Let’s just get this little part over with, acknowledge the elephant in the room as it were. Blah, blah, blah, Belle & Sebastian. Blah, blah, blah, Stuart Murdoch. Blah, blah, blah, Scotland. Blah, blah, blah, Richard Colburn once on drums. Feel better? Did I meet your needs to address the obvious? Good. Now let’s forget about all that nonsense and focus on this release in and of itself. Not a “new release”, rather released this past winter on Merge after an initial release abroad on Spain’s most excellent Elefant Records (which is also responsible for a relatively solid Galaxie 500 tribute album “Snowstorm” that I picked up while in London earlier this year). For every in-your-face act like the Franz coming from across the pond, there is an underappreciated, lush, traditional indie-pop outfit that deserves to command more listening time on your ipod. Enter Camera Obscura (also gracing this category, the quite stunning The Clientele and The Aislers Set).
Despite the fact that Camera Obscura seems to meet every element in the LIRC formula for bands that command both the ipod and my concert budget, they are a relatively fresh addition to my collection. I thankfully discovered them thanks in part to a few mp3’s and recommendations forwarded to me from friends in England and an odd free night in my schedule when the band played at Maxwell’s pre-Merge fest. Normally it takes a band of a level like Luna’s for me to make the trek to Hoboken. It’s really a shame that Maxwell’s is such a stellar venue, offering a great line-up of shows, solid pre-show food and reasonably priced drinkage (not to mention the ability to light-up indoors for those that smoke). The price you pay is the frightening walk from the PATH down the semi-urban outdoor yuppie mall that Washington Ave has become (and that is just on the way there). After the show, if you happen to live in NYC (or, worse, a part of Brooklyn accessible by the L) you then have to repeat the march to the PATH which now runs about as often as the weekend G and then make at minimum two subway transfers during the MTA disco hours where they suspend service and run trains on random tracks for shits and giggles. However, after cueing up a few of the MP3’s while deciding how to spend the evening, I took the gamble. Although the opening band, The Rosebuds, were a stale White Stripes sound-alike, I was more than impressed with Camera Obscura.