Belle and Sebastian (formed 1996)
Belle and Sebastian are an indie pop band from Glasgow, Scotland. They are often compared to some of their main influences, such as The Smiths, Nick Drake and Bob Dylan. They were named after a French children's book, by Cecile Aubry. The band originally released records on Jeepster Records before signing to Rough Trade Records in the UK and Matador Records in the United States.
Formation: Belle and Sebastian was originally formed by Stuart Murdoch and Stuart David and recorded some songs with Alan Rankine, Stow College's music professor. The demos found their way onto a compilation from college's own label, Electric Honey. The label then went on to release the band's debut album, Tigermilk, original copies of which now change hands for vastly inflated amounts of money.
Following the positive response received by the band, the two Stuarts decided to transform the band into a full-time project, adding Stevie Jackson (guitar & vocals), Isobel Campbell (cello & vocals), Chris Geddes (keyboards) and Richard Colburn (drums) to the line-up.
Rise to Fame: The second album from Belle and Sebastian was the critically-lauded If You're Feeling Sinister, which was released in November 1996, just a few months after the release of their debut. Sarah Martin joined the band on violin and vocals just before its release.
The band then released a series of EPs, including 'Dog on Wheels' and 'Lazy Line Painter Jane', which featured Monica Queen singing on the title track.
The third LP from Belle and Sebastian was entitled The Boy With the Arab Strap and was released in 1998, reaching number 12 in the UK charts. This was followed by another EP, This Is Just a Modern Rock Song.
In 1999, Belle and Sebastian beat Steps and 5ive to win the 'Best Newcomer' award at the BRIT awards, despite being on their third album. After hosting their own festival, the Bowlie Weekender, Belle and Sebastian went on to release their fourth studio album, Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant. The band's slow burning popularity started to cross over into the mainstream and their song 'Seymour Stein' was featured on the soundtrack to High Fidelity (which starred John Cusack and Jack Black), as well as being featured in the film's script. Their music was also played over the end credits of the TV series Teachers.
Stuart David left the band and was replaced by Bobby Kildea and in 2002, the band worked on a soundtrack to the Todd Solondz film Storytelling, which starred Selma Blair and Leo Fitzpatrick. Later that year, Belle and Sebastian left Jeepster Recordings and signed to Rough Trade. Their first album for the cult underground label was Dear Catastrophe Waitress and was produced by Trevor Horn, who has produced a number of bands, such as Paul McCartney, Tina Turner and Mike Oldfield, as well as fronting his own band, Buggles. The success of the album led to Belle and Sebastian being nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2004, though they lost out to Franz Ferdinand. They were also nominated for an Ivor Novello award that same year.
A compilation of some of the band's Jeepster recordings was released in 2005, entitled Push Barman to Open Old Wounds.
Belle and Sebastian's seventh album, The Life Pursuit, was released in 2006. The band followed its release with an historic performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, accompanied by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. They were supported by The Shins. Later that year, some members of the band contributed to an album of children's songs, named Colours Are Brighter. The Flaming Lips and Franz Ferdinand also contributed. 2008 saw the band release The BBC Sessions.
Along with Kimya Dawson, Mott the Hoople and Cat Power, Belle and Sebastian were included on the soundtrack to the popular indie film Juno. The film starred Ellen Page, Michael Cera and Jason Bateman.
The eighth album from Belle and Sebastian was Belle & Sebastian Write About Love. It was released in 2010.
With August's festival calendar seemingly busier than any other month, those of us with a persuasion to stand in a field watching live music are spoilt for choice. While V Festival might be the most corporate and therefore populist, the more discerning fan of both music and the arts in general would probably be found elsewhere. Such as Green Man for instance. Situated on the Glanusk Park estate in Crickhowell to the eastern point of the Brecon Beacons, it prides itself on being one of the most unique festivals around. Having grown from a capacity of just 300 people when it started in 2003 to the 20,000 revellers here to party this weekend, it's become a festival season highlight even with such a saturated market.
What also sets it apart is the stellar line-up organisers Fiona Stewart and Ben Coleman regularly pull out of the bag, and this year's edition was no exception. With the "sold out" signs hoisted long before this weekend, its reputation for putting quality control first speaks for itself. While its picturesque setting and heavy focus on locally sourced organic produce also render it a cut above the standard festival fare of greasy burgers and warm Carling where daily nourishment is concerned.
Indeed, the only thing that cannot be guaranteed is the weather but then this is the British summer time, right? Right. So without further ado, having acquired our passes and pitched up, Contactmusic are immediately drawn to the impressive bill taking place on the Far Out Stage this Thursday evening. Flamingods experimental take on psychedelic world music and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard's full throttle sonic assault prove to be particular highlights. So much in fact that headliners Wild Beasts actually seem unsure about following either act on stage and play a surprisingly muted set of material mostly lifted from new record 'Boy King' instead.
Continue reading: Green Man 2016 - Live Review
More acts have been announced for the Wales festival.
All headliners for Wales' Festival No. 6 have now been announced, with Metronomy now heading the bill with Grace Jones and Belle & Sebastian. Further new acts have also been added to the line-up, while many more acts are yet to be announced.
British electronic collective Metronomy head the bill with Jamaican crooner Grace Jones and Glasgow pop group Belle & Sebastian as a host of other new bands are added to the festival line-up. The fourth instalment of this uniquely cultured festival is set to hit Portmeirion from September 3rd to 6th, bringing with it some fine artists such as Catfish & The Bottlemen, Jame Bay, Stornoway and Blossoms to name but a few.
Continue reading: Metronomy Round Off Their Album Tour As Festival No. 6 Headliners
D'angelo & The Vanguard, Kacey Musgraves and Songhoy Blues join headliners Billy Joel and Mumford & Sons.
More additions have been announced for Bonnaroo 2015 as the June event draws ever closer. D'angelo & The Vanguard, Kacey Musgraves and Songhoy Blues join an already stellar line-up for this 10-stage bonanza, while the full late night sets are also announced.
Adding to a line-up headlined by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Billy Joel and London Grammy winners Mumford And Sons are soul collective D'angelo & The Vanguard, young country star Kacey Musgraves and Mali four-piece Songhoy Blues. As usual, the epic festival - which is set to play host to a massive 85,000 music lovers - presents one of the world's most diverse line-ups as it prepares to hit Manchester, Tennessee this summer from June 11th to 14th.
Continue reading: Bonnaroo 2015: More Thrills Added To The Summer Line-up
Rather like Rennie Macintosh before them, The Glasgow School of Art he designed and the artistic and architectural movement he helped create, Belle And Sebastian have become one of the more unlikely Glaswegian institutions to have survived popular cultural changes. Few would have given the light and 'whimsical' band a longevity that marks its nineteenth anniversary this January, but survive, adapt and thrive they have.
'Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance' marks Belle And Sebastian's ninth studio album. With the longest gap yet between this and their last album, 'Belle & Sebastian Write About Love', you may be forgiven for thinking that creativity, commitment or enthusiasm are on the wane, but you'd be wrong. On the evidence of these twelve tracks the rest has been as good as the change it has introduced (to be fair, Stuart Murdoch has also been working hard on his other project 'God Help The Girl' in the interim years).
Nestled in between the very entertaining lyrical genius and left of centre harmonies are slices of Electro, Soul, Gospel (recorded in Atlanta, it's got to be a Gospel record according to the band), Funk, Disco, HiNRG, Glam and pure Pop. There is also a fresh sense of positivity that pervades the whole album despite, or perhaps even because of, some of its more interesting subject matter: "And if we live by the books and we live by hope does that make us targets for gunfire?" (Nobodies Empire).
Continue reading: Belle And Sebastian - Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance Album Review
Coachella 2015 brings some fantastic artists - new and old - to Indio, California.
It's that time of year again as the full line-up announcement for Coachella 2015 arrives following some spectacular headliners: AC/DC, Jack White and Drake will all top the bills at the two-weekend event in April.
Well known for its diverse collection of rock, pop, electronic, hip hop and indie artists from around the world, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is yet again set to arrive at the Empire Polo Club fields in Indio, California. Kicking off with the first event from Friday April 10th - 12th, the festival will repeat the following week from April 17th - 19th.
Stuart Murdoch brings his female-based musical project God Help The Girl to the big screen in movie starring Emily Browning.
Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian presents his directorial debut with music drama 'God Help The Girl', starring 'Pompeii' star Emily Browning as an emotionally complicated budding young singer-songwriter.
The film shares its name with Murdoch's current side-project, whose well-received self-titled album was unveiled back in 2009. After five years we're glad that the project has finally resurfaced - and especially in the form of a film. The movie stars Emily Browning as Eve, a girl who finds solace in songwriting while struggling to come to terms with some emotional issues for which she is being treated in hospital. She meets city musicians Cass (played by Game Of Thrones actress Hannah Murray) and James (Olly Alexander Years & Years frontman) and together they form a pop band, with Eve setting out on a journey of success, love and friendship.
Eve is a young woman living in Glasgow, Scotland struggling to cope with huge emotional stress and various personal problems in her life. She is in hospital to combat her mental anxieties, but finds that the only real treatment for her is songwriting. She finds solace in song but begins to realise that she'll never get anywhere with her dream without a backing band, and thus meets cityside musicians James and Cassie who are also looking to embark on their own musical passions. Do this newfound pop group have fame and fortune awaiting them at the end of the summer? And will Eve finally manage to learn to cope with her emotional problems?
Romance drama 'God Help The Girl' is the debut film project of writer and director Stuart Murdoch, the leader singer of Glasgow indie band Belle & Sebastian. The movie is linked in with his side-project of the same name and has been co-produced by double Oscar nominee Barry Mendel ('The Royal Tenenbaums', 'Rushmore', 'The Sixth Sense'). It won an Honors award at Newport Beach Film Festival and a Special Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival and is scheduled to be released in the UK on August 22nd 2014.
Several films due to be premiered at the Sundance Film Festival are generating a hefty amount of conversation
The Sundance Film Festival is the place to be for young, aspiring filmmakers hoping to crack into the hotly-contested business of the movies. By the end of the film festival, which this year runs from 16-26 January, there are always a selection of film titles that are revived for the following awards season, and this year people are so eager for the celluloid showcase that a number of early contenders for festival glory have been marked before their debut release.
The dark God's Pocket stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Eddie Marsan
In thirty years the film has discovered some of the most promising filmmakers out there and continues to deliver, from Roland Joffé’s The Killing Fields in the festival's opening year (1985) to last year's most notable success; Fruitvale Station, the debut feature length from Ryan Coogler. With another 120 films to get through this year it seems more than likely that at least one of the releases will be leaving Park City, Utah, with more than a few skiing lessons and a commemorative t-shirt.
Here's what to expect from Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival this weekend (19th - 21st July 2013).
Every summer this globally loved festival presents some 40 plus artists from all parts of the music spectrum, including both classic chart-toppers and new emerging talent, to 50,000 indie fans. They have been praised over their seven year existence for their cheap ticket prices and friendly atmosphere and that's not about to go any time soon. Apart from great live music on show for three days, there's some of the best indie vinyls for sale at the CHIRP Record Fair, some excellent posters and art-pieces about, as well as a craft fair and an array of musical books and magazines. It's not just for Stateside music fans though, the festival hits Europe for Pitchfork Music Festival Paris on October 31st, November 1st and November 2nd.
Continue reading: Union Park Prepares For Its Seventh Annual Pitchfork Music Festival