camera obscura

camera obscura on Elsewhere by Graham Reid - Browse our selection of content tagged 'camera obscura'.

The Softlightes: Say No! to Being Cool, Say Yes! to Being Happy (Modular)

The Softlightes: Say No! to Being Cool, Say Yes! to Being Happy (Modular)

There is always a place for translucent gentle pop, and it doesn't come much more summer-kissed or amusing than this debut from a Californian band which obviously also possesses a sense of humour: titles here include The Robots in My Bedroom Were Playing Arena Rock; The Microwave Song; If The World Had Cookies; and Black Skinheads in White...

The Clientele; God Save the Clientele (Popfrenzy) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

The Clientele; God Save the Clientele (Popfrenzy) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Whispery pop of the old style (verse, chorus, verse, chorus etc) always gets a good hearing at Elsewhere. There is something magical and dreamy about the best of it -- and this is one of the best. And both magical and dreamy. This London-based band have now added violin and string arrrangements to their breathy songs, and recorded this...

The Brunettes: Structure and Cosmetics (Lil' Chief/Rhythmethod)

The Brunettes: Structure and Cosmetics (Lil' Chief/Rhythmethod)

The quirky and sometimes playful pop of Auckland's Brunettes gets a real workout here: whether it be enjoying the left speaker/right speaker game on Stereo (Mono Mono); referencing Tommy James and the Shondells' 60s hit Crimson and Clover on their delicate Credit Card Mail Order; offering a title such as Obligatory Road Song; or simply bending...

Mist & Sea: Unless (PopFrenzy/Rhythmethod)

Mist & Sea: Unless (PopFrenzy/Rhythmethod)

Because of the Pop Frenzy label's track record at Elsewhere -- pop delights posted by the much recommended Clientele, Radio Dept and Camera Obscura, and even recently the amusing David Vandevelde with his T.Rex manoeuvres -- anything on the label get an early audition. Hell, this is the label that has the bleakly amusing and very wonderful...

The Darlings: The Cicada Sessions (Ode)

The Darlings: The Cicada Sessions (Ode)

The Darlings are New Zealand singer Jackie Clarke and singer-songwriter Callie Blood with drummer-to-the-stars Wayne Bell, here mostly playing acoustic guitar -- which makes them somewhat of a Kiwi supergroup given their long pedigrees in various band and studio sessions. Together they make what their bio calls "grown-up pop", which...

Lightning Dust: Lightning Dust (PopFrenzy/Rhythmethod)

Lightning Dust: Lightning Dust (PopFrenzy/Rhythmethod)

Said it before, will say it again: when albums come from PopFrenzy they rise to the top of the heap, just on the basis of previous albums from the label (the Clientele, Camera Obscura) being so damn good. No major disappointment with this one either where the shimmering, quivering voice of Amber Webber is quietly hypnotic in songs which are...

Institut Polaire: The Fauna and the Flora (PopFrenzy/Rhythmethod)

Institut Polaire: The Fauna and the Flora (PopFrenzy/Rhythmethod)

More 60s-framed pop for alternative radio from the PopFrenzy label (Clientele, Camera Obscura, Lightning Dust) which refers to the great bands who never really made it (The Association, Left Banke) as much as big names like Bacharach and the Monkees, as well the slightly psychedelic BeeGees and alt.country. Whatever really works, in fact....

Jimmy Buffett: Live in Anguilla (Mailboat/Rhythmethod)

Jimmy Buffett: Live in Anguilla (Mailboat/Rhythmethod)

I have had dinner and drinks at Jimmy's place a couple of times -- in truth at his franchise restaurants Margaritaville which offer a fish platter so huge I have had to take a photograph of it. Buffett is a businessman/pilot/sailor and singer whose lifestyle is enviable: in his world it is permanently sunny, boatshoes constitute dressing up,...

Okkervil River: The Stage Names (UN Spin)

Okkervil River: The Stage Names (UN Spin)

At his most dramatic, OkkRiver singer Will Sheff sounds like a heavily caffeinated Richard Thompson (the ripping opener Our Life is Not A Movie) or Morrissey with a very nasty attitude (on Unless It Kicks which is like a seriously angry Smiths). His voice is pushed to its upper register and he sings with a passion that is rare. That both of...

Beach House: Devotion (Arch Hill)

Beach House: Devotion (Arch Hill)

Anyone who was dropped into New Zealand music in the 80s and 90s would have thought that (for the most part) they had arrived in some grim North England industrial town: black moods, anger, negativity and cynicism -- and the shoe-gazing bands dressed to match. There was a lot of sullen music around and I guess young musicians thought that by...

Josh Rouse: Best of the Ryko Years, 1995-2005 (Ryko/Elite)

Josh Rouse: Best of the Ryko Years, 1995-2005 (Ryko/Elite)

Some artists may always be the private passion of a few, and you sense this American singer-songwriter is hailed by some and utterly unfamiliar to most, many of whom would like him if they only knew. Rouse has been a regular at Elsewhere and his albums like Under Cold Blue Stars (02), the slightly troublking 1972 (of 03 when some said he'd...

Jones: Hopeland (Meme)

The surname behind this belongs to Trevor Jones who is one half of Miracle Mile, a British outfit previously featured at Elsewhere (their Coffee and Stars) who deliver glistening, almost ambient, adult pop music which whispers and understates in a poetic, melodic manner -- and which is often rejected by those who don't hear pop perfection as a...

LLOYD COLE INTERVIEWED (2000): This changing man

LLOYD COLE INTERVIEWED (2000): This changing man

Lloyd Cole, the Derbyshire-born pop singer-songwriter who sprang to attention in the mid-80s for his introspective literate lyrics with his band the Commotions, quit Britain for New York in 1988 for six months - and has now stayed for 12 years. With his American wife and two children, he lives in the wilderness three hours north of...

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Advance Base Battery Life (Tomlab)

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Advance Base Battery Life (Tomlab)

When the superbly named CFTPA (Owen Ashworth from Chicago) played before a couple of dozen in Auckland a few years back he was utterly beguiling: a small selection of lo-fi keyboards; a voice soaked in melancholy; and pointed songs which had a bed-sit consciousness without moping or self-pitying. His 06 album Etiquette was chock full of...

Songs: Songs (PopFrenzy/Rhythmethod)

Songs: Songs (PopFrenzy/Rhythmethod)

This young pop band out of Sydney come, not so much trailing influences but shoving them up ahead of them: variously they sound like nasal Dylan '65 doing early Velvets drone (Farmacy), the Bats jingle-jangle (Something to Believe In), the fuzzy end of the Clean (Oh No), more Velvets-in-Dunedin (Retreat) . . . And those are just the first...

Shearwater: The Golden Archipelago (Matador)

Shearwater: The Golden Archipelago (Matador)

The problem as I see it with this sonically fascinating and musically dramatic album is that it lacks a lyric sheet and the poetic words are frequently difficult to distinguish because singer Jonathan Meiburg's vocals are often buried behind those odd instrumentations, or sung in soft high Anglofolk voice which is hard to decipher. Because...

The Clientele: Bonfires on the Heath (PopFrenzy)

The Clientele: Bonfires on the Heath (PopFrenzy)

The charming, wispy and intimate pop of this London outfit has long been an Elsewhere favourite: their album God Save the Clientele was among The Best of Elsewhere 2007 and they share the same PopFrenzy label as equally delightful pop bands such as Camera Obscura, Lightning Dust, Radio Dept and Institut Polaire. The Clientele embark here on...

The Ruby Suns: Fight Softly (Li'l Chief)

The Ruby Suns: Fight Softly (Li'l Chief)

The dreamy pop landscape that Ryan McPhun, mainman behind the Ruby Suns, conjures up usually wouldn't sound too far removed from that of bands on the PopFrenzy label which Elsewhere has always favoured. The last Ruby Suns album Sea Lion had an identifiable pop-folkadelic quality coming from the Pacific Rim (he's a Californian transplanted to...

The Fourmyula: The Complete Fourmyula (EMI)

The Fourmyula: The Complete Fourmyula (EMI)

In his recent book 100 Essential New Zealand Albums, the writer/broadcaster Nick Bollinger lists three albums by the Fourmyula (1967-71) out of Upper Hutt. Not bad for a band that only released three -- and one of those Bollinger cites was the unreleased Turn Your Back on the Wind. Confused? Bollinger doesn't list their self-titled...

George and Queen: Teenagers and Grownups (Universal)

George and Queen: Teenagers and Grownups (Universal)

For their third album, this duo (now a band) out of Dunedin (now Auckland) here deliver a particularly interesting amalgam of radio-friendly pop (the single Hut 234, the delightfully driving power-pop of Fly Man) and alt.rock (most of the other 9 songs) onto which they throw strange and strangely appealing guitar shapes and rhythmic twists....

The Phoenix Foundation: Buffalo (EMI)

The Phoenix Foundation: Buffalo (EMI)

After their excellent, Best of Elsewhere 2007 album Happy Ending -- and in the interim solo projects and the amusing, enticing and experimental pre-Christmas EP Merry Kriskmass -- expectation is high for this album by one of New Zealand's most interesting and enjoyable acts. More so even than the mostly laidback, slightly-delic...

Nightchoir: 24 Hours of Night (1157 Records)

Nightchoir: 24 Hours of Night (1157 Records)

Every May, being New Zealand Music Month, many dozens of albums arrive almost simultaneously -- over 40 in four weeks last year, which is kinda ridiculous -- so Elsewhere sifts judiciously (as best it can with that volume) and points to those which might fly beneath the radar. Let's hope this one doesn't. Nightchoir play what could...

R.E.M.; THE EARLY YEARS: Mumbling into the future

R.E.M.; THE EARLY YEARS: Mumbling into the future

When R.E.M sneaked up in the early 80s with their debut album Murmur, few could have anticipated what the band meant – and would become. Just as Talking Heads had become the banner-waver for emotionally distant New York art-rock a few years previous, R.E.M were the band which announced college rock radio could be as influential as...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Naked and Famous: Passive Me Aggressive You (Somewhat Damaged)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Naked and Famous: Passive Me Aggressive You (Somewhat Damaged)

From She Loves You and She's a Mod, pop music has always rung to the affirmation of "yeah yeah yeah" -- and to hear this Auckland band work it so well on their newly minted classic single Young Blood (which recently won the Silver Scroll for songwriting) was thrilling. This debut album has been so well canvassed and reviewed that...

Pine: Books and Magazines (Arch Hill)

Pine: Books and Magazines (Arch Hill)

In that great Kiwi tradition, Pine recorded this low-key charmer in a sitting room in Christchurch (the house since severely damaged by the quake apparently) and the trio here once again deliver intimate, spare but not skeletal-sounding pop. Actually, there is little needs to be said here because the Arch Hill label has an interesting...

Magic Arm: Make Lists Do Something (Switchflicker/Yellow Eye)

Magic Arm: Make Lists Do Something (Switchflicker/Yellow Eye)

This techno-pop, Pro Tools-folktronic album by Manchester's one-man band Marc Rigelsford finally gets belated local release (it appeared in the UK a year ago). But it's timely with the Band on the Run reissue because Rigelsford's reference points are the younger McCartney and classic Beach Boys as much early Beck and pre-fame Bright Eyes...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Lloyd Cole

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Lloyd Cole

Lloyd Cole sprung to success with his band the Commotions on the highly literate and pop-memorable album Rattlesnakes in '84 but within a few years had moved to New York where he fell in with the likes of Robert Quine and Matthew Sweet. He has continued to explore his intelligent, probing and exquisitely crafted pop over a series of solo...

Lloyd Cole: Broken Record (Tapete/Yellow Eye)

Lloyd Cole: Broken Record (Tapete/Yellow Eye)

Lloyd Cole may not command that massive audience he once did, but his modest tours always pull the loyalists -- and his songwriting skills haven't deserted him, even though his great chart-worrying album Rattlesnakes with the Commotions was closer to 30 years ago than 20. This new album, recorded in New York and spare in its...

Princess Chelsea: Lil' Golden Book (Lil' Chief)

Princess Chelsea: Lil' Golden Book (Lil' Chief)

Cleverly packaged to replicate a Little Golden Book (but with appropriately dark illustrations), this album by Chelsea Nikkel (with Jonathan Bree formerly of the Brunettes co-producing) walks a narrow line between twee sounding childlike pop and those more menacing undertones found in children's stories like the Grimms' fairytales. So...

Camera Obscura; Let's Get Out of This Country (Popfrenzy/Rhythmethod) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Camera Obscura; Let's Get Out of This Country (Popfrenzy/Rhythmethod) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Gentle, shimmering pop where the guitars swell up and envelope you like sunshine and you can't help but nod along or tap your feet. Music that has you making a fool off yourself in the car as you sing along loudly and bang the steering wheel when the big chorus kicks in. I've just described the effect of this glistening album by a Scottish...

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Etiquette (2006)

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Etiquette (2006)

If nothing else, you had to raise a smile at the nom-de-disque which American singer-songwriter Owen Ashworth adopted. It announces its lo-fi quality, and identifies its audience at the same time. Clever and funny. But also ineffably sad. And the songs on this quite remarkable album -- like short stories rendered as poetry and set to...

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