Tag Archives: Belle and Sebastian

New Belle and Sebastian video: I Don’t Know What You See in Me

Video: Belle and Sebastian – “I Don’t Know What You See in Me”

From Late Developers, out now on Matador.

What’s up with the figure skating videos?

Last Friday Belle and Sebastian surprise-released a brand new album, recorded at the same time as their previous release, last year’s A Bit of Previous. I haven’t had the chance to listen to the rest of it yet, but this this first single is something. That opening synth wash sounds like the absolute worst of the 80s and calls to mind Asia or the Cutting Crew’s “Died In Your Arms.”

It gets better. By the end of the first chorus you can forgive those tones and have almost forgotten all the kids who were mean to you in junior high.

Stuart Murdoch says, “I was bicycling across Scotland last summer, listening to a mix of this song. It was written and produced for us by our friend Pete ‘Wuh Oh’ Ferguson. As I listened to it, I felt lucky to be the first person to get to sing this song. I let my voice swoop and soar in ways that it maybe hasn’t before. And as I continued through fields of gold and green I allowed myself to forget it was Belle And Sebastian, and pretend it was the latest hit on some random radio station. All music is escape, and perhaps we managed to escape a little further than usual with this unexpected tune. Thanks Pete!”

I’m excited that I’ve got tickets to see them play at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo in May. That’s not a huge venue. Should be super fun. (Hope it’s warm out, though.)

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New Belle and Sebastian video: A Bit of Previous

Video: Belle and Sebastian – “A Bit of Previous”

Directed and illustrated by Graham Samuels. Stand-alone single out now on Matador.

I’m trying to think of the last time a band held its title track off the album but then released it later… Maybe “Figure 8” by Elliott Smith? Anything since then?

Stuart Murdoch says, “The song touched on the themes of karma and reincarnation. In the clip a woman journeys through her life ‘seeing’ people’s karma. She sees what they are and what they will become. She sees people who are doing well, who are gods in this life. ‘Just because you’ve got the high ground / Doesn’t mean you have the most fun’. She imagines them transform into different life forms, even into walking ghosts. Conversely, she sees some who are destitute and alone. She sees them transforming into enlightened people. Finally, she imagines her own future, shrouded in cloud and mystery.”

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New Belle and Sebastian video: Talk to Me, Talk to Me

Video: Belle and Sebastian – “Talk to Me, Talk to Me”

Directed by Freya and Rosalie Salkeld. From A Bit of Previous, out now on Matador.

This is pretty great. When Belle and Sebastian ran out of time to make their own video they invited folks to pitch them ideas. A pair of 15-year-old south London siblings got the deal.

Stuart Murdoch says, “We put out an open call to filmmakers who would be interested in making something for the existing budget, requesting an image encapsulating their idea and a 100-word pitch. The directors’ mother got in touch saying her daughters are fans of the group and keen filmmakers, and they sent in a treatment that we loved. They co-wrote and co-directed it, and got a bunch of their friends involved, and made a fresh and funny take on the song.”

I’ve got a new perspective
The glass in my hand, it ain’t exactly full
The place at my table is an empty stool
Talk to me, talk to me.

Directors Freya and Rosalie say, “When we found out we were going to make Belle and Sebastian’s new music video we were beyond excited. Our idea had come from photos we’d taken of our friends for art projects. Casting mates we’d recently seen in a school drama production was really fun – filming them was even better! The process as a whole was an amazing challenge and we’re so grateful for the opportunity!”

How cool is that?

Also, the song features a ripping guitar solo!

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New Belle and Sebastian video: Unnecessary Drama

Video: Belle and Sebastian – “Unnecessary Drama”

Directed by Kasparas Vidunas & Eric J. Liddle. From A Bit of Previous, out May 5 on Matador.

Unfortunate timing for poor Belle and Sebastian! Just as they’re ramping up to announce their first new album in seven years, the Russians invade Ukraine and start a war and make everything else seem meaningless or silly. They released this video for “Unnecessary Drama” and then immediately followed it up with a Ukrainian fundraiser where they pledged to donate all artist income from “If They’re Shooting At You” to the Red Cross, including streaming, digital sales, and publishing royalties.

So now that our priorities are established, we can get back to enjoying “Unnecessary Drama,” an upbeat B&S jam with a relentless harmonica line (humorously ripped on in the video when the band’s therapist requires Stevie to hand over his harp because it’s distracting the session).

There’s an array of douchebags lining up
To play their stupid parts.

I love it when Belle and Sebastian act tough and mean.

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New Belle and Sebastian video: There Is An Everlasting Song

Video: Belle & Sebastian – “There Is An Everlasting Song”

From How to Solve Our Human Problems (Matador, 2018).

“The video is a small tribute to the amazing people who posed, modeled and enrolled to appear in our artwork for the How To Solve Our Human Problems EP releases.”

I spent a semester at the University of Aberdeen in 1991-92. My dorm room in Dunbar Halls (demolished in 2003) had a bed, a desk, and a sink. When I first arrived at my new home I was greeted by the 70-year-old porter who spoke entirely in Scotticisms with such a thick accent that I literally could not understand a word he said and he practically had to drag me to my room. In relatively short order I would be proficient enough to not only understand what everybody was saying, but I also could tell where anybody was from. Maybe not down to the neighborhood like Henry Higgins, but the region for sure. That knowledge fades fast. These days I can’t even determine if someone’s from Ireland or Wales. But I used to.

All the people I knew from Glasgow were good looking. And I’m sure that not everybody in a Belle and Sebastian video or record cover is from Glasgow, that’s what I remember them all looking like. The band goes for a certain look. And back in 2016 they asked their fans to submit headshots to use as artwork on their upcoming series of EPs. Over 1,100 applicants submitted photos and the band ultimately selected about 50 people to shoot professionally. These were used for the artwork on the How To Solve Our Human Problems EPs.

And as a Throwback Thursday a couple weeks ago, Belle and Sebastian made this “wee video” to honor those folks. And they’re all good looking, just as I remember them being.

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New Belle and Sebastian video: This Letter

Video: Belle & Sebastian – “This Letter”

Directed by Stuart Murdoch. From the Days of the Bagnold Summer original soundtrack, out now on Matador.

It’s not every day you hear Belle and Sebastian use the f-word, but these are not normal days, my friends.

Though the world is fucked according to the news
Doesn’t get you out of what you have to do
Though the world is fucked and swinging to the right
Doesn’t get you out of what you have to do tonight

“This Letter” is a pretty bossa nova ditty in the form of a letter to a special friend. “All I want for you is joy and peaceful love / Who you get it from is not my main concern.” Wonder if these guys have been listening to Leonard Cohen?

Stuart Murdoch says, “After the Boaty Weekender I got the chance to make another video. With limited time, I called upon 3/4 of boat mates Wet Look to help me out. They play three tired film crew people, who just made a Belle and Sebastian video – but they quite fancy having a go at filming themselves, so they get hold of Super 8 cameras, and start messing about.”

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New Belle and Sebastian video: Sister Buddha

Video: Belle and Sebastian – “Sister Buddha”

From Days of the Bagnold Summer, due September 13 on Matador.

It’s always uplifting to hear a new Belle and Sebastian song. And “Sister Buddha” is no exception.

And if God won’t show Her face
Fall upon your loving soul’s embrace
And I’ll send you all the love that I can find

Days Of The Bagnold Summer is the soundtrack album to an upcoming filmed directed by Simon Bird. It’s based on a graphic novel by Joff Winterhart and features eleven new Belle and Sebastian songs, plus two re-recordings of oldies. The movie is set for release in 2020 but the soundtrack will be out in September.

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New Belle and Sebastian video: Poor Boy

Video: Belle and Sebastian – “Poor Boy”

From How to Solve Our Human Problems, out on Matador.

It’s been almost twenty years since I first heard Belle and Sebastian. A good friend of mine had picked up The Boy with the Arab Strap. We would have house parties every weekend back then. There would be a cooler in a back yard with a case of Pabst buried in ice with a six pack of craft beer on top. This was how we rolled. Everybody brought their own beer anyway, so you’d always end up with plenty. In the late 90s my friends all lived within walking distance, or at least close enough. Dogs but no kids yet. There was music as loud as the neighbors and wives would tolerate, played on CDs in boomboxes.

A party like this is where I was introduced to these Scottish introverts, probably with a disclaimer that they were lispy and effeminate. I was totally into sixties garage punk and Neil Young and fifties rockabilly and Wilco back then, so I’m sure it was a hard sell.

There’s still nothing like a warm autumn night in Michigan. When being young and having your own place and a little bit of money and getting loaded with your friends was all you needed in life. Laughing until you cried, dancing until you were sore, arguing about stupid stuff. So fun.

This was the same friend who introduced me to the Lucksmiths a couple years later and really opened up my musical tastes to gentler sounds with clever lyrics. A lot has changed since then. Life goes in all sorts of unexpected directions. People drift apart, change. Divorces, new jobs, kids, death in the family, moves across the country. We no longer have those kinds of back yard parties.

But maybe we should. Maybe it’s time to bust out the coolers and fill them up with Pabst. Throw some good beer on top. Invite some friends over and see what happens.

We had a time
If we could have it back over again
I’d be a force…

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New Belle and Sebastian video: I’ll Be Your Pilot

Video: Belle and Sebastian – “I’ll Be Your Pilot”

From How To Solve Our Human Problems EP 2, out January 19 on Matador.

If you’re a Belle and Sebastian fan who is concerned that the band has gotten a little too disco-y lately, this new song ought to reassure you. Acoustic guitars and an oboe take the spotlight in this amazingly sweet lullaby from a parent to their kid.

It’s tough to become a grown up
Put it off while you can
I tell you that when you land
In the real world, it’s like quicksand

That’s true. John Cougar once said to hang on to 16 as long as you can, and he wasn’t wrong about that either. Changes come around real soon.

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New Belle and Sebastian video: We Were Beautiful

Video: 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.

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