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Belle and Sebastian

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Glasgow, United Kingdom (1996 – present)

Belle and Sebastian is a band from Glasgow. Led by guitarist/vocalist Stuart Murdoch, the seven-piece band has an , sound that is equal parts and ‘. Murdoch has a gift not only for whimsy and surrealism, but also for odd, unsettling lyrical detail which keeps the songs grounded in a tangible reality.

Based in Glasgow, Scotland, Belle and Sebastian released their first two albums in 1996: Tigermilk, recorded over three days, and If You’re Feeling Sinister, recorded in a week, at the peak of the movement. At first, some critics in Britain’s music weeklies tied the band into the subgenre, yet the group was too pretty, too delicate, to bear that label. Through their first two years of public existence, the band shielded their personalities, submitting publicity photos featuring a girl, who was a friend of the band and reluctantly posing for photo shoots. Furthermore, they performed in odd venues, playing not only the standard coffeehouses and cafes, but also homes, church halls, and libraries.

Prior to the formation of Belle and Sebastian, Murdoch suffered from a protracted battle with chronic fatigue syndrome, which forced him to drop out of school and spend seven years living in his parents’ home crippled by his condition.Whilst in his parents home, Murdoch wrote a short story about a boy named Sebastian and a girl named Isabelle based on the names from Madame Cecile Aubery’s children’s book Belle et Sebastian.

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