Claude Fontaine x Vaqueiro

There is a mythical island that exists only in Claude Fontaine’s imagination. It’s somewhere off the coast of France but the trade winds blow a soothing tropical breeze. The inhabitants converse in an alluring mélange of French and Portuguese. The air is fragrant and sweet. The water is the color of Lapis Lazuli. The stone citadels of this invisible city are scarred by time, but its people exist in a velvet eternity.

If you wander at night amidst the starlit cobblestone roads, you might chance upon the official house band of this halcyon offshore republic. A mysterious ensemble fronted by an American girl with a French name singing a romantic collection of spells assembled under the name, La Mer.

With their dulcet fusion of ‘60s French ye-ye pop, slinky Studio One reggae, and liminal Brazilian tropicalia, Claude Fontaine’s songs embody the best kept dreams of a globally connected world. The second album from the Los Angeles artist reflects the dream of creating the soundtrack for this utopia by the sea.

On “Vaqueiro,” the first single from the album out today, Fontaine spins the tale of a gaucho, a hardened man on horseback, a rugged soul who denies love and sweats out his sorrows from the isolation of a chaparral-strewn ranch.

At times, Fontaine channels Jane Birkin as backed by Jorge Ben. Françoise Hardy locked into sonic reverie with Mulatu Astatke, or Margo Guryan making lovers rock. None of this is a happy accident. For her second opus, Fontaine assembled some of the most gifted musicians of the last five decades. First and foremost is her co-writer and producer, the multi-platinum Grammy-Award winning Lester Mendez, whose resume includes everyone from Grace Jones and Baaba Maal to Shakira and Nelly Furtado.

As with Fontaine’s self-titled first album, Tony Chin, foil for the likes of King Tubby, Dennis Brown, Lee Perry, Jackie Mittoo, Sly & Robbie, appears on guitar, bringing the orphic tones expected from someone who has played with some of the greatest reggae musicians of all-time. On bass, there’s Ronnie McQueen, one of the co-founders of Steel Pulse. Sergio Mendes’ percussionist, Gibi Dos Santos, supplies propulsive locomotion. So does Ziggy Marley’s drummer, Rock Deadrick. And that’s just the abridged list of storied instrumentalists who appear on La Mer.

Listen to "Vaquiero" and pre-order the album (out Sept. 6th).

10 Years x Pappy & Harriet's

We kicked off our 10 Year Anniversary with an IL Weekender deep in the desert !!!  Two Sold-Out nights at Pappy & Harriet's in Pioneertown, California which featured BADBADNOTGOOD, Classixx, Claude Fontaine, De Lux, Hanni El Khatib, Jimmy Edgar, Jonah Yano, Nosaj Thing & Nick Waterhouse.  It truly was a famiLy affair and one for the books. Here's to 10 more!

Special Thanks to Paige Phillips & Mike Anderson for the photos / video.