The lead-off track of Belle & Sebastian’s 1998 album The Boy With the Arab Strap, ‘It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career’ is a classic example of the band’s early style. I’ll stack the music on B&S’s first three albums against pretty much anything ever.
Nobody does acoustic melancholy like the Scottish septet. They later expanded their sound, branching into pop and even dance music quite successfully, but for me this will always be the quintessential Belle & Sebastian sound.
Today’s Random iTunes Selection comes at a good time.
I’ve been a bit down on Belle and Sebastian lately due to the uncharacteristic mediocrity of their most recent release. The band’s first new material since 2015’s Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance is a collection of EPs that combine to form a 15-track album titled How to Solve Our Human Problems. And for my money, it’s the weakest thing they’ve ever recorded.
Belle and Sebastian’s 2002 album Storytelling is the soundtrack to the Todd Solondz film of the same name. However, the relationship between the band and Solondz was so poor that only about five minutes of their music made it into the film’s final cut.
As a musical release, this is by far the band’s weakest effort. It contains only two or three actual songs interspersed with brief instrumentals and snippets of dialogue. I believe it was released mostly as a contractual obligation, as this was Belle & Sebastian’s final album on the Jeepster label. Continue reading
I recently registered my vote for Talking Heads over Stevie Wonder in the Montauk Madness competition. Today’s random SOTD is one of the reasons why.
I hear the influence of Talking Heads all over the music I like. I’d never expect the delicate Scottish band Belle & Sebastian to lay down a groove like this, but here they are, channeling David Byrne’s ground-breaking work in a move that makes me appreciate both bands even more.
Here’s a Montauk Madness first round matchup that has me hoping my blog audience skews more toward my sensibility than popular consensus. I assume R&B and pop legend Michael Jackson would take down Scottish indie act Belle & Sebastian in a poll of any significant size, by way of name recognition if nothing else.
But as much as I love the King of Pop, especially in his Off the Wall and Thriller days, I can’t give him the nod over one of my very favorite bands.
In Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, my favorite novel, the protagonist Rob Fleming is obsessed with making lists. Lists about life, love and art — mostly about art.
At one point in the book he, as a record store owner, is asked to provide his top five favorite songs for a column in a local magazine. The prospect of having one of his lists set in stone and published for all the world to see scares him to death.
I’m not sure how much I can really say about a two and a half minute instrumental track from an album of Belle and Sebastian b-sides.
This song has that familiar surf rock sound, which I like. It conjures up a modern western vibe, memorably tapped into by Quentin Tarantino in Pulp Fiction.