Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Sylvie has written the third and last installment of her trilogy on heartbreak albums for Radio Silence.  The album this time is Jeff Buckley’s “Grace”. But these are not simply album reviews, these are essays in which the story of the album relates to a personal story of heartbreak in Sylvie’s life.

The trilogy – which also includes her previous essays on Bob Dylan’s “Blood On The Tracks” and Iggy Pop’s “Avenue B” – will be published in the book edition of  Radio Silence, which should be in the stores soon.

Meanwhile, you can read them online for free here: http://ow.ly/VGrCn
mirror NV



What a summer!

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Whew! Is it sweltering where you are too? It’s turning out to be quite a summer, in so many ways. First, the touring. After her performances in Bogota,  S.America Sylvie did a handful of shows in California then flew to Scandinavia  where she played three concerts in Norway – way up in the north of the country, and also in Oslo (pictured below, where the musicians included American singer-songwriter Luke Elliott and Norwegian poet Havard Rem, who translated Sylvie’s book I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen) – with a few days off to climb a mountain and take a fishing boat out into the Norwegian sea and catch an enormous cod!

Now she’s headed back to S.America again – Chile this time, to play a concert with Chilean musician Matías Cena and be interviewed onstage by Santiago journalist Alfredo Lewin. And after that it’s back to Scandinavia! Three shows in Denmark as part of the Aarhus festival, one of them sharing the stage with Howe Gelb and Giant Sand,  Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth and M.Ward. Check the Tour page  for details of these and also some local shows.

Despite all the traveling, Sylvie has kept to her resolution to Tweet her book Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes every day, a dozen or so tweets at a time, with the occasional commentary and picture! At last glance she was four chapters and around 700 tweets into it. Join her on Twitter or if you want the whole book, which  has been updated and is available as an e-book/kindle  after a long time out of print, it’s here:


Sylvie has also been compiling an album, The Rough Guide to Americana: Vol 2.’ The first volume, coincidentally, came out the same year as her Serge Gainsbourg book, in 2001, and featured then-unknown artists, now highly-acclaimed, like The Handsome Family, best-known these days for their theme song to True Detective Season 1. Season 2’s theme tune is a Leonard Cohen song!!

And of course she’s still writing about music. Here’s an essay she wrote on Iggy Pop for Radio Silence magazine and book – part personal story, part critique and the second in her series of heartbreak albums , ‘The Best Part Of Breaking Up’.  Read it here: http://ht.ly/P3Cr6

Encore 2 Oslo

New Year’s News

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Hi, Sylvie here. Happy new year! Hope it’s a good one for you.

So far mine’s been a whirlwind – just as it was at the end of 2014, nonstop shows, interviews and radio sessions. In fact just this morning I was being interviewed by a journalist who asked me what it felt like changing sides from writing about music to making music. A good question except that when he asked it, I was busy writing an album review for MOJO! But I did find time to write a new song over the holidays (yep, another sad one) and there’s another song simmering in my head that I can’t wait to get to.

But back to this morning’s interview. I answered that in many ways it had felt surprisingly natural to make an album, once I’d finally plucked up courage to do it. I mean, I’d always played music for myself, as well as listened to and written about it, and I’d seen the inside of enough recording studios for them not to intimidate me too much. The hardest part, I told him, was trying to grow thicker skin in time for what I assumed would be very harsh reviews – because I’d broken the first rule of music journalism, which is that a rock writer should never release a record. The old cliche goes that all rock writers are deep-down failed or frustrated musicians, and maybe there’s some truth to that, even if my “inner rockstar” stayed hidden for quite a few decades.

He asked if it was strange reading reviews of my own album – and it was, it felt surreal. One of the strangest things though was how great they’ve all been, every one of them. What’s also been great is how supportive musicians have been. One of the highlights of last year was when Jim White, whose albums I’ve loved and written about for ages, asked me to sing with him in New York City in November at a benefit for the literary magazine Radio Silence. And in February – when I get back from Cartagena, Colombia, where I’m going to be appearing as both a writer and a singer at the Hay Festival of the Americas! – I’m going to head on the road with another singer-songwrite whose music I’ve admired and reviewed, Jason McNiff.
12 Bar 2
SS @ Jim White pancakes&whisky

Well, one of my resolutions is to try and blog more often – I’m sorry things got so busy that I didn’t get around to writing about all the great stuff that’s been going on since I released my album – trips to Oslo, Helsinki, Dublin, London, Liverpool, Winchester and now back playing in California. I’ve put links to a few videos and radio shows on my website’s Sounds page, along with some of the reviews and interviews. Another resolution is to keep my Tour page updated every few days, whenever a new show or radio session is confirmed, so please check in on that page now and then, as I’d love to see you. And if you’re a Facebookie, feel free to friend me since I post there every day.

And I’ll leave you for now with a piece I wrote on Bob Dylan for Radio Silence