RIYL: Belle & Sebastian

January 15, 2015
photo: Belle & Sebastian

Across nearly two decades and eight critically adored albums, Scottish band Belle & Sebastian has placed itself at the upper echelon of indie rock.

Of course that's not to say high society is a suitable label for the group: song subjects range from licking public railings to smooching in the staircase during English class to racist taxi passengers. 

The literate and pop-sensible collective will release its ninth album "Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance" next week, but it's streaming now at NPR Music. The band's tour in support of the album will include a stop at Bonnaroo and at Red Rocks on June 17.

If you're a Belle & Sebastian fan, here are some artists we recommend:

The Vaselines

These fellow Scots undoubtedly influenced B&S' lyrical irreverence and knack for pop melodies. The most important lesson a band can take from the Vaselines, however, is to always have fun with music.

Jens Lekman

Mr. Lekman is one of many Swedish exports to master the craft of indie pop, albeit on his own, slightly off-kilter terms. With themes of unrequited, confused or just plain old-fashioned love, Lekman's music hits home for a generation of hopeless romantics.

The Radio Dept.

This Swedish group's output has been sparse in its 20-year history, but that only renders its swimmingly charming synth-pop a sweeter delicacy.

Black Tambourine

Black Tambourine, like Belle & Sebastian, are often lumped into the unfortunately-named genre of "twee pop," characterized by wimpiness or childishness (it doesn't help that the latter band's name comes from a French book/TV series for kids).  

In reality, both are potent rock bands. Unfortunately, Black Tambourine only recorded ten noisey original songs in its brief but notable history.