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.
Belle and Sebastian: 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.
Belle and Sebastian: 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.