There was a time when the fey boys and girls of Belle and Sebastian would barely venture out of doors to deliver each new delicately crafted EP of acoustic introspection, let alone indulge in such rock star excesses as appearing in their own photo shoots or playing live. Just look at them now: One minute they're turning their fragile masterpiece, "If You're Feeling Sinister," into a fully orchestrated, live extravaganza, the next they're treating new album "The Life Pursuit" to a major (by their standards) promotional blitz, with world tours, interviews and even a Belle and Sebastian comic book in the works, as Pitchfork reports. Frontman Stuart Murdoch talks to the Onion, here, about topics such as working with new producer Tony Hoffer: "He promised to get tough with the songs and lay into them a bit more, which really appealed to the rest of the group, because I think quite often they're too shy to say anything to me"; and the fine art of selecting an album running order: "I mean, basically, compiling one of our LPs is like making a compilation tape, except with a more shitty selection." AOL is streaming "The Life Pursuit" here. (Via Chromewaves)
The NME Shockwaves Tour is an annual, 'round-Britain concert package of four hot, up-and-coming young bands: Alumni include such famous names as Franz Ferdinand (bottom of the bill in 2004), Coldplay (first on in 2000) and some other, lesser lights (Llama Farmers, anyone?). This year's bunch includes the all-conquering Arctic Monkeys, but also New York's own We Are Scientists, whom NME has wisely assigned to write a tour blog. Weird and wonderful highlights include bass player Chris Cain's theories on the latest drug arrest and imprisonment of Pete Doherty (here spelled Dougherty, for some reason): "Get ready for a bloodbath -- Pete Dougherty is a werewolf who uses opium to suppress The Change; now that he's off the junk, he's going to put his spiny claws all over the insides of half a dozen fellow prisoners once a month Congratulations, British Law: you've put an innocent manwolf behind bars."
Just in case Wednesday's Coachella posting didn't whet your appetite for live music enough, Oh My Rockness has news of all the label showcases and parties at the South by Southwest Festival this March. And finally, Gawker reveals an illuminating correction made to a report on a new ABC television pilot inspired, or not, by the life of Elton John: "In paragraph 2, please read, 'The project revolves around a fictitious, popular rock star ...' instead of 'The project revolves around an over-the-hill gay rock star.'"
-- Matt Glazebrook