@NousNonPlus NEW ALBUM OFFICIALLY HERE!

My band Nous Non Plus’ new album is finally (officially) here. I love and cherish all of our music but I’m particularly proud of this collection of songs because there is so much of Georgia P in them… songs that I wrote while singing to her… songs that made her smile… I’ve included a few Soundcloud links at the bottom of the post… thanks for listening!

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Le sexe et la politique
Nous Non Plus
October 2012
Terrible Kids Music

The centerpiece of “Le sexe et la politique” (“Sex and Politics”, Terrible Kids Music, October 2012), the latest release by indy French rockers Nous Non Plus, is a quote from twentieth-century Italian director, poet, and essayist Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975).

In one of the last interviews that Pasolini gave before his assassination by a prostitute at the Roman seaside (Ostia), he told a French journalist in Cannes: “I believe that it is one’s right to shock people; that being shocked is a pleasure; and that those who refuse the pleasure of being shocked are moralists, so-called ‘moralists.'”

The quote spoke to the band on many levels and in many ways represents the arc of Nous Non Plus’ raison d’être.

The occasion of the interview was the debut of Pasolini’s 1975 film Salò o le 120 giornata di Sodoma (Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom), his controversial adaptation of the Marquis de Sade’s famous work. Pasolini would be found dead on the beach outside of Rome six months later.

The quote can be heard — in his own voice and translated into French — in lead singer Céline Dijon’s homage to Pasolini, Italy’s towering intellectual celebrity of the 1960s and 70s, in the song devoted to his life as an artist (entitled simply “Pasolini”).

The track reflects the band’s recent fascination with electronica and computer-generated music, a genre that appears in Jean-Luc Retard’s coup de maître, a soundscape entitled “Le menteur” (“The Liar”). In this stirring piece, Retard juxtaposes primitive and repetitive drum programming with his silky Fender Stratocaster and Céline’s luscious voice — the only “real” instruments in the recording.

But the group’s flirtation with computer-generated music on this effort is counterbalanced by its love for rockers like “Moto” (a song about a girl obsessed with a man’s motorcycle) and “Stockholm” (a foray into sadomasochism and role-play). And true to its roots, Nous Non Plus also delivers a suite of classic 1960s-inspired tracks, like the playful duet featuring Dijon and Retard, “C’est vrai, bébé!”, and the stunning performance rendered by Dijon on “Nadia”, a song about a Russian spy and her unrequited lover Vladimir.

The red threads that connect the dots of this eclectic collection of songs are sex and politics. As Nous Non Plus reminds us with this new album, passion and power are what make the world go round.

Click here to hear the track “pasolini”.

Click here to hear the track “c’est vrai bébé!”

band on the run (life on the Boulevard Périphérique)

There were still sex workers on Van Buren St. when the airport shuttle rolled up to my flophouse motel near Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix yesterday morning at 8 a.m.

After tumbling out of bed at 4 a.m., I had jumped on an early commuter flight from Austin and was joining my bandmate, keyboardist Ryan Williams, for a session in a make-shift recording studio we set up for a day on the Boulevard Périphérique of Western civilization.

Note the Gideon’s Bible on our recording console (our “desk,” as we say in recording arts parlance).

We were energized by the fact that our band Nous Non Plus had been featured as “band of the day” on the now ubiquitous Band of the Day App.

But the greatest counterpoint to the bleak glimmer of sun-burnt, crystal meth-tinged Phoenix was the fact that both of us would be home in time to kiss our kids goodnight: Ryan, dad to two beautiful boys, had driven down from Flagstaff for the morning, and I had flown in especially for the session. We began tracking at 8:30 a.m. and I was on an Austin-bound 2:40 p.m. flight that got me home in time for dinner.

When I dreamed of a career in pop music as a child, this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.

But when you’re a new dad, you don’t need late-night, smoke-filled rock clubs to make the jams flow…

Ryan’s playing was fantastic, the sounds groovy and warm, and Tracie P’s cooking never tasted better (shredded chicken and roast poblano pepper tacos and cilantro rice paired with bright, fresh Schiava)…

The working title of our forthcoming album (fall 2012) is “Le Sex et Le Politique”…

scenes from the recording studio (rock ‘n’ roll baby)

From the DEPARTMENT OF ROCK AND ROLL…

A rock and roll band invaded our house this weekend…

Loved this gorgeous photo by Tracie P

It’s always so amazing to work with Céline in the studio… incredible voice, incredible chops…

Rock ‘n’ roll is a very serious business or so says Jean-Luc

And the best part of having the band record its new album at our house? There’s always someone around to entertain little Georgia P. I wish yall could hear her laugh… it’s the SWEETEST thing…

Vagina Panic (post tenebras lux)

From the department of “from darkness comes light”…

Above: Girls is a new show on HBO.

As the title reveals, “Les Damnés” was a track that I wrote for my band Nous Non Plus during a dark time in my life when I was living in New York and working in the restaurant industry by day and the music industry by night. It was an extremely productive time for me but a very unhappy one…

When I brought it to my dear friend and writing partner Verena (aka Céline Dijon), she brought her own darkness to the song, writing about traitorous lovers “damned” to an unhappy existence.

Her performance on the recording, superbly produced by Dan (aka Jean-Luc Retard) who forms the troika of our writing équipe, is as stirring to me now as it was that day, many moons ago, in an Eagle Rock recording studio.

For its pathos, it’s one of the songs that I’m the most proud of and it also features an amazing drum solo by our friend Joachim Cooder (who played on the entire album, Ménagerie, Aeronaut, 2009).

To listen to it now still brings chills to my marrow but it also reminds me that from darkness can come light… post tenebras lux

“Les Damnés” will be featured on the new HBO show Girls on Sunday, April 22, episode 2, “Vagina Panic.”

*****

“Les Damnés” from the Nous Non Plus 2009 release Ménagerie (Aeronaut) will be featured on the new HBO series Girls on April 22 (“Vagina Panic,” episode 2).

“HBO’s ‘Girls’ Is the Best New TV Show of 2012.”
—Daily Beast

The dream of every Jew…

The dream of every Jew (at least this one)? To write Christmas music, of course!

Every since I was a child, I’ve dreamed of writing Christmas music… just like one of my idols, Irving Berlin, who wrote “White Christmas” and “Happy Holiday,” among others…

And so when we “went into the studio” this year to make Nous Non Plus’s new album, Freudian Slip (Aeronaut 2011), we also recorded some holiday music.

The A-side of our new self-released single, “Holiday,” was inspired by and written for Tracie P (every day with you is a holiday…)…

The B-side is a song inspired by our troops, “(General, Please) Keep My Baby Safe This Christmas Eve”: it’s an anti-war song, sung from the point-of-view of a soldier’s wife or mother… Céline did an awesome job with the video… And the song features an heart-wrenching guitar solo by our friend David Garza, one of the greatest musicians I’ve ever had the chance to work with…

The single is only available on CD (no digital release) and costs $5 (including shipping).

For every CD shipped, Nous Non Plus will donate $1 to Operation Homefront, providing “emergency financial and other assistance to the families of our service members.”

Even if you don’t want a CD, please consider Operation Homefront (based in San Diego, California, and San Antonio, Texas) for your charitable giving this year…

To order a copy of the disk, please send me an email by clicking here (or leave a comment in the comment section below).

Tracie P and I LOVE Christmas music (Karen Carpenter, anyone?) and we have a strict rule at our house: NO Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving… and then LET THOSE BELLS RING! :)

Happy Holidays, yall! And thanks for listening…

Teenage fantasy come true…

I’ll never forget the first time I saw a CD that I played on in a bin at Tower Records on Sunset Blvd. That was many year ago but the thrill is always the same each time…

Tracie P snapped these photos today at Waterloo Records in Austin, one of the nation’s last independently owned record stores.

If your town doesn’t have a record store, you can buy the new record “Freudian Slip” by Nous Non Plus here (our band)…

And here’s the link to the Nous Non Plus site.

Thanks for listening!

2007 Nebbiolo and Rock ‘n’ Roll: notes from our record release party

As we head into the last trimester of our pregnancy, Tracie P and I decided to have one last house party before Baby P arrives in December. Doesn’t Tracie P look great?

Since I’m going to be in Europe on our new album’s release date (guiding celebrity mixologists to Friuli and speaking at the European Wine Bloggers Conference), the occasion was a listening party for my band Nous Non Plus’s CD Freudian Slip (October 11, Aeronaut Records).

You’ve already heard Bunga Bunga (the first single, released earlier this month). Here’s a preview of Tracie P’s favorite track, a song that Céline and I wrote in Italian for a dear friend of mine who’s going through a tough time in his life (that’s rock star David Garza playing the guitar solo, btw):

I made my guacamole, Tuscan bean salad, and penne tossed with domestic mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, basil, and extra-virgin olive oil. For the main event, Tracie P made her famous potato latkes and in the light of the fact that our band is faux French, I made that supreme classic of French cuisine: le hot dog (Hebrew National weenies and buns grilled on our ridged steak pan and then slathered with Dijon).

We opened a lot of awesome wine with the friends who came out to listen yesterday. But the wine that really thrilled me was the 2007 Barbaresco by Silvio Giamello.

Gauging from the 2007 Nebbiolo I’ve tasted so far, this vintage, already showing extremely well, will only get better. Here’s what Antonio Galloni had to say about 2007 in Langa:

    The year started off with an unusually warm and dry winter, with virtually no precipitation. Flowers and plants went into bloom nearly a full month early. Growers had never seen conditions such as these. The summer was warm, but evenly so, without noticeable heat spikes. Towards the end of the growing season nighttime temperatures lowered, slowing down the maturation of the grapes, and allowing for the development of the perfume that is such an essential component of fine Nebbiolo. The harvest was earlier than normal, but the growing season started so early in the year that the actual length of the vegetative cycle was actually close to normal if not longer than normal by a few days. Overall yields were down an estimated 10-15%.

(Even though he posted this in the subscription-only EBob site, it’s easy to find: just Google “Galloni Piedmont 2007″ and the complete text will come up.)

Produttori del Barbaresco still hasn’t shipped its 2007 classic Barbaresco but my bet is that it will be fantastic. And in the meantime, the Giamello is already gorgeous, with a promise for superb evolution. Giamello owns some of the best rows in Ovello, the same cru where Produttori del Barbaresco sources the majority of its fruit for their classic Barbaresco.

The 2008 Mongeard-Mugneret Fixin was also stunning. But the Barbaresco was the wine that really thrilled me yesterday as we listened to the new record.

Burgundy may be my mistress but Langa is my signora

Thanks for reading and listening!