Tag Archives: Belle and Sebastian

New Belle and Sebastian video: We Were Beautiful

Video: Belle and Sebastian – “We Were Beautiful”

Belle and Sebastian – We Were Beautiful

Single available now on Matador.

If you haven’t been paying attention to Belle and Sebastian for a while you might not know that they’ve been messing around with dance music lately. In 2014 they released the disco homage “The Party Line” as a preview single for Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, and it’s retained its position on my playlist of “songs to improve moods on long car rides” (along with “Uptown Funk” and “Get Lucky”) since then.

“We Were Beautiful” is more melancholy than “The Party Line” but it features the Glaswegian approximation of the “Funky Drummer” beat, so that’s pretty cool. It also has pedal steel and a mariachi trumpet! Far out.

Lyrically, it’s sad and nostalgic like all the best Belle and Sebastian songs.

We were beautiful before this went down
We were beautiful before the years came and turned it upside down
We were beautiful before we got wise

Stuart Murdoch creates a perfect little snapshot of a world “where the women are oblique and the boys are paper thin, ragged beards upon their chin.” It shares a similar perspective to the The’s “Jealous of Youth” with the narrator reminiscing of days with “nothing on except our boots” and being “intimate around the waist.”

So what is it that “went down” to ruin everything? Life, man. Wisdom makes you old and haggard. Sorry to spoil it for you, kids, but it’s the truth. Use sunscreen and take care of your teeth. The passing of time and all of its crimes is making me sad again.

Belle and Sebastian: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Belle and Sebastian video: We Were Beautiful

New Belle and Sebastian song: “Olympic Village, 6AM”

YouTube: Olympic Village, 6AM

Olympic Village, 6AM

“Belle and Sebastian dig the Olympics, love the Olympic ideal, love that the world gets together for a big ‘sports day’ once every four years. We can’t be part of it, though we’d like to be. So we recorded a piece of music with Rio in mind: specifically the Track and Field. Here it is.”

It’s a fun little instrumental that makes you want to chuck a javelin or attempt a pole vault. Or something. Stuart Murdoch and co. are no strangers to the topic of track and field, having previously recorded a song about its stars being beautiful people.

In Defense Of #fests

Belle and Sebastian at Pitchfork 2013

I’ve seen a lot of criticism of big music festivals lately. Some of it is valid: the radius clauses imposed by organizers can clearly hurt local venues and the local music scene. And I can’t think of a single band I’ve seen outside that wouldn’t have been better inside a dark club or theater. That said, fests offer a lot of things that you’re just not going to get when you go to a regular show.

I went to the Pitchfork Music Festival on Saturday and had a great time. There were three bands that I really wanted to see and several others that I was curious about. That’s enough for a solid day of music. You don’t need to love every single band. It’s good to have holes in your schedule so you can get some food, reapply sunscreen, and sit on a blanket in the shade. Downtime is essential if you don’t want to burn yourself out.

If you don’t have to travel too far, there’s no shame in getting a single day ticket. It’s important to realize that you don’t need to see everything. Don’t stress out about getting inside much before the start time of the first band you care about. On Saturday Phosphorescent was one of my three must-see bands and they started at 2:30. Sure, it might have been cool to see White Lung and Pissed Jeans, but you know what’s even cooler? A leisurely brunch at Wishbone.

We rolled in and found a good spot just in time to see Matthew Houck and his crew take the stage. The sun was beating down on us pretty hard, which made me happy we hadn’t arrived any earlier. Union Park is small enough that I could slip away for beer and be back before the end of the song.

After that, we threw down the blanket in a shady spot close enough to Trail of Dead’s stage so my pals could move up close for a while. During this chill time we met up with some other folks and spent some time critiquing the fashion choices of our fellow attendees. Happy to see nobody’s wearing corduroys in the summer anymore, but man, what’s up with all the half shirts?

We left the shade to check out Savages for a bit but got hungry after a few songs and left to eat some felafel under a tree.

At this point you might be wondering why I would spend $50 to sit on a blanket with my friends. And I would answer that sitting on a blanket with my friends is one of my favorite things to do at music festivals and something I never do anywhere other than at music festivals. I like drinking beer and eating felafels and watching people and listening to music. When something piques my interest I can get up and walk over and check it out.

I haven’t attended the Forkfest since 2010 but in past years I remember feeling old. Maybe it’s the fact that all the guys have geezer beards now, or maybe the Breeders and Belle and Sebastian appeal more to my demographic, but the crowd didn’t seem that young to me this year. But it’s still fun to see a bunch of weirdos baking in the sun while Swans pummel everyone.

I was excited to see the Breeders play Last Splash. It’s a meticulously produced album that is stranger sounding than almost any other alt-pop from the 90s. Live, though, they were perfectly shambolic. As my man JTL put it, they “brought the slacker cool epically.” I’ve seen the Pixies a few times since they reunited and I’ve never seen Kim Deal smile as much as she did on Saturday. They were scrappy and the mix wasn’t great, but whatever. The band was having fun and it was infectious.

After their set we jockeyed for a good position where we could still see Solange but be up close for Belle and Sebastian an hour later. B&S was the reason I bought tickets the day they went on sale. I saw them once before way back in 2006, and it was a great concert. If you think of them as wimpy and twee you really need to see them live. They rock harder than you’d think, and they put on a super entertaining show. There aren’t a ton of bands that I’d stand around in the rain to see, but Belle and Sebastian is one of them.

Once the rain got heavier, our densely packed spot opened up a little and we had enough room to put on ponchos and dance (gently). I kept looking up at the sky, nervous that the show would be stopped early as Bjork’s set had been the previous night. We were lucky and got a full set.

As we left the park my wet shoes squished through the grass and mud. Sure, there are things about fests that you can complain about, things that are less comfortable than they could be, things that are goofy or annoying, but like most things in life it’s about your attitude. If you go in with a good attitude you can have a good time. Realistic expectations and a flexible plan will help too.

A friend’s dad ran for state government back in the day with the slogan: Aim high, hang loose, keep moving. I’m not sure if he won or lost the election, but that’s my motto when I head into a fest. See you at Lollapalooza!

Pitchfork crowd, photo by Alan M. Paterson
Photo by Alan M. Paterson

Lots of Links: Twitter Roundup #17

Tweet tweetBelow are the things we’ve posted to Twitter recently. 219 tweets including 138 links and 97 retweets. In reverse chronological order, just like Twitter…

Jeff Sabatini and Mike Vasquez are tweeting for GLONO from the All Good Festival in West Virginia, although word from Sab is that network connectivity there is awful. But tune in for updates.

# Internet success requires trust. RT @annkpowers: Prince and the Internet, a history (tragedy?) http://tinyurl.com/2bn54a5

# RT @Johnny_Marr: World Premier of Inception in Leicester Sq, London last night. Guitars on the score by Johnny Marr.

# Everything here is leaning on an angle because of the mountain. It’s disconcerting to say the least. #allgood

Lots more below, and you might consider joining the 841 other people following us on Twitter so you can keep up with this stuff as it happens…

Continue reading Lots of Links: Twitter Roundup #17

New God Help The Girl video: Baby You’re Blind

Video: God Help The Girl – “Baby You’re Blind”

While Belle and Sebastian is putting the finishing touches on a new album, Stuart Murdoch’s side-project, God Help The Girl, releases a new single. And damn, one thing you can say about Murdoch is that he has incredible taste in women. From the cover stars of all of the B&S releases to all of the singers he selected for God Help The Girl, the guy knows a thing or two about feminine beauty.

This new song features Linnea Jönsson, and its b-side (a new version of “A Down and Dusky Blonde”) features Dina Bankole. Not sure if/when they’ll be available in the States, but you download the digital package (including the video) for £1.

God Help The Girl: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Belle and Sebastian: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Download a new God Help The Girl song: Stills

God Help The Girl - Stills EP

In order to promote the digital release of their new Stills EP, God Help The Girl is giving away the title track. No direct link to the MP3, but if you follow the “Download” link below and give them your email address and zip code, you’lll be given the option to download the song in variety of formats including 320kbps MP3, FLAC, and Apple Lossless.

<a href="http://godhelpthegirl.bandcamp.com/album/stills">Stills by God Help The Girl</a>

Belle and Sebastian‘s Stuart Murdoch has been working on this project for years, and the album was excellent. Judging by this freebie, the EP will be on par. And I’ll be damned if Murdoch does not have the best taste in cover stars—where does he find those girls?

“This is not the usual five duffers that didn’t make the album,” says Stuart. “It just happens to be the tracks that Catherine, Celia and Alex sang that were less relevant to the film project, so I wanted to put them on a separate release and let the LP follow the curve of the proposed film.”

In related news, a new Belle and Sebastian record will “most likely” be released “during 2010,” and filming on the God Help The Girl movie “should get properly underway in 2011.”

God Help The Girl: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

New God Help the Girl Songs

God Help the Girl - Mary's Market

A couple of new MP3s from Stuart Murdoch‘s God Help the Girl project:

God Help the Girl – “Mary’s Market”

God Help the Girl – “Funny Little Frog”

“Mary’s Market” is the b-side to the “Funny Little Frog” single and features vocals by Murdoch. The a-side is a cover of the Belle and Sebastian song with vocals by Brittany Stallings. The 7″ is due July 20 in the UK.

God Help the Girl: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web.

New Belle and Sebastian Project

Video: God Help The Girl – an introduction

God Help The Girl is a musical film written by Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian. The album of songs from the film is due June 23 on Matador with a total of nine different singers (including Neil Hannon from the Divine Comedy and Asya from American teen trio, Smoosh) joining the members of Belle and Sebastian over the course of a few months of recording in Glasgow.

If you’re willing to enter an email addres, you can download the first single, “Come Monday Night,” sung by Catherine Ireton at the album’s website. It’s as lovely as you’d expect.

Belle and Sebastian: iTunes, Amazon, Insound

Belle and Sebastian: Cuckoo at the Ceilidh

If you're feeling sinister...Belle and Sebastian with New Pornographers

Riviera Theatre, Chicago, March 10, 2006

When I heard about this tour I assumed it was going to be set up as a sort of co-headlining affair. For whatever reason, I had thought both bands had achieved a fairly equivalent stature. Goes to show how accurate my “scene radar” is.

The New Pornographers were clearly just the opening band.

Continue reading Belle and Sebastian: Cuckoo at the Ceilidh

Belle and Sebastian – The Life Pursuit

Belle and Sebastian - The Life PursuitBelle & Sebastian – The Life Pursuit (Matador)

For better or for worse, the Belle & Sebastian of your older sibling’s college days are long gone. The elegant lo-fi tweeisms have given way under an avalanche of sugary-sweet power pop. Take the blind test, and you could easily mistake The Life Pursuit for a New Pornographers album.

Not even the group’s previous release, Dear Catastrophe Waitress, can prepare listeners for what The Life Pursuit offers. Stuart Murdoch has proven his worth as a songwriter in the past, and on Waitress he began to adapt his skills into new terrain for the Scottish group.

Continue reading Belle and Sebastian – The Life Pursuit