Selected by Dan
Belle and Sebastian
Theyd rather be jamming...
For such a notoriously publicity-shy
band, Scotlands Belle and Sebastian certainly have created a buzz. For two nights in
November, Tokyo audiences will get their first chance to see what all the fuss is about.
Formed at an all-night cafEin Glasgow in 1996, Belle and Sebastian were not named for
members of the band, but instead for a cult 60s television show. The band centered
around songwriter Stuart Murdoch (vocals/guitar/piano) and Stuart David (bass), until
David left last year to launch his solo project, Looper.
Within months of forming, Belle and Sebastian had generated a word-of-mouth buzz that had
them packing in the hometown crowds. But despite their surging popularity (or perhaps
because if it), they adopted a policy of refusing to release photographs or personal
information about the band. And, since a disastrous 1997 NME interview, it would seem they
havent subjected themselves to any sort of press inquisition either.
Instead, Belle and Sebastian have opted to let their music do the talking, a sensible
approach given the depth and richness of their dark, quirky. string-based soul. Releasing
their first, mail order-only album, Tigermilk, in 1996, the band signed to independent
London label Jeepster Records for three subsequent 1997 EPs, Dog On Wheels, Lazy Line
Painter Jane and 3
Seconds of Light.
At this point, they filled out the band-now a sextet featuring a violinist and
cellist-with the addition of trumpeter Mick Cooke. They also secured distribution in North
America, signing with Matador for 1998s full-length, The Boy With The Arab Strap.
The album went on to earn Belle and Sebastian a BRIT award for Best British Newcomer,
paving the way for the overwhelming success of their 2000 release, Fold Your Hands Child,
You Walk Like A Peasant. Meanwhile, bassist Stuart David left the band to launch his own
In the latest news, Belle and Sebastian have scored the soundtrack to a new film,
Storytelling, directed by Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Dollhouse) and due out this fall.
The soundtrack is to be released by Jeepster in the UK and Matador in the US. In Japan,
Belle and Sebastian are distributed by German independent label !K7.
Belle and Sebastian
play Akasaka Blitz on Nov 14-15..See listings for details.