zorn (Filmworks XIX: Dimitri Geller’s The Rain Horse) and Sex Mob frontman/trumpet-feasin’ Steven Bernstein‘s Diaspora Suite

~Dan – np: The Geologic Podcast 49

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