Various Artists - Late Night Tales: Belle and Sebastian Volume 2
Belle and Sebastian are in a very different place now than they were when they compiled their first Late Night Tales compilation back in 2006. They were undoubtedly established back then, but today they are superstars - back in those days, they were the darlings of music fanatics. Particularly in movie soundtracks, where they've become a sort of go-to band for a solid indie track - I can name 500 Days of Summer, Juno and Forgetting Sarah Marshall off the top of my head. Their first mix was a master class in obscurity, blending together a range of seemingly incompatible genres from rock to afropop and from jazz to reggae. Question is, have the band's tastes changed as much as their fame in the past six years?
The good news is, their tastes are still as eclectic as ever. Ethio-jazz courtesy of Mulatu Astatke is followed immediately by the acoustic stylings of Brazilian duo Milton Nascimento & Lô Borges. ‘Still Sound' by Toro Y Moi (one of the breakthrough acts of last few years) leads on from the laidback 60's groove of ‘L.S.D Partie' by Roland Vincent. In short, Belle and Sebastian's multitudinous influences are as varied as ever.
Whereas this makes for thoroughly interesting listening, it's difficult to say whether or not this works as a whole. Obviously, given the standard established by previous Late Night Tales mixes, this music made for the dark- the kind of CD you'd put on when you're lying awake late at night. The kind of music that would pique your interest whilst still being conducive to sleep. Some of the songs fit the bill perfectly- I myself have been lulled to sleep by Broadcast many times, and Belle and Sebastian's cover of 'Crash' is suitably delicate and laidback. Ce'cile's 'Rude Bwoy Thug Life', whilst being a great track in itself (I personally love the use of a sample by The Cure) seems kind of jarring when following on immediately from Toro Y Moi. Whilst it's great to dance to, if you were listening to this music whilst chilling out in the middle of the night, this is definitely a track that would stir you from a state of semi-consciousness. Whilst I would say at points that this mix seems to be suffering from an identity crisis, most of the tracks that are on it are carefully-picked and wholly enjoyable, if perhaps a slightly strange blend. If you're a rabid Belle and Sebastian fan such as myself I would advise picking this one up- if not for the great tracks, then simply to glimpse the music tastes of one of the most-loved bands of our generation.
Purchase and listen
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Serving as a collection of rarities, remixes, B-sides and the like from their last three LPs, Third Eye Centre is like a bag of pick and mix that a stranger has picked for you, and you're eating it blindfolded, but with most of the liquorice removed (because we all know liquorice is crap). [read more]
I was sceptical about seeing Belle and Sebastian in such a big venue. My ticket, which I was lucky enough to get for free from someone who couldn't go because of the snow in Dublin, was for the upper balcony. Surely the intimate, personal kind of feeling you'd hope for from a Belle and Sebastian show couldn't possibly work in a fully seated venue that actually has an upper and a lower balcony? But it worked, most of the time at least. I managed to swap my ticket for one in the third row (some... [read more]
This modern day Mamas and Papas Glaswegian based band have stuck to their guns and created yet another number which can be added to their long list of pleasantly poppy and perfectly romantic tracks. Like any other of their songs, 'I Want The World To Stop' will most definitely make you want to grab your significant other by the hands and swing each other round in a flowery meadow, shaking yourself free from the manacles under the blistering summer sun. However, says the pivotal conjunctio... [read more]