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It’s hard to describe a Belle & Sebastian show without first describing—or attempting to describe—what exactly Belle & Sebastian mean to us. What makes Belle & Sebastian so special?
There are plenty of reasons to like a band. They might write catchy melodies, or great lyrics, or boast a really great stage show. None of these are the reason we love Belle & Sebastian, although all of these are certainly true about Belle & Sebastian. No, our love for Belle & Sebastian goes deeper. It’s the way they just seem to get us—the smart, the quirky, the maybe a little dorky, the cynical, the wandering, the artists. It’s the way they seem to effortlessly capture every emotion we’ve ever felt, from gleeful zest to detached nostalgia, while still providing something we can nod along to. They’ve been there for us since we were much younger, and as time has passed and other bands have faded to obscurity, they’ve grown with us, moving from tunes about awkward adolescence and life in the suburbs to the ennui of the workweek and the slow acceptance of always being broke. And last night at the Mann Center, they proved they’ll be sticking around quite a bit longer.
The first thing you notice when Belle & Sebastian take the stage is: there’s a lot of them. Continue reading →
First up tonight is the incredible double header of Belle and Sebastian and Yo La Tengo. The Glasgow band Belle and Sebastian have been making beautiful indie pop since the 90s and they’re releasing an album of rarities and B-sides this August. But before they do that, they’re going on a huge tour, including a stop at The Mann Center. And joining them is another legendary group Yo La Tengo. Bouncing from genre to genre and covering numerous songs along the way, Yo La Tengo have been making music their way since the 80s and just released an incredible new album, Fade, in January. Tonight you can catch both groups at The Mann Center.
Any news from Belle and Sebastian is a great way to start the day. The Scottish indie-pop septet, which makes its first Philadelphia appearance since 2006 at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts next week, just announced the release of a new compilation album to go with the tour. The Third Eye Centre, out August 27th on Matador Records, will gather the band’s b-sides and rarities from the past ten years; think of it as an aughties companion to the great Push Barman to Open Old Wounds comp. This is sweet news, since the band is well known for having deep cuts that are equally good as (and often better than) its featured album tracks. Among the mix is a new remix of “Your Cover’s Blown,” a groovy disco-funk cut from the band’s 2004 Books EP, redone by Glasgow dance-rock dude Miaoux Miaoux. Listen to it below, check out the tracklist after the jump, and get tickets and information on the July 10th show at the Mann Center’s website.
Although Belle and Sebastian haven’t released a new album since 2010′s Belle and Sebastian Write About Love, the group is touring this summer and will make a stop at The Mann Center Wednesday July 10th with Yo La Tengo. It’s their first Philly show since that album was released – and since they played the Electric Factory with New Pornographers in 2006 – and while their lovely orchestral folk-pop sound isn’t something you want to miss, the group has a little surprise in store. After their performance at The Mann, members of the band will be DJing an after party at The Dolphin Tavern from 10 p.m. to 2. (Note: while it hasn’t been announced who from the band is DJing keyboardist Chris Geddes spun at the R.U.B.A. Club in Northern Liberties after their 2002 show at The Tower. – ed.) For more information about the set, click here and below you can watch “I Want The World To Stop” off their most recent album.
Belle and Sebastian and Yo La Tengo are playing the Skyline Stage at The Mann on July 10th. Yo La recently played a Free At Noon and were on World Cafe with David Dye. Listen to the Cafe session here. Ticket info coming soon. Below, watch the Pitchfork TV special about the making of Belle and Sebastian’s classic album, If You’re Feeling Sinister.
[UPDATE 5/3/12: Click HERE to stream our session with Stevie Jackson!] A couple weeks ago, Belle and Sebastian’s Stevie Jackson brought his solo acoustic tour to Philadelphia for an intimate, sold-out performance in the Joseph Priestly Chapel at the First Unitarian Church. The next morning, he and his guitar paid a visit to WXPN studios. The resulting session and interview with Eric Schuman will air on XPN2 tomorrow, but you can get a taste now with three videos of the performance.
There’s “Try Me,” a peppy number from the recent LP I Can’t Get No Stevie Jackson; “I Follow The Moonglade,” a new song from Paper Laced With Gold, Jackson’s upcoming theatrical production written in collaboration with lyricist Maggie MacDonald of The Hidden Cameras; and a delightful rendition of the Belle and Sebastian classic “Seymour Stein.”
Watch the videos below, and tune in to XPN2 tomorrow at 3 p.m. for the entire session, and to hear Stevie and Eric discuss new and inventive approaches to songwriting, the craft behind Belle & Sebastian’s cover versions of songs, and the way Jackson felt like Elton John when writing music for MacDonald’s play.
More than four and a half years have passed between Belle And Sebastian‘s 2006 album The Life Pursuit and the brand-new Write About Love, which probably explains why so many eager fans and critics were ready to heap praise on the album before it even hit the shelves. Then again, many other Belle And Sebastian fans might say that the indie-pop ensemble’s music hasn’t quite been up to snuff since the departure of cellist/vocalist Isobel Campbell during the band’s 2002 national tour. After splitting ways with Stuart Murdoch and his merry band of twee musicians, Campbell raised a few eyebrows by pairing up with world-weary rocker Mark Lanegan; the unlikely pairing, however, has produced three well-received albums since then, including this year’s Hawk. The new record—released in August by V2 Records—finds Campbell in full control of the reins, and alternatively infusing the band’s stripped-down Americana with elements of folk, country, and blues. Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan perform with Willy Mason at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $15-$17.