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Belle & Sebastian [rank: 3]

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The Shins

Belle & Sebastian's origins lie in Stow College in Glasgow, Scotland. Every year, Stow College's Business School chose one band to release a single on the school's record label. In 1996, they chose to debut Belle & Sebastian's Tigermilk. After their apparent first big break, the duo that comprised the band, Stuart Murdoch and Stuart David, decided to to expand the group and add four more members.

With the releases of If You're Feeling Sinister (1996) and Boy with the Arab Strap (1998), Belle & Sebastian blew up in the indie pop world, despite their attempts to keep their identities a secret (which they did by sending the media photos of their female friends rather than of themselves).

Named after a children's story by Madame Cecile Aubery, Belle & Sebastian's sound has a clear, light and youthful curiosity that feels very thematically relevant to their name's origin. Their sound is very similar to that of Camera Obscura (who, not surprisingly, were produced by Murdoch). Sometimes they seem to be teasing their listeners with ironic lyrics and silly subjects--other times they simply appear to be remaining within a rather confined indie pop box. However, they have an undeniably intriguing nature that has drawn in countless fans around the world.


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