How my faux French band wound up in federal court

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?

Click here to read the entire saga…

Publicités

One of our fav fan vids

We love it when our fans make videos to our music. This is one of our favorites… That’s Jean-Luc singing « Allô Allô, » a song he wrote with Céline back in 2003.

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…


NEW ALBUM OCTOBER 2011

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.


New presse page is live!

It now lives here

Download a PDF of print media reviews and show previews.

« 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


Slate.com
October 24, 2005
Jean-Luc’s rendition of the events that led to the formation of …Nous Non Plus

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

From Slipcue.com
November, 2005
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!

From Babysue.com
January, 2006
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.

From Splendid.com
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.

From LoveHasNoLogic.com
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.

From Neumu
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! »


Faux French band sues Faux French Band???!!!

from the department of « let’s not make a Federal case out of it »…

Slate.com
October 24, 2005
Jean-Luc’s rendition of the events that led to the formation of …Nous Non Plus


Jean-Luc Retard

Jean-Luc Retard has been many things to many people. Today, he loves mostly wine, women and song—not necessarily in that order

Jean-Luc occasionally poses as an American writer, and as a Swedish-French air guitarist. He is also not getting enough sleep.

Retard is a pisces and enjoys sushi.


Céline Dijon

Celine DijonCéline Dijon’s life was not always so rosy as you are imagining.

First of all, she is the bastard child from an illegitimate union between two misfits: a disillusioned Swiss man who fled to Paris when someone told him there was more to life than chocolate and cuckoo clocks, and a Chinese woman who fled to the US when someone told her that her country was going to force her to have no fashion freedom.

Céline’s birth at the Hôpital Américain de Paris (which, ironically, is not IN Paris, but in the suburbs) almost entirely drained the family’s resources, as no one had informed them that it was no longer free to expats since the 1920s.

As a result, Céline Dijon was not raised on the right bank. NO. The poor thing is une enfant du sixième. So Bobo!

Impatient to live the perfect life she had envisioned for herself, she auditioned to be a Crazy Horse dancer at the tender age of 14. Tragedy. Her breasts were the right shape, but despite having started to avidly smoke by the age of 12, this did not prove early enough to stunt her growth: at 1m76, she was already too tall for Le Crazy. She quit smoking.

Dejected, she accepted an offer to sing as back-up for Lova Moor’s pop outfit (still in the hopes of getting into Le Crazy). Quickly realizing this was leading absolutely nowhere, she saved all her centimes to cross the Atlantique, where she had heard something about intriguing self-made men. After a little turbulence, narrow seats and NO MOVIE (merde alors, putain de Concorde!) she landed in Queens, et le reste, mes amis, c’est de l’Histoire…