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Belle and Sebastian are a Glaswegian indie band, known for their wistful, intellectual lyrics and melodic style and often compared to musicians such as Nick Drake and bands such as The Smiths. Many believe that they are the definitive sound of modern indie folk in Scotland. They formed in 1996, taking their name from the French children's book, Belle et Sébastien. Their sound is considered to be unusual and distinctive, and it has inspired a loyal following, although the band has never sought widespread commercial success and has in fact often shunned excess media coverage, preferring to keep their music "real" and aimed at the band's often passionate fan base.
Originally signed to Jeepster Records, the band released a number of albums before signing with Rough Trade Records in the UK and Matador Records for their US audience. Their discography includes the studio albums, Tigermilk, famous for being recorded in only three days, and If You're Feeling Sinister. They were both released in 1996, with the well known Boy with the Arab Strap released in 1998, Storytelling in 2002, The Life Pursuit in 2006, and Belle and Sebastian Write About Love in 2010. The band have also appeared on various compilation albums and live albums.
Belle and Sebastian's original band line-up has changed over time. It was originally formed by Stuart David and Stuart Murdoch, and Stevie Jackson, Chris Geddes, Isobel Campbell and Richard Colburn were recruited later. Their album, If You're Feeling Sinister, released in 1996, is generally considered to be their finest. They have enjoyed a top 40 single with The Lazy Line Painter Jane EP, and released BBC sessions featuring their chosen tracks from 1996 to 2001. The eighth album was Belle and Sebastian Write about Love, released in 2010, which reached number eight in the UK album charts.
The band has received a number of award nominations, including the BRIT Awards' Best Newcomer, an Ivor Novello and the Mercury Music Prize. They also hosted their own music festival, the Bowlie Weekender, and were voted the Greatest Scottish Band by The List in 2005. Their music has appeared in a range of films, and they have toured throughout the UK, Europe and America. One particularly notable show was at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in front of a sell-out crowd of 18,000. Band members also worked to compile a CD collection of fresh children's songs along with a range of artists, including the Flaming Lips and Franz Ferdinand in 2006.