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Music, Feature San Francisco Love Story

San Francisco Love Story

View more photographs in Belle and Sebastian Cover Shoot: Behind the Scenes. It was January 1993 in Glasgow, and Stuart Murdoch was sick. Bedridden with chronic fatigue syndrome, the frail 24-year-old had already dropped out of university and quit working.…
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Music, Hear This Social Studies: Show Preview

Social Studies: Show Preview

Rock 'n' roll began with insolence and aggression; graduated to sophistication, melancholy, and grandiosity; and then went back again. During these cycles, the phenomenon of twee was born. Instead of confrontational, twee was comforting. Nix on rowdiness — in the…
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Calendar, Night&Day Obscura-ty


For much of its career, Camera Obscura has lived in the shadow of Belle & Sebastian. True, both bands are large Scottish ensembles based in Glasgow. Both feature girl singers who croon mournfully like '60s chanteuses Sandie Shaw and Françoise…
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Calendar, Night&Day Girl Scout

Girl Scout

It’s like if Bjork were a tomboy hick — Scout Niblett is British, but if she weren’t, she’d make a great American. Indie-rock’s scruffy goofball diva puts out raw, intense, bloozy pop songs — love songs, lots of them —…
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Calendar, Night&Day Heavenly Choir

Heavenly Choir

Certain cities have legendary and/or mythical stylistic hallmarks — say "Los Angeles" to rock fans and it's likely they'll think of Sheryl Crow, Black Flag, Warren Zevon, and/or Van Halen. Say "Chicago" and they'll think Naked Raygun, the Tortoise axis,…
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Music, If It's Not Scottish, It's Crap!

If It's Not Scottish, It's Crap!

Famous Scots actor Sean Connery once damned his cinematic alter ego James Bond. "I'd like to kill him," said Commander Connery, as his work as an actor seemed forever (in the 1960s and '70s, anyway) to be in the shadow…
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Music, Reviewed Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

"Impossibly cute" and "precious" are often derisive labels that should never be applied to a suitably fearsome rock 'n' roll band, but how else can one describe Belle & Sebastian, Stuart Murdoch's aggressively sunny school project- turned-indie sensation? On their…
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Music, Reviewed Orange Juice

Orange Juice

Without Orange Juice, Belle & Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, and Teenage Fanclub wouldn't exist. Hyperbole? Sure. But those later bands would certainly sound markedly less exciting if it weren't for the genre- (and gender-) bending post-punk soul of this seminal Scottish…
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Music, Reviewed Architecture in Helsinki

Architecture in Helsinki

Take a high school band from suburban Australia, lock it in a recording studio with records by Belle & Sebastian, Brigitte Bardot, and the Beach Boys, then give its members only sugary snacks to subsist upon, and you might come…
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Music, Reviewed Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura

Listeners shouldn't be faulted for thinking that Under Achievers Please Try Harder, the second LP from Glasgow's Camera Obscura, is some kind of Belle & Sebastian side project. Stuart Murdoch's presence hangs over the proceedings like a truant officer watching…
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Music, Reviewed Isobel Campbell

Isobel Campbell

Former Belle & Sebastian cellist Isobel Campbell has a voice like a newborn chick -- fragile and breathy and barely peeping out of its shell. On her previous two records (recorded as the Gentle Waves, when she was still involved…
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Music, Reviewed The Clientele

The Clientele

The Clientele's The Violet Hour sounds like a Beach Boys or Belle & Sebastian record played through a misty fog. Occasionally, piecemeal guitar lines drift above the haze, but for the most part, reverb-laden vocals muddle the lyrics and the…
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Music, OK Then The Hunt Is On

The Hunt Is On

Stuart Murdoch, frontman for Belle & Sebastian, likes games. The problem is that ever since he's become Mr. Belle & Sebastian, it's been harder and harder for him to play them with his fans. "When I was a fan of…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

Few things in life live up to expectations. Most events are built up so much that the reality can't possibly match the anticipation. (Et tu, George Lucas?) Occasionally, however, a happening surpasses all hopes. Remember your first kiss, how the…
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Music, Pop Philosophy

Pop Philosophy

Everything old is new again In its original inception, the Coffee Gallery was just that -- a coffeehouse and art gallery. But like many North Beach java joints of the '50s and '60s, the Grant Avenue spot became a performance…
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Music, Shine a Light

Shine a Light

The sun is setting on another unseasonably hot June day. On a quiet street in Potrero Hill, several Young Turks practice tricks on a makeshift skateboarding ramp. Nearby, a few underage smokers cheer the difficult maneuvers from beat-up couches parked…
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Best of San Francisco, Arts & Entertainment

Best Place to Read Snarky Comments About the Local Music Scene

The image of the Internet as an "information superhighway" has always been a little far-fetched, if not outright preposterous. But, if you can get past the idea of bits of knowledge zooming back and forth from brain to brain, there's…
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Music, Pop Philosophy

Pop Philosophy

Halfway between the turntable and the stage Recently there's been a lot of discussion about -- and derision of -- how "quiet is the new loud." Norwegian folk duo Kings of Convenience took the phrase for the title of their…
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Love Letters

"I know I love Jo despite all the things I hate about her. I know I love her with as much certainty as I love Belle And Sebastian." -- from Belle Lettres, a Web site of original fiction inspired by…
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