Artists inspiring other artists: Belle and Sebastian

"Ooh baby, this grass makes me feel so... inspirational. Why don't we go back to my place and work on generating some creative input?"

There are certain people that bring out your most creative side.

The side that busts out the kindergarten craft supplies or decides to whip up a quick rosée sauce, or decides to paint the living room couch with abstract flower patterns (fact: my grandmother did this a lot).

These people are crucial for bringing out the things we don’t usually get to express in our day-to-day lives.

Many people have jobs that are rather stifling in terms of imaginative output, so it’s important to find someone who brings out the weirdest, wackiest side of your personality just to balance things out.

And hey, musicians need inspiration too. Today’s spotlight is directed at Glasgwegian chamber pop seven-piece Belle and Sebastian, who took inspiration in the classic guitar licks of Thin Lizzy and wound up inspiring Mates of State and The Avalanches.

Sleep The Clock AroundBelle and Sebastian

The originalBelle and Sebastian from The Boy With The Arab Strap, 1998

The coverMates of State from Crushes (The Covers Mixtape), 2010

The cover and the original don’t sound too different, though the Mates of State’s version is certainly livelier. There’s a stronger female harmonization, undoubtedly attributable to the powerful voice of Kori Gardner, which completely upstages the shadowy, breathy vocals of Belle and Sebastian’s Sarah Martin.

Onto the next! Up next we have another Belle and Sebastian original followed by a remix executed by the most unlikely of remixers: The Avalanches!

I’m A Cuckoo by Belle and Sebastian

The original – Belle and Sebastian from Dear Catastrophe Waitress, 2004

Fun fact: the guitar samples used in this track were taken from The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy, and you can hear Belle and Sebastian mention them in I’m A Cuckoo’s lyrics.

The Boys Are Back In TownThin Lizzy from Jailbreak, 1976

Onto the remix.

More of a myth than a reality, The Avalanches have long whispered rumours of putting out a second album. However, just like the parent that promises ice cream if we can just be good, The Avalanches have probably deemed us all to be not good enough for another scoop of their trademark smooth, creamy, sample-rich tunes.

Ted Greenwald of Wired put out a brilliantly informative article on the production that went into this remix, and I strongly suggest that you check it out.

The remix – I’m A CuckooBelle and Sebastian (The Avalanches Remix), 2007

African pan flute and ten thousand variations of bongo? Check. Chorus of smiling tribal villagers? Check. Sunset on the horizon silhouetting a gazelle leaping past a baobob tree? Check.

So, my message to you? Find the person that inspires you and stick to them like glue.

3 thoughts on “Artists inspiring other artists: Belle and Sebastian

  1. Love the B&S post. Just reading it in time for a rainy day. Listening to your podcast (yay!) and wondering, are you keeping on with the show next year? I have no idea if you’re graduated or not, so Megan and I are curious.

    • It’s always been so nice to know that another CFMU host is out there listening to Indie-licious. And it’s even more awesome that you read MBF!

      As of this point, I’m not sure if I’ll be continuing to do the show – the airing has been a bit infrequent since May as it is – mostly because I graduated from McMaster in June. I’ll be moving back to Oshawa to live with my parents and save up some money, so it will mean that I’ll have to pre-record my show using my own equipment and email them ahead of time, which requires more preparation than I’ve been devoting so far. However, a strong part of me thinks that I should keep it up from a distance, just so that when I move back to Hamilton, I’ll still have my cherished time slot!

      What would you do if you were me?

  2. Hahaha, sorry, just finding this reply now, but while I can’t tell you what I would do if I were you (Oshawa is further than Burlington was for me), I can tell you that we spent a lot of time thinking about what we’d do with the show after we graduated. We decided to stay on as an overnight because 1) we loved having an excuse to keep on top of new music; 2) being part of the CFMU and Mac communities was important to us as Hamiltonians, and 3) overnights require a whole lot less work and worry and free up a spot for a new show during the day.

    By now we’ve got the prerecording thing down to a weekly routine, and it’s been great staying connected with Jamie and the others at CFMU (yourself included).

    if you decide to keep the show going, though, shoot me an email and let’s talk a bit–I’m hoping to promote the show/site a bit more to students this year and I thought it might be good if a bunch of the indie shows cross-promoted, and maybe we can even scam a Sil ad or two out of the station…

    Anyway, I love that you’re updating so often now, and I’m jealous about your job! Keep up the good work!

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