Archive for the Camera Obscura Category

Top 20 of 2009: 12-10

Posted in Brandi Carlile, Camera Obscura, Dave Rawlings Machine, Top 20 of 2009 on December 24, 2009 by AmericanaPulse
#12 – Give Up the Ghost by Brandi Carlile

My wife and I always look forward to a new Brandi Carlile album, and we were right there at the record store on day one waiting for this one. Brandi is one of those artists that I’ve followed since her debut album. I feel like I’ve been along for the ride with her since the start and have watched (and listened to) her grow as an artist with each new release. She takes another leap forward here with Give Up the Ghost, an album I reviewed (along with her entire catalogue) back in November.

As I wrote back then, Brandi covers considerable ground over the course of this album as she easily shifts gears from pop fueled arena rockers to delicate down tempo numbers. Guests Elton John, Amy Ray, Benmont Tench, and Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers all star in various spots on the album. John ‘s appearance especially stands as a highlight on the album as he duets with Brandi on the rollicking piano number “Caroline.” I don’t have permission to share that one, but here’s another of the many standout tracks.

Brandi Carlile: Dying Day (Buy Album)

#11 – Friend of a Friend by The Dave Rawlings Machine

I had a hard time figuring out where exactly to place this one on the list. It probably should be a little higher than it is, but it’s so new (Nov. 17 release date) that I still haven’t fully digested it. My unfamiliarity with the album probably dropped it a few spots. I did, however, see Dave’s Machine in action a couple of weeks ago with Gillian Welch and the OCMS boys. It was one of the finest performances I’ve seen in quite a while and certainly pushed it up the charts a bit. It’s certainly one of the best albums of 2009, but it might become one of my favorite albums of 2010. I stuck it right here in the middle.

Here, Rawlings takes over the spotlight from his long time musical collaborator Welch and seizes the opportunity to shine on his own. It’s about time. Rawlings is one of the most talented musicians working in any genre today, and it’s great to see him step out of the shadows so everyone else can see what a few of us have known for a long time. I think my wife’s jaw is still somewhere on the floor after seeing his rendition of Old Crow’s “I Hear Them All” (a song he co-wrote). She left the show comparing him to Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac. That’s about the highest praise she can give.

Dave Rawlings Machine: I Hear Them All (Buy Album)

#10 – My Maudlin Career by Camera Obscura

The story of how my wife and I came to discover this album is somewhat interesting. I heard the song “French Navy” on NPR’s All Songs Considered Podcast and left my wife a voice mail telling her about this amazing new song I had to heard. I just didn’t tell her the name of the artist or the song. Later that same day, she left me a voice mail to tell me about an amazing new song she and just heard on her XM Radio. When we both got home from work that day, we discovered we had both been talking about the same song.

Of course, we went out and bought the CD almost immediately after that and were immediately enthralled by the “Wall of Sound” meets lo-fi production and the enchanting voice of lead singer Tracyanne Campbell. The album is bursting with infectious hooks and several nods to that classic 60’s girl group sound. Despite the nods to the past, the whole thing is also infused with a modern indie vibe that grounds the album in the present. I know I’ve shared the video with you once before, but I’m going to give you a taste of “French Navy” one more time. It may be my favorite track of the year.

Camera Obscura: French Navy (Buy Album)

Random Saturday: Camera Obscura

Posted in Camera Obscura, youtube on July 25, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Still on vacation… so just another quickie today.

Don’t be surprised when this album ends up on my Top 10 list for 2009. This is Camera Obscura with “French Navy” from the album My Maudlin Career.