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Video of the Moment #1344: Camera Obscura

 
By on Wednesday, 9th October 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

If you remember the good old days of Doctor Who before Eccleston, Tennant and Smith like I do, you have a fondness in your heart for those wonky, hilariously low budget special effects they used. Camera Obscura,’s latest video for ‘Troublemaker’, off this summer’s ‘Desire Lines’ album, seems to play homage to those days, including magic brooches, masked men, telepathy and pre-Twilight zombies. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p44ERc5Kks[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1293: Camera Obscura

 
By on Thursday, 15th August 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

In Camera Obscura‘s new promo video for ‘Break It to You Gently’, a push cart named Elvis goes on an adventure. You’re going to need tissues for this one. Trust me. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFTPtaQf09E[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Camera Obscura – Desire Lines

 
By on Friday, 7th June 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

Camera Obscura Desire Lines coverI’m a huge fan of Belle and Sebastian. And as a huge fan of Belle and Sebastian, I feel like I have to come clean and admit that I have been cheating on them with another Glaswegian indie-pop group who also thrive on their quaintness (quaintosity?); a band more twee than Zooey Deschanel walking a clowder of cats around the garden of her thatched cottage.

It all started in 2010 when I was eagerly awaiting Stuart Murdoch and co.’s eighth album, ‘Write About Love’. Whilst impatiently trying to find something to fill the gap whilst I awaited its release, I found Camera Obscura (or rather, Spotify Radio found them for me). Their latest release at the time, ‘My Maudlin Career’, had dropped the previous year to almost universal acclaim and I decided to see what the fuss was about. I quickly found out. With gorgeous instrumentals and precious vocals, Camera Obscura are without a doubt the closest thing there is to a female counterpart to Belle and Sebastian.

Camera Obscura are a relatively unknown band with a few relatively recognisable songs in their repertoire. ‘French Navy’, arguable one of their best tracks, has been doing the rounds on British television adverts for the past couple of years, which has done great things for their exposure.

Now three years on from my first encounter with them, ‘Desire Lines’ is to be released: the band’s fifth studio album, their first of which to have been recorded in the United States. The album continues the band’s exploration of wistful themes and again brings memories of the long summers days spent doing absolutely nothing in the sun. It’s quintessentially Camera Obscura down to a tee, something that could be its own downfall for some listeners. In other words, the band have not evolved at all since their previous effort 4 years ago. Belle and Sebastian have managed to remain fresh since their first album nearly 20 years ago, something that Camera Obscura have failed to replicate with ‘Desire Lines’. With the exception of a couple of tracks, the album throws the usual catchy, summer pop tunes at you in abundance.

One of the standout tracks on the LP has to be ‘Cri de Coeur’, which my GCSE in French can tell you is roughly translated as ‘Cry of the Heart.’ Down tempo and sentimental, lead singer Tracyanne Campbell truly sings a tale from the ‘coeur’. It’s a welcome turn away from the usual upbeat pop songs that dominate Camera Obscura albums and the hypnotic percussion makes the song almost like a lullaby. (Note to self – business idea: Have Camera Obscura release an album of children’s lullabies. That would sell.)

On the subject of vocals, it would be hard to review ‘Desire Lines’ without paying great compliment to Tracyanne Campbell’s sweet pipes. They carry a sentimental and wistful tone that is without a doubt Deschanel-esque, (even if the band were around even before the world caught Zooey Fever). In fact, the entire album could have been a She and Him album without the Him. Coincidentally, the bands will be touring together for a string of dates this year in the United States.

Campbell’s crooning takes a back seat on ‘New Year’s Resolution’, instead the lead guitar riff takes the centre stage and it works perfectly. Playing almost like a duet between the guitar and vocals, it is a refreshing change to hear the rest of the band take the limelight. Although a great song, the smooth Fleetwood Mac-like track transitions awkwardly into the next song ‘Do It Again’. Any soothing feeling caused by the former tune quickly evaporates and you are once again taken to the usual happy-go-lucky pop song that we expect from the band.

Overall, the Glaswegians-that-aren’t-Belle-and-Sebastian have released a great summer album. While it’s an album that won’t break boundaries in the indie-pop game (and doesn’t even break boundaries for Campbell and co.), it is nonetheless a great listen.

7/10

Camera Obscura’s ‘Desire Lines’ is out now on 4AD.

 

MP3 of the Day #754: Camera Obscura

 
By on Friday, 31st May 2013 at 10:00 am
 

Traceyanne Campbell and her Camera Obscura‘s last album ‘My Maudlin Career’ was released in 2009. It feels like ages since we’ve had new material from them, but the wait is over. On Monday 3 June, they release ‘Desire Lines’ on 4AD. From the press shot above, it looks like they’ve changed keyboardists, and I’ve not gotten a chance to preview the new album, so I’m wondering what other changes are in store for us on the new release…

In the meantime though, you can download super catchy album track ‘Do It Again’ in exchange for your email address in the widget below, because Camera Obscura are such good people to offer it up for free. It’ll remind you of ‘Honey in the Sun’, just minus the horns.

 

MP3(s) of the Day #424: Frightened Rabbit

 
By on Friday, 21st October 2011 at 10:00 am
 

Frightened Rabbit are offering up a 3-track self-titled EP for free. Get it here. The EP will be available in limited quantities on vinyl from their label Fat Cat on the 31st of October.

One of my favourite female voices in music today, Traceyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura is a guest vocalist on the song ‘Fuck This Place’, which is a fab, harmonious cacophony (you have to hear it to understand this comment). If you want to read more on what Scott Hutchison has to say about each track, Drowned in Sound has a lovely piece on it here.

 

Best Gigs of 2009

 
By on Thursday, 17th December 2009 at 2:00 pm
 

Now halfway through December and getting ever closer to the end of the year, it’s high time to write those “best of” end of year posts. As much as a nail-biter it was to choose my five favourite gigs of 2009, it allowed me to reflect on all the great gigs I’ve had the opportunity to go to in the Washington D.C. area and elsewhere. And it was a wonderful reminder on what great music is out there if you just open your mind and let yourself feast on what the current music scene has on offer. I encourage everyone one of you to go out to more gigs in 2010 and support the music community!

As USA editor of TGTF, I’d like to note that the majority of the gigs I’ve been to this year have been on my side of the pond and usually in my hometown of Washington D.C. But I think you’ll recognise most of the bands I’ve had the pleasure of seeing live this year. Here’s my top five of 2009:

5. Pains of Being Pure at Heart at D.C.’s Black Cat (Wednesday 30th September) – This didn’t feel like just any show. It felt a reunion and you were surrounded by friends, because the Pains have many friends in the Washington area. The guitars, the synths, and vocals from Kip Berman and Peggy Wang – they all combined to create something heavenly.

l-pains4

4. Camera Obscura at D.C.’s 9:30 Club (Sunday 21st June) – This gig featuring songs from their album released this year, ‘My Maudlin Career’, like ‘Honey in the Sun’ and the gorgeous ‘Swans’. Other previous gems like ‘Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken’ brought the house down as Traceyanne Campbell’s beautiful voice rang throughout the club. One incredible show. So disappointed they skipped over D.C. on their autumn tour.

traceyannecamob6pwsm

3. Dot to Dot Festival in Nottingham (Sunday 24th May) – My first music festival, ever. This was my second time seeing Friendly Fires and their first time headlining a festival to boot. It was amazing to be among lots and lots of their devoted English fans who turned Rock City in a sea of bodies dancing to their beats. It was also great to see Patrick Wolf again and Ladyhawke for the first time (the two acts directly preceding Friendly Fires at Rock City). Earlier in the day I was able to take in Matt Abbott and Skint and Demoralised at Nottingham-Trent Uni’s Glo Bar, followed by part of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s set in the uni’s student union main room.

Skint and Demoralised
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Patrick Wolf
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Ladyhawke
ladyhawke4

Friendly Fires
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2. Friendly Fires at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg (Thursday 13th August) – Not a fan of getting bruised up by the drunks who stormed the stage like maniacs during the ‘Ex Lover’ encore, but this one gets high marks for the incredible crowd energy – so much energy that I worried that the floor would break out from under us from all the jumping around and dancing going on during their set. Further, Ed Macfarlane jumped down into the crowd during ‘Paris’, causing additional mayhem. This is probably one of the last times he’ll ever launch himself into the audience because I doubt his personal safety from this point forth can be guaranteed (!)

p-mhw-ff10

1. Elbow at D.C.’s 9:30 Club (Tuesday 4th August) – Somehow Washington managed to score one of only three American headlining dates in all of 2009 from the Manchester quintet. They didn’t disappoint, the whole crowd singing along to every word of Guy Garvey’s. The man has one amazing voice and kept everyone in the club spellbound. The show was simply brilliant. It didn’t hurt that Guy came out an hour before the show and kindly agreed to take photos with us fans who queued up early outside the club before doors opened.

i-elbow6

After the jump is a full list of all the gigs I’ve been to in 2009 (in reverse chronological order) so you have an idea of the banquet I had to choose from.
Continue reading Best Gigs of 2009

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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