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You'll never find this band on the covers of all magazines, because they don't talk a lot to the press. You want to be a roadie? Don't pick this band, because they don't perform very often.

Still Belle and Sebastian is widely appreciated by thousands of fans. And that's because they make this touching beautiful music. It's just like they re-invented the pop song the way it was meant to be.

Most of the lyrics are about people's lives. Writer/singer Stuart Murdoch has also written a few small books. The people he writes about are all dealing with the bad things in live:
A blind girl, Jane who's sleeping in the streets.
An anarchist who tried his best, but it wasn't good enough.
You're going to pay for looking at the floor when people talk to you'
You can find all these poetic lyrics at the best Belle and Sebastian around: the one on Jeepster Recordings.

But don't expect just sad music. Oh the irony, but most of the Belle and Sebastian songs sound very happy. It's astonishing to hear the jolly guitar tune, Christmas bells, flutes, Mexican trumpets. Can't help smiling when you hear such a happy tune when Stuart sings "get me away from here I'm dying".

It all started in 1996 when these Scottish musicians decided to release the Tigermilk album as part of Murdoch's course at Stow College. Just 1000 copies and all released on vinyl. Maybe the best debut ever. Of course all of these copies are sold, and now worth a lot of money (about 300). Recently there was an auction with just one copy of an Tigermilk LP with the autographs of the band members. They sold it for 810 and the gain was in welfare of the cancer ward of Glasgow's Gartnavel Hospital. Jeepster Recordings has announced to re-release the Tigermilk album because of the big number of circulating bootlegs. Owners of the Tigermilk EP (lucky bastards:) can register at http://www.ph.ed.ac.uk/~mitchell/sinister/tigermilks.html

Sarah Martin joined the band and Belle and Sebastian released 'If you're feeling sinister' (November 1996). Their breakthrough towards a bigger British audience. The bandmembers refuse to release a single of this album, because they think you can't hear one 'Sinister' song without the others. But they do release 3 EP's with 4 new songs each. The 'Dog on Wheels EP' even enters the English charts.

In Holland, the amount of music lovers who know Belle and Sebastian is very small. Before the release of the last full-length album, only 270 copies of 'If you're feeling sinister' are sold. But after the release of this album called 'The boy with the arab strap' (Arab strap's Aidan Moffat is a friend of the group, and mentioned them in his song 'I Saw You'), Holland and the rest of Europe (and also a certain US scene) couldn't refrain from the addiction called Belle and Sebastian anymore. Maybe it's because the modern sound of songs like 'Sleep the clock around', 'Dirty Dream #2' (including orchestra) and title-song 'The boy with the arab strap'. They also toured for about 6 weeks and really made a good impression with their striking pure performance of their songs. They don't play very loud so the audience has to be totally quiet to hear the tunes come their way. Tunes that sound like nothing else and make you fall in love all over again.

The latest release is the 'This is just a modern rock song EP'. The title song was also played at the legendary second Mark Radcliffe session. Right now the Belle and Sebastian artists are making music again. And that's the thing they like to do most. The new album is expected to be released in the forthcoming summer and will be introduced by a new single.

You can vote for your favourite Belle and Sebastian song and album at http://www.geocities.com/Sunsetstrip/Venue/9029 and if you want to join the Sinister mailinglist you should go to http://www.ph.ed.ac.uk/~Emitchell/sinister/ (note the funny drawings!!).
You can also vote for Belle and Sebastian as the best newcomer in the Brit Awards.
Listen to the tracks 'It could have been a brilliant career', 'Sleep the clock around' and 'This Is Just A Modern Rocksong' in RealAudio from 3voor12.

'He doesn't understand and he doesn't try
He knows there's something missing and he knows it's you and I
We're the younger generation, we grew up fast
All the others did drugs. They're taking it out on us'

(Belle and Sebastian - Me and the major)

By Norbert