33 1/3 Part 26


Belle and Sebastian -‘If You’re Feeling Sinister’ (Jeepster, 1996)

I once told a (perhaps understandably rather incredulous) member of Aberfeldy that Belle & Sebastian were one of the reasons I moved to Scotland. An overstatement? Well, not much of one, and it served as an important introduction for the band for me.

I hadn’t heard Tigermilk when this came out, towards the end of my first term at University. Not many copies of the 1,000 pressed had made it down to London, so when a friend at university played this for me, I was somewhat hooked. Thanks for that, Ben.

I recorded, and and took it home for the winter holidays. During that holidays I took my brother to his first gig (The Cure –quelle surprise), but the musical memory of this time is listening to this album almost on repeat. I’d heard twee-pop before in many guises, but coming at a time when the musical goliaths, for better or worse, were Britpop, The Spice Girls, and drum’n’bass, this was something totally different.

I fell hook, line and sinker for them.I’ve bought pretty much every single, EP and album as they have come out, even if it took me a while to see them live. On a visit to Scotland in 2000, I was briefly introduced to guitarist Stevie Jackson in Fopp on Byres Road, which is there to this day (the shop, not Stevie Jackson). A couple of years later I was even privileged to go round to his flat with a mutual friend 9thanks Sandy!), where he played me a track from the then-forthcoming Storytelling LP ‘Fuck this Shit.’ And awed as I was, I even managed not to make an idiot of myself. The only thing that disappointed me was that the stories on the sleeves of the back of the records weren’t true (!).

THe occasion when I did make an idiot of myself involved the drummer in a bar in Glasgow in 2004. Several pints down, having been introudced by the same mutual friend (and chatted up the woman who’d directed The Delgados’ ‘No Danger’ video) I took it upon myself to raise something with the drummer. ”ere, that track on your new album [‘Stay Loose’ from Dear Catastrophe Waitress], are you f**in’ takin’ the PISS out of Elvis Costello or what?’ Sorry mate. I gave up drinking a few years later.

This is just a gorgeous, gorgeous album. There others have been great, too, but this is the one for me. And is it any worse to move to another place for a band than a girl (or boy))?

Belle and Sebastian -‘The Stars Of Track And Field.’ mp3

Belle and Sebastian -‘Fox In the Snow.’ mp3

Belle & Sebastian

A musical…no wait, come back!


The musical in some forms is absolutely great. Think Guys and Dolls, High Society, Annie Get Your Gun…and try not to think about certain people who have ruined it. Or bands whose publishers have made the bizarre suggestion that a flimsy plot could serve as a link for their greatest hits…it’s happened too many times. I’ve not seen any of these, with the exception of the film version of Mamma Mia. (I have also never burnt in hell for eternity, been to see Celine Dion in concert or been bitten by a poisonous snake, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to).

When I heard that Belle and Sebastian were writing a musical, I was slightly cynical, though I suppose there are all sorts of fun that could be spent conjuring up what it might be called and what the plot might be…fey indie boy ignored by girl with cutesy hairgrips around Glasgow’s West End?

But God Help The Girl is not a musical of Belle and Sebastian songs. Rather, it’s a story set to music. Stuart Murdoch, the band’s mainman started writing songs whilst touring Dear Catastrophe Waitress and found that he was writing songs that he couldn’t envisage singing with the band…you can read all about it here. He is still writing the script but he has recruited most of the cast and recorded the soundtrack album.

So…the album will be out in June, and this track is available as a free download:

God Help The Girl -‘Come Monday Night.’ mp3

This is really gorgeous.

…and this is footage of Stuart talking about the record:

Please let me know what you think…

Great scottish bands #3: Belle and Sebastian

A third great scottish band (there is no order to this, neither alphabetical nor greatness, just how highly I rate them).

Belle and Sebastian first entered my world in 1996 when a friend at university leant me their second album If You’re Feeling Sinister. Their debut, Tigermilk, had already been released earlier that year and was already as rare as hens’ teeth. One of my proudest claims to fame is going round to one of the band’s flats for a cup of herbal tea, and actualy managing to play it cool. One of my more embarassing moments was drunkenly yelling at one member of the band in a pub in Glasgow two years later: ‘ ‘ere, that track [‘Stay Loose,’ off Dear Catastrophe Waitress], are you taking the piss out of Elvis Costello or what?!?!’ (Just for the record, I no longer drink). It would be an exaggeration to say that they were one of the reasons moved to Scotland in 2001, but not that much.

Anyway, there’s lots of Belle and Sebastian that I could point to as to why they are one of the great scottish bands, but as I was asked to re-post the two belle and Sebastian sessions I posted earlier this year, why not these?

From May 11, 2001:

‘Shoot The Sexual Athlete.’mp3
‘The Magic Of A Kind Word (For Papa John).’ mp3
‘Nothing In The Silence.’ mp3
‘(My Girl’s Got) Miraculous Technique.’ mp3

And from July 25, 2002 (Live at Peel Acres):

‘You Don’t Send Me.’ mp3
‘Roy Walker.’ mp3
‘Love On The March.’ mp3
‘Sleep On A Sunbeam.’ mp3
‘Desperation Made A Fool Of Me.’ mp3

Belle and Sebastian’s official sites are here

Their MySpace is here

Thanks to all those who sent me the mp3s originally, especially David and Ray.

It may be a Monday…but it’s warm and I’m on holiday

Oh yes, oh yay.

So, why the picture of the hawk at the top of the page?

Well, that is the cover art for the new album from Mogwai which will be out on the fourth week of september (I can’t wait!). This track, ‘The Sun Smells Too Loud’ is taken from the Matador web page. This is track is playing as I write. I know it may well have been doing the rounds of the blogs for the last few weeks, but I hadn’t heard it, so I guess there’s a chance that you may not have done either. It’s already on the best of 2008 playlist on my iPod, and I bet John Peel would have loved it had he been here. *Sigh* This song is actually quite summery -and I mean that as a compliment.

Mogwai -‘The Sun Smells Too Loud.’ mp3

Meanwhile, before I went away on holiday, I was emailed this rather fine remix of my favourite M.I.A. track. As long-term listeners should know, I think this woman is cool as, and I think this remix rocks too. (Just in case you care, the original is the second on my car tape, sandwiched between Sons & Daughters and Pavement.)

M.I.A. -‘Bucky Done Gun (Tenzin remix).’ mp3

Meanwhile, having posted the Arcade Fire version of this song yesterday, thanks to David for emailing me the Belle and Sebastian version. It’s cool too. My French isn’t sufficiently up to speed to be able to pick any holes in this. Just enjoy it for what it is…

Belle & Sebastian -‘Poupee De Cire.’ mp3

Finally, I know next to nothing about this track, but it’s a quality dance tune, with hints of Cut Copy, Silicone Soul and New Order -any ideas?

Ready Aim Fire -‘So Fine.’ mp3

Hope you’re having a good day, wherever you may be…

Some more covers for you all

Well, I know these have been posted before, but I figure that you might like to hear these if you haven’t before…

First up, my support of Lightspeed Champion this year annoyed a few folks, but I stand by it, especially when he does covers as good as these…

Lightspeed Champion -Back To Black (Amy Winehouse cover).’ mp3

Lightspeed Champion -‘Xanadu (Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra cover).’ mp3

Endearingly shambolic, and a wonderful version:

Raincoats -‘Lola (The Kinks cover).’ mp3

I was passed this cover by the record company, proof that some record companies areaware of the support provided by blogs.

Alabama 3 -‘Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division cover).’ mp3

Another cover of a post-punk era song:

Belle and Sebastian -‘Final Day (Young Marble Giants cover).’ mp3

I spent ages trying to track this down. Cheers to Steve at Teenage Kicks, hope your blog is up and running again soon, mate!

Cud -‘You Sexy Thing (Hot Chocolate cover).’ mp3

Proof that great songs DO get to no.1, Rihanna’s Umbrella topped the UK charts last year for ten weeks, spawning these two covers. If anyone has an mp3 of her collaborating with the Klaxons doing a mash-up of ‘Umbrella’ and ‘Golden Skans’ please email me and I will post it here.

Biffy Clyro -‘Umbrella (Rihanna cover).’ mp3

Manic Street Preachers -‘Umbrella (Rihanna cover).’ mp3

The greatest ever Scots band take on one of America’s greatest bands, and do them justice.

Delgados -‘California Uber Alles (Dead Kennedys cover).’ mp3

There are apparently folk who do not like this cover. They are idiots. That is a fact, not an opinion:

Slits -‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine(Marvin Gaye cover).’ mp3

Peel Session: Belle and Sebastian part 2

This session was recorded in 2001. Many thanks to the kind readers who sent this in.

As far as I can tell, these tracks are unavailable elsewhere -they are certainly not listed at iTunes (yes, alright, clever clogs, I know that’s not the final word but it’s pretty comprehensive, in the UK, generally speaking).

Belle and Sebastian -‘Shoot The Sexual Athlete (Peel Session).’ mp3

Belle and Sebastian -‘The Magic Of A Kind Word (Peel Session).’ mp3

Belle and Sebastian -‘Nothing In The Silence (Peel session).’ mp3

Belle and Sebastian -‘(My Girl’s Got) Miraculous Technique (Peel Session).’ mp3

Belle and Sebastian official sites (sic!)/Belle and Sebastian mySpace

Thanks to everyone who has sent me stuff over the last few days much appreciated. Bear with me as I try to put it into coherent(ish!) posts…

Peel Session: Belle and Sebastian

For once, this was a session I did tape, but don’t have the technology to edit from cassette to mp3 yet. But thanks to everyone who sent this in, especially David and Ray.

You Don’t Send Me (2002 Festive Fifty no.20)

Roy Walker

Love On The March

Asleep On A Sunbeam

Desperation Made A Fool Of Me

For more about this session, check here.

There is much more to come, including their session from 2001. Watch this space…

Oh, can anyone help with the Anti-Hero tracks ‘Rolling Stones t-shirt’ and ‘You Got Nothing’ If so, please get in touch.

Belle and Sebastian’s official website

More Festive Fifty Fabulousness

Just as it says on the tin.

PJ Harvey -‘Naked Cousin (Peel Session).’ mp3 (1993 Festive Fifty no.32)

PJ Harvey -‘Wang Dang Doodle (Peel session).’ mp3 (1993 Festive Fifty no.18)

That Petrol Emotion -‘Big Decision.’ mp3 (1987 Festive Fifty no.4)

Gene -‘As Good As It Gets.’ mp3 (1999 Festive Fifty no.33)

Madder Rose -‘Beautiful John.’ mp3 (1993 Festive Fifty no.36)

Madder Rose -‘Lights Go Down.’ mp3 (1993 Festive fifty no.44)

Dinosaur Jr -‘Get Me.’ mp3 (1993 Festive fifty no.42)

Belle And Sebastian -‘Sleep The Clock Around.’ mp3 (1998 Festive Fifty no.26)

Belle and Sebastian -‘The Boy With The Arab Strap.’ mp3 (1998 Festive Fifty no.3)

House of Love -‘Love In A Car.’ mp3 (1988 Festive Fifty no.18)

If you like the PJ Harvey stuff particularly (and you should) check out Teenage Kicks has done another excellent post.

Hope you like this one it has taken several days work…

Some Covers For Sunday I

Well, yesterday’s covers post seemed to have been a hit and I thought I’d repost some tracks I’d been asked to, as well as a few I haven’t posted here before.

Belle and Sebastian -‘Final Day (Young Marble Giants).’ mp3

Jeff Buckley -‘Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover).’ mp3

Breeders -‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun (The Beatles cover).’ mp3

CSS – ‘One Way Or Another (Blondie cover).’ mp3

Pop Will Eat Itself -‘Games Without Frontiers (Peter Gabriel cover).’ mp3

Sia -‘I Go To Sleep (The Kinks cover).’ mp3

Raincoats -‘Lola (The Kinks cover).’ mp3

Slits -‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine (Marvin Gaye cover).’

Schneider TM -‘The Light 3000 (cover of The Smiths There Is A Light That Never Goes Out).’ mp3

This Mortal Coil -‘Song To the Siren (Tim Buckley cover).’ mp3

For what it’s worth, I genuinely hold The Slits, Schneider TM, The Raincoats, This Mortal Coil and Jeff Buckley to be amongst the finest cover versions ever done. In the unlikely event of any list of best ever cover versions NOT including these, I think I would have to have a word. They reinvent the songs concerned, and that’s what a cover version should do.