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Camera Obscura

Pairing bright and clever retro-styled melodies with smart, witty lyrics and a sense of style that is sleek but lived-in at the same time, Camera Obscura are a Scottish indie pop group who became one of the most celebrated acts on the U.K.'s twee pop scene, while also displaying a pronounced country influence in their more low-key numbers. Hailing from Glasgow, Camera Obscura were formed in 1996 by lead vocalist and guitarist Tracyanne Campbell, percussionist John Henderson, and bassist Gavin Dunbar. After playing out with a handful of guest musicians, Camera Obscura expanded to a quartet with the addition of guitarist David Skirving, and in 1998, the group issued their first single, "Park & Ride" on the indie Andmoresound label. In 2000, Lee Thompson joined Camera Obscura as their full-time trap drummer, and Lindsay Boyd signed on as keyboard player. In 2001, Skirving left the band, and Kenny McKeeve became their new guitarist. As they became better known, they were frequently compared to Belle and Sebastian, and B&S leader Stuart Murdoch was recruited to produce their debut album, 2001's Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi. The album earned praise from influential BBC disc jockey John Peel, who invited the group to record a live session for broadcast on his show, and the single "Eighties Fan" became a modest hit. In 2002, Lindsay Boyd parted ways with Camera Obscura and Carey Lander took her place behind the keyboards, while Nigel Baillie also joined the band, handling trumpet and percussion.

2003 saw the release of the band's second album, Underachievers Please Try Harder, followed by an international tour covering Great Britain, Ireland, and the United States; in the wake of the tour, John Henderson left the group. In 2004, Camera Obscura recorded another session with John Peel, one that saw the band debuting special new material, as Peel had invited them to set several poems by Robert Burns to music. The group's third studio album, Let's Get Out of This Country, was released in June 2006, and features one of the band's most popular tunes, an answer song to Lloyd Cole's "Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken" titled "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken," which was featured in the film P.S. I Love You and the TV series Friday Night Lights. In 2009, Camera Obscura were signed by the celebrated U.K. label 4AD, and they released their first album for it, My Maudlin Career, in April of that year. The success of the single "French Navy" helped push the album into the Top 50 of the U.K. album charts, and the Top 100 of the American album surveys. (The song also became the theme of the U.K. cooking show Come Dine with Me). The year saw another lineup change for Camera Obscura, as Nigel Baillie left the band to spend more time with his new family.

In 2013, the band released their second album for 4AD, Desire Lines, which was produced by Tucker Martine, best known for his work with the Decemberists and My Morning Jacket. The album achieved commercial success similar to that of My Maudlin Career, but it also preceded the end of an era for the group. In 2015, Camera Obscura canceled a tour of the United States when it was learned Carey Lander had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. Lander's bandmates rallied around her, helping support an online campaign to raise both funds for treatment and awareness of the disease, but on October 11, 2015, cancer claimed Lander's life. After her passing, Tracyanne Campbell posted a message on social media, declaring, "(Lander) didn't leave the band. She left her body. She's still in the band. Right!" ~ Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Desire Lines

1. Intro

2. This Is Love (Feels Alright)

3. Troublemaker

4. William's Heart

5. New Year's Resolution

6. Do It Again

7. Cri Du Coeur

8. Every Weekday

9. Fifth In Line To The Throne

10. I Missed Your Party

11. Break It To You Gently

12. Desire Lines

x

Track List: My Maudlin Career

1. French Navy

2. The Sweetest Thing

3. You Told A Lie

4. Away With Murder

5. Swans

6. James

7. Careless Love

8. My Maudlin Career

9. Forests And Sands

10. Other Towns And Cities

11. Honey In The Sun

x

Track List: Tears For Affairs

x

Track List: If Looks Could Kill

1. If Looks Could Kill

2. Hands Up Baby

3. Alaska

x

Track List: Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken

1. Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken

2. Phil And Don

3. Roman Holiday

x

Track List: Underachievers Please Try Harder

1. Suspended From Class

2. Keep It Clean

3. A Sisters Social Agony

4. Teenager

5. Before You Cry

6. Your Picture

7. Number One Son

8. Let Me Go Home

9. Books Written For Girls

10. Knee Deep At The NPL

11. Lunar Sea

12. I Don't Want To See You

13. Footloose And Fancy Free

x

Track List: Biggest Blues Hi-Fi

1. Happy New Year

2. Eighties Fan

3. Houseboat

4. Shine Like A New Pin

5. Pen And Notebook

6. Swimming Pool

7. Anti-Western

8. Let's Go Bowling

9. I Don't Do Crowds

10. The Sun On His Back

11. Double Feature

12. Arrangements Of Shapes And Space

x

Track List: 4AD Session

1. Break It To You Gently (4AD Session)

2. Desire Lines (4AD Session)

3. Every Weekday (4AD Session)

4. Fifth In Line To The Throne (4AD Session)

Comments

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Perfect Sunday morning music- This Is Love( Feels Alright )
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My favorite band nowadays . have yet to hear a bad song . true tune smiths . luv em
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Beautiful album art, almost as beautiful as the music!
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I really like this. Very smooth
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Lloyd, i'm ready to be heartbroken.
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french navy my sailor mate
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i always assumed they were from san francisco...
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It has the Spectorisms of the 60s/70s with their own touch. Brilliant
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Sounds like The Sundays but an even nicer voice
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clay6181
my favorite band
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thanks guys....
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Ages ago when painters would do portraits of people they would use a mirror as a traceable guide to capture the perfect likeness of their model. That term is called Camera Obscura.
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Anybody know where the term Camera Obscura came from?
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sigh, love.
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cmart201
Forest and Sands... doesn't get much better.
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LOVE LOVE LOVE CAMERA OBSCURA!
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fergy51
Hard to believe they're not huge.
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Twee pop indeed!!
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thisfuegita
Yikes! You have the wrong bio. This is the "Scottish twee pop outfit" and thank heavens it is!
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One of the few bands I keep in constant rotation.... I never get tired of them!
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The Bio attached to this is incorrect. This is the European Camera Obscura! I am a big fan and cant't wait for their return to the U.S. I have every album! I did not obtain them in order however and i must admit not one is disappointin g . All albums are both musically and lyrically consistent-- g o
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rayray099
mega love for these guys. noticed they were playing on the jutbox in the psych ep dual spires...pre t t y awesome
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cin.smiles
I love this band <333
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i am in love with this band.
yup
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I just discovered them recently- and love them!!! They are good for a peaceful drive and any other time of the day :)
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dwarfmoose
I want to marry Tracyanne!
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Spectrum Culture just posted a review of their Portland concert. I'd love to check them out live if I ever get the chance.
http://spect r u m c u l t u r e . c o m / 2 0 1 0 / 0 5 / c o n c e r t - r e v i e w - c a m e r a - o b s c u r a p r i n c e t o n . h t m l
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Intresting band. The first time I've heard them.
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Soothing goodness. I have a regular normal crush on Tracyanne.
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i do have a crush on tracyanne, yes.
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hey, they fixed it! at least i think they did...
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cecilanne
Um, the Pandora folks may want to work on their "Biorgraphy" links - despite the statement in the description above, the song I am listening to right now is most definitely by the twee Scots group Camera Obscura and not some disbanded San Diego band . . . .
Report as inappropriate
Andylynch108 , you're right. Pandora is wrong. This Camera Obscura (who released all those albums above) IS from Scotland and they are NOT broken up.

Go to myspace.com/ c a m e r a o b s c u r a b a n d

Pandora got the names wrong too. The band is made up of:
Tracyanne Campbell - Vocals, Guitars

Gavin Dunbar - Bass

Lee Thomson - Drums

Kenny McKeeve - Guitars, Vocals

Nigel Baillie - Trumpet, Percussion

Carey Lander - Piano, Organ, Vocals
Report as inappropriate
andylynch108
If I may be so bold, I think Pandora put the wrong bio for the albums they display with the bio. I think this is the Scottish Camera Obscura; not the one from San Diego. Am I right or am I just confused?
P.S. Scottish Camera Obscura is(if I have the right one) the best indie band I know!
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Love it. They remind me alot of The Sundays
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ssw050203
I love, love, love "Keep it clean". I basically tune the music out most of the time but when that songs pops up in my rotation I have to stop what I'm doing and just bop along to it. It makes me so happy!
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maggie.latha m
absolutely lovely
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Just hearing these guys can turn a crap day good again. They have a rare and magical sound.
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i can def. feel the belle & sebastian vibe; also reminiscent of mid-90's luna on the instrumental s . . . r e a l l y quite lovely - the vox are stellar.
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pen and notebook is one of my new favorites
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Very soothing yet upbeat and energizing. Definitely feel good music, almost like the feeling you get when looking at fun memorablia on old vhs.
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"Alaska" is a tasty tune. Must find out more.
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mattjwayad
"I Don't Do Crowds" is my new favorite song. Great stuff! MJ
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christinaste u b e n
THEY ROCK!

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