« Bunga Bunga, » the first single from our new album Freudian Slip (Aeronaut, 11 October 2011) will hit ITunes on September 13. Stay tuned!
Resident italien Cal d’Hommage (detto Calvino di Maggio) posts on Italy’s top pol…
When I saw Italian prime minister Berlusconi’s photo on the (virtual) cover of The New York Times this morning (above), I couldn’t help myself from inserting my own caption: « Ma… La Merkel mi sta facendo un culo così! » Translation: « Merkel is really tearing me a new one! » (Note the gesture whereby Berlusconi illustrates the size of the new ass[hole] that Merkel is tearing for him.)
Surely I am not the only Italophone who fell victim to this overwhelming urge.
As we Americans awake from the stupor of our congressional budgetary crisis only to find that the debt crisis is about to topple Western Civilization as we know it (first Greece, now Italy, etc.), there is no small dose of irony in the fact that German prime minister Angela Merkel and her husband are enjoying their Alpine vacation in German speaking Italy, in the village of Solda to be precise.
Yesterday, in any event, it came as no surprise to me when my blogging colleague J.C. brought to my attention (on the Twitter) the news that « took advantage of a government press conference last night to push his own shares. He said if he had savings he’d fill his boots with Mediaset, which was now ‘utterly undervalued' » (via The Guardian).
For the best blog coverage of Italy’s emerging and expanding debt crisis, I’ll be following Avvinare, who use to work as a financial reporter in Milan.
I’ve never met Berlusconi, although I did breath the same air as he when I was working as an interpreter at the United Nations and was called into a meeting between him and Kofi Anan.
In all fairness to Berlusconi (evviva la par condicio [the Italian fairness doctrine]!), he did get a bad rap in a recent New Yorker profile (although I did love the photo from the piece). As well intentioned as the young author, Ariel Levy, may have been, she probably should have brushed up on her Italian before filing her article (where are the cocaine-snorting fact checkers when you need them, Jay?).
She erroneously found irony in the fact that the Italian press refers to Berlusconi as il presidente. In fact, while we call him the prime minister, he is the president of the council (presidente del consiglio) that governs the two houses of the Italian parliament.
She also erroneously found hyperbole in the fact that the Italian press calls him il cavaliere (the knight). In fact, Berlusconi is a knight in the Italian Order of Merit for Labour. And because he is Italy’s richest man, he is — by antonomasia — the knight, i.e., the leading knight in the order.
Otherwise, I agree 100% with everything Ms. Levy said in her piece (and recommend it to you).
I can’t play it for you yet but I can preview a line:
All over the world, on fait le Bunga Bunga.
Post script: check out this excellent article in the Atlantic about the origins of the expression Bunga Bunga. Philology at its best (and its funniest)!
On June 20, 2005, my faux French band Les Sans Culottes showed up for our strangest gig to date: an appearance in federal court.
I can only imagine what was going through the mind of the Honorable Richard C. Casey. Here was a judge who had presided over numerous prestigious cases (he rendered the verdict declaring the Bush administration’s 2003 partial-birth abortion ban unconstitutional). He now commanded the bench before a splintered band that, for the last seven years, had dressed in psychedelic outfits, playing loud music in stinky bars while pretending to be French. I suspect Judge Casey was thinking the same thing I was: How did I get here?
The track was recorded in Hollywood that same year by our good friend producer and film composter extraordinaire Michael Andrews.
Last year Google featured the track in an ad campaign for it’s new phone. Click here to watch the video…
Available OCTOBER 11, 2011 on Aeronaut Records.
Freudian Slip, the third studio album from the elegant, sexy, chic, and multi-lingual Nous Non Plus, features a sweet mélange of indie-pop/rock-synth-laden and hook-filled songs sung mostly in French. Led by the sultry and brazen Céline Dijon (who was raised in Paris and is of Swiss-German/Chinese descent), Nous Non Plus offers French music, sans pretension.
Nous Non Plus (NN+) rose from the ashes of the NYC faux-French band Les Sans Culottes. In 2005, when several members of Les Sans Culottes staged a coup d’état — a grand French tradition, after all — what followed was a truly bizarre encounter in Federal Court involving their former band mates, lawyers, a blind judge, and a seeing-eye dog. Ultimately, it was settled: Nous Non Plus (literally translated to “us no more”) was born.
Though the band members now all live in different cities from Paris to Los Angeles, they reconvened in Austin, TX to record the bulk of Freudian Slip. Working with legendary songwriter/guitarist David Garza and Parisian drum programmer Julien Galner (of Château Marmont), the band mixed programmed loops with live drums, and moog synths with layered vocal harmonies to create their textured pop sound.
The title track — the arpeggiated synth driven “Freudian Slip” — is a musical nod to their personal icon, Serge Gainsbourg and tells the story of a patient falling pray to the sexual suggestions of her psychiatrist.
NN+’s eponymous first album shot to the top 10 of the CMJ charts and their sophomore effort Ménagerie also made a splash on college radio. Songs from their albums have been featured on Gossip Girl and in various commercials.
The band is renowned for their highly charged, sweat-inducing live shows. They’ve played in Paris, La Rochelle, London, Ljubljana (Slovenia), Canada, and across the US.
Available OCTOBER 11, 2011 on Aeronaut Records.
It now lives here…
« With the right amount of sincerity and sardonicism, for the the first time in history, the world might just surrender to the French » — URB mag
« I surrender. » — BUST
« Their new record (self-titled) is catchy, exciting, and never dull or hackneyed or too obvious. It’s like ABBA if ABBA were Frogs, punk, and not dating each other….the dude who does the English-sung lyrics is so fucking sleazy I wanna hang out with him and hit the town in search of greasy kicks. Why front, why fight the urge to gush–I LOVE this shit. » -Portland Mercury
« Glammy punk, sleezy disco…neo synth-pop, Côte d’Azur kitsch and even some really pretty chansons… » — Montreal Mirror
« What seems to have happened is that a fake French pop band became a (more) real, attorney-free rock band—which is much better, anyway. » — LA Weekly
From Weekend America on American Public Radio
Jan 7, 2006
They’re obsessed with French pop music, but the band Nous Non Plus hails from New York. Weekend America host Bill Radke talks to Mark Wheat, of the Minneapolis radio station The Current, about their new CD which crosses classic French romantic sounds with American rock and roll. Écoutez.
From Eugene Weekly
Jan 19, 2006
Bonjour. We here at EW know how many of our fellow Eugeneans are loyal members of the Bill O’Reilly army and have taken his slandering of the « cowardly » French to heart. But we believe in equal-opportunity media exposure, so we felt it necessary to spend a few moments telling you about the hottest French band presently touring within our borders … even if they’re just barely French.
…Nous Non Plus …Nous Non Plus’ chanteuse (female vocalist) Céline Dijon (ah!) hails from Paris, but the other six members of NNP come from foreign places like Pittsburgh, Denver and San Francisco. The septet actually met at the Rhode Island School of Design in the early 1990s and transplanted to New York City in 1998. Their music is a tongue-in-cheek American interpretation of French pop, but the songs are catchy with a dancehall-friendly sound.
From Portland Mercury
Jan 24, 2006
Made up of a Frenchy and a buncha Yanks, Nous Non Plus play spunky (what a gross word) French-sung glam punk. It’s a little like Stereo Total or the scene in National Lampoon’s European Vacation where Chevy Chase and the family are in the art museum on fast-motion. And it’s a total gimmick, a joke: hoaky, kitchy, but it’s good. And that’s my problem with it; I don’t wanna traffic in flimsy hipster « art projects » like this, but their new record (self-titled) is catchy, exciting, and never dull or hackneyed or too obvious. It’s like ABBA if ABBA were Frogs, punk, and not dating each other. Like Stereo Total, it loses its effect when they sing in English, but the dude who does the English-sung lyrics is so fucking sleazy I wanna hang out with him and hit the town in search of greasy kicks. I dunno… why am I apologizing and second-guessing and disclaimering—why front, why fight the urge to gush—I LOVE this shit. Ever see the 1970 Richard Strick film version of Tropic of Cancer, the one with Rip Torn as Henry Miller? This’s kinda the music version. Greasy. Greeeasy. AG
An outstanding album by this spinoff of New York’s faux-French frogpop band, Les Sans Culottes. Unlike the various Sans Culottes albums, this disc seems like less of a one-note joke, displaying instead greater musical depth and variety, ranging from breathy, Francoise Hardy-esque ballads to nervy ’77-style punk, jittery technobleepery ala StereoTotal, steamy Roxy Music-ish synthpop and New Wave, dreamy modern indie stuff… all done with great aplomb. The French-language lyrics remain blithe, silly and self-mocking, but the musical chameleon act is quite impressive. This is a darn good record; definitely worth checking out!
Really great upbeat escapist dance pop. …Nous Non Plus was formed from fragments of Les Sans Culottes. As such, they are continuing with the same basic mission…writing and recording what sounds like French pop…but really isn’t. This band seems more groove oriented than Les Sans Culottes. The rhythms are more dance friendly and direct. Simultaneously hilarious and catchy, the tunes on this debut album are incredibly effective…each sticking with the listener like mental super glue. The band consists of Celine Dijon, Jean-Luc Retard, Bonnie Day, Cal d’Hommage, Professeur Harry Covert, Morris « Mars » Chevrolet, and Francois Hardonne. Far from being a mere joke band, the folks in …Nous Non Plus are providing high quality music that is unique and hypnotic. Ultra creative tracks include « L’Amant, » « Lawnmower Boy, » « Monokini, » and « La Ballade de Tourette. » Highly recommended. (Rating: 5+++)
From Miami New Times
Dec 1, 2005
Bi-continental septet Nous Non Plus scares up sumptuous, blasé cool on its self-titled debut, whipping elements borrowed from the Strokes, Stereolab, and the B-52s into delectable French pastries. And so we get delights like « Lawnmower Boy, » where the band makes like Guitar Wolf on a New Wave kick; the disco hip-shake quake of « Tant Pis Pour Toi, » as mirrorball-infectious as anything in Franz Ferdinand’s arsenal; and « Monikini, » a swank, horn-chart fiesta whose chorus consists of unisex baaaaaas. But the luxurious bubblebath lullaby « Premier Balser » makes for the record’s tastiest dish: harplike guitar blush, fluffy trumpets, and Mellotron-like keyboards swishing languidly about as lead vocalists Celine Dijon and Jean-Luch Retard stage-whisper sweet nothings back and forth to one another through the scented steam.
December 12, 2005
Nous Non Plus is one undeniable pop gem after another, from « Tant Pis Pour Toi » continental disco to « L’Amant »‘s folksy strum and rich strings, to « Fille Atomique »‘s sunny, garage-friendly pop, to « Premier Basier »‘s sophisticated, jazzy groove. These filles et garcons get their points across regardless of your French-language skills. If there’s anyone who can resist « Lawnmower Boy »‘s pure, unadulterated bliss, you don’t want to have anything to do with him. He’s probably a Bill O’Reilly fan.
From The Orlando Weekly
December 15, 2005
The members of NNP have funny French pseudonyms and they met at the Rhode Island School of Design. (Although I’m just assuming that they’re pseudonyms, the odds are pretty good that the singer was not born with the name Céline Dijon, nor do the bassist’s parents call him Jean-Luc Retard.) While the in-joke of the band’s goofily Gallic concept is easy to ascribe to collegiate shenanigans, you’d be doing yourself a grave disservice to dismiss Nous Non Plus as being too smart for their own good. In fact, the best thing about this self-titled debut is how much stupid fun it is. Having yet to determine exactly what they want to sound like, François Hardonne (stop me now) and the rest of the band throw a little bit of Plastic Bertrand, a soupçon of Laetitia Sadier and a whole lot of Jane Birkin into the mix. Thus, it swings some (« Monokini »), gets raunchily funky (« One Night in Paris »), loses itself in atmospheric groove (« Après-Soleil ») and never allows its knowing wink to turn into a condescending leer. Which makes it not very French at all.
Is that Freedom Rock? Then turn it up!!!
November 25th, 2005
What do you get when you cross a slew of non-native french(wo)men, over the top sexual energy, fuzzed out guitars, up and down bounce-a-second rhythms, a background in design and an ex-members tag that admittedly means absolutely nothing to me? An album that would be impossible for me to hate, that’s what. Nous Non Plus – Lawnmower Boy from the Self-Titled CD which was released on Aeronaut Records. Much in a similar fashion that I imagine Japanese music lovers obsessing to no end over their favorite American sounds based off of stories I’ve heard and bands I’ve talked to, I obsess over all things European and pop. Throw in an accent, foreign language, some keyboards and some ultra tight melodies and I’m hooked like a three-eyed fish. Nous Non Plus‘ debut album is nothing short of perfect with it’s rough around the edges guitars, simply too good to be true multi-dueling (how do you refer to three? tripletted, trilling, trinourmous, voiceriferous tri-force?) vocals, unassuming rhythm section and super smooth keys. Me = swoon. Love it. Record comes out Tuesday. Record release show at Mercury Lounge in NYC on Dec. 1st. Oh, and how cute as shit is that cough halfway through the song at the beat break? Yeah, try not to love this one.
From San Diego City Beat
December 14, 2005
Goes Well With: Serge Gainsbourg, Nouvelle Vauge, Camus Conundrum White
In a world filled with sour shoegazing and psuedo-political pop-punk, it’s easy to lose sight of life’s simple pleasures: a sip of wine, the taste of fine brie and the gentle sounds of a feminine voice talking about threesomes. Sounds lovely, oui?
The debut of the New York band formerly known as Les Sans Culottes (minus a member or two) is a tongue-in-cheek romp through overblown sexual and euro-trash themes, flavored liberally with electronica à la Casio, disco and Yé Yé pop.
Nous Non Plus are an offshoot of the great Franco-Brooklyn-esque Les Sans Culottes, and, if you speak French, I believe you can get the full story of their battle for the heart and soul (and brand name) of this synth and drum-machine-enhanced Euro-pop predecessor in « Tante Pis Pour Toi » (« Too Bad for You »). The song mentions the former and current names of the band, and it has a wah-wah laced, disco-rhythmed « fuck you » vibe that’s instantly recognizable, if not translatable. Even at its bitterest and most biting, however, this is a band that manages to keep the dance beat going, and its self-titled debut is as sexy, as fun, as party-ready as you could ask for. That the band is not actually, literally French (with the exception of Celine Dijon) adds an intriguing layer of irony to the whole enterprise. As those characters in French 101 foreign language films are always saying, « Formidable! »