Belle and Sebastian

I’m a music snob. More given to cheerfully mocking the taste of my friends (or, diplomatically holding my tongue) than following the CD-buying trend set by my peers. Let them rave about Lateralus and All That You Can’t Leave Behind; I’ll stick to my The Hour of Bewilderbeast and Liquid Skin. Yep, I need to get over myself. Badly. :slight_smile:

So I’m a little dismissive last Friday when my best friend’s girlfriend tries to foist an MD off on me. She compiled it herself, apparently for mine own listening pleasure. “It’s really good!” she says, like a good host trying to get a guest to try the spinach. “You’ll love it! Promise!”

Who could refuse? So I took her little plastic square of music, tucked it in my pocket and promptly forgot about it. Until this afternoon when I did the washing. And that was how I was introduced to Belle and Sebastian.

Much to my dismay, I liked what I heard. I liked a lot - enough to even motivate me to go out and start buying CDs. The MD I have in my possession is a mix of Belle and Sebastian songs, but I’m not sure from which albums they are from. At the moment, I’m especially liking “Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying”, “If You’re Feeling Sinister” and “Sleep The Clock Around”. Tender, strong melodies. Understated instrumentation. Subtle bass lines. Sad, aching lyrics. I love this stuff!

So what should I go out and get first? I remembering hearing Belle and Sebastian had a recent album (last year?) Is it any good, or should I start with the old stuff first? I know the band is Scottish; how many members are in it? Is there a dominant singer/songwriter, or are they are more of a group effort?

And most of all, how did they slip under my radar for so long? :slight_smile:

I know I could go Google these questions, but I’d rather hear it from the Dopers first.

IMHO ( oh no, sorry, that’s a different forum), the best albums to start with are Tigermilk and If You’re Feeling Sinister.

As to why you’ve never heard of them before, I have no idea. Obviously you’re not the Rock Snob you thought you were ( BTW, there’s a new Captain Beefheart CD out. Hooray!). You can find more info here

Thanks, Jabba I’ll take a looksee at those albums

Sssh! They’ll take my badge away!

I have The Boy With The Arab Strap and listen to it quite a bit. That one gets my vote.

Start with If You’re Feeling Sinister, then The Boy with the Arab Strap, then Tigermilk, then Fold Your Hands, Child…

Tigermilk, in my opinion, is a little rougher than the others (they did record it in college, when some of the members met in a business class, IIRC), but gets just as good if you listen to it enough.

I adore Belle and Sebastian–I recommend them to everyone. My favorite album is probably If You’re Feeling Sinister. I was working at the newspaper at my school last weekend, and was all alone in the office, and put that on. It’s just one of the most enjoyable damn albums I own.

beautiful stuff… i love em. get me away from here… is on ‘if you’re feeling sinister’ as well as the title track, so you’d probably be best to get that one if you like those songs. it’s a good starting point anyway. sleep the clock around is on ‘the boy with the arab strap’, which is good, but doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of ‘sinister’. i haven’t heard anything from ‘fold your hands child…’ except ‘the wrong girl’ which is a really sweet (in a non-cartman sense), pretty song. the album is apparently quite good though.

i’d recommend finding a copy of their recent ep with jonathan david on it - it’s one of my favourite b+s songs. similarly upbeat to ‘get me away from here…’ but more so.

and i just give props for their lyrics… so unlike anything in music today - the opening lines of ‘the boy with the arab strap’ are wonderful:

‘he had a stroke at the age of twenty four/ it could have been a brilliant career’

it evokes such a strong emotional image so effectively. good stuff. two thumbs up.

There’s like 9 people in the band, which always baffles me. I mean, I like them a lot, but it takes 9 people to make that music? How?

I adore them. I just found out about them about a month ago, when a friend gave me a wonderful mix CD with a bunch of their songs. I liked it a lot. So, I went out and bought “If You’re Feeling Sinister”. That has a few great songs on it. That was my first of theirs, I would suggest it to you as well.

I think their newest CD comes out next month. The soundtrack for the Todd Solondz film Storytelling.

That website has links to both the band’s official site, and the label’s site. Lots of information to be found there. Including a brief biography and song lyrics.

I Don’t Love Anyone and I Love My Car are probably my two favorite Belle & Sebastian songs.


After hearing the Belle and Sebastian mix CD that was made for me, I often wondered if the SDMB’s The Wrong Girl got her name from the B&S song. I guess I got the answer to my question. :slight_smile:

Don’t forget about the EPs… there’s about half a dozen of them, and the early ones have some of their best songs.

And if you like this, why not have a listen to the Clientele’s “Suburban Light,” The Field Mice’s “Where’d You Learn to Kiss That Way?” or go to the source… track down “The Strange Idols Pattern and Other Short Stories” by Felt.


Woo-hoo! Someone got it! :slight_smile:
(I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time)

I think Tigermilk is their best, and then it goes kinda downhill from there. Not that each successive album is bad, but that the one that came before just seems better. The EPs are worth investing in, however. The Legal Man EP is quite good in my esteem, but “Judy Is A Dick Slap” is one of those songs that will burrow in to you subconscious and start repeating ad nauseum when you least expect it. Anyway, get Tigermilk, you will not regret it. It’s fabulous.

P.S. Looper is a band of B&S’s former bassist, Stuart somebodyorother. While different in sound, it has the same “indie” spirit to it and I gotta say that The Geometrid is a fine, fine album. I put “My Robot” on a mix disc a while back, and the damn song wound up dominating the whole disc. I couldn’t complete listening to one song without wondering “when does ‘My Robot’ come on?”

uh…you live under a rock, or something? :smiley:

Belle and Sebastian can get a bit monotonous at times, but when they’re good, they’re soooooooo good. Their songs will stick in your head for a million years. I was singing “Stars of Track and Field” to myself over and over like a lunatic for months. Really.

I’ve only heard “If You’re Feeling Sinister” and “The Boy with the Arab Strap,” and both of them are (half) fabulous. There’s quite a bit of crap on them as well, but it’s worth it for the good parts.

[Busy scribbling notes]

Thanks for the suggestions, folks. I shall hunt for If You’re Feeling Sinister and Tigermilk today. The rest will have to wait, but I’ll get to them eventually. :slight_smile:

I’ve been advocating B&S here for a while in various music threads. Love them to bits.

More side project info:

Their cellist and occasional vocalist is Isobel Campbell (she sings “Is it wicked not to care” on The Boy with the Arab Strap). She has a band called Isobel Campbell and the Gentle Waves. Its quite like B&S, although even more fey, but in a good way.

Looper are just wonderful. “The Geometrid” is a top album, but the first album “Up a tree” is also well worth checking out.

They also share the odd player or two with Arab Strap. They are another good scots band. Quite a different style. Very understated musicianship, but the key here is Aiden Moffat’s vocals. He is a man with quite a few demons, and he will show them to you very plainly indeed. Some find this beautiful, other people think its Too Much Information.

Some B&S musicians also play for Snow Patrol, but I don’t really know too much about them, apart from liking what i have heard of them. I’m sure someone here will…

The Reindeer Section is a “supergroup” consisting of members of B&S, Arab Strap, Mogwai, Mull Historical Society, Snow Patrol and probably a few others. They have an album called “Y’all get scared now, y’hear”, which is ace.


PS - 10 points to anyone who knows what an Arab Strap is…

This isn’t about characters in Disney movies?

I’ve always wondered what the hell an arab strap was, i suppose i could google it.
back in a bit with an answer.

Cal – no it isn’t. However, Belle and Sebastian were animated characters in a French cartoon series. Sebastian was a little boy and Belle was his St. Bernard dog, IIRC.

Thats what I thought this thread would be about. I’ve never heard of the band.

Whatever it is, I hope it’s naughty.:o

If it is what I think it is, it’s pretty naughty.