Sunday 2 August
Who? CAMERA OBSCURA
Where? Cardiff Big Weekend, Park Place
How much? Free
7:00 - 7:50PM
It’s fair to say that Camera Obscura have served their apprenticeship over the past decade, releasing four albums on as many indie labes, and garnering a cult following of devoted fans.
During this time they also recorded five studio sessions for legendary music connoisseur John Peel, who championed the band at a time when their position in the lineage of great pop groups was overlooked by many.
A fully paid up member of that lineage, Morrissey once famously said that writing for The Smiths was akin to launching his own diary to music. The same can be said of singer Tracyanne Campbell’s songs, which deal with the schism between the beautiful ideal of love und romance, and the reality of the heartbreaking aftermath. When Campbell’s words are not enough, the heart-swelling strings express the inexpressible, no doubt owing a debt to the soul music of Gaye and Springfield.
Latest album My Maudlin Career may have been criminally overlooked by this year’s Mercury Music Prize judges, but the timeless shimmering melodies of songs like French Navy and the sublime James, will surely earn the band the widespread recognition that they so thoroughly deserve.
For fans of: Belle & Sebastian, Lloyd Cole & the Commotions, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Dory Previn
Camera Obscura MySpace
Sunday 2 August
Who? FINAL FANTASY
Where? The Gate
How much? £14
Doors 7:30; First band 8:30
Owen Pallett is a busy man. When he’s not arranging strings for the likes of Arcade Fire, Hidden Cameras and Beirut, or touring with said bands, he finds time to record his own material under the guise of Final Fantasy.
He describes the video game that lends its name to the project as “ridiculously overwrought and convoluted emotionally” which gives an indication to the sonic oeuvre of his work, which lends a thatrical element to everything he touches.
While Final Fantasy's string-laden pop is beautifully constructed, the same meticulous detail is dedicated to the lyrics, which are by turns tender, impenetrable, and laugh-out-loud funny. Pallett paints portraits in the listener's mind which draw closer comparison to Dylan Thomas’ literature than any other lyricist, though he inhabits the dark side of humour where Xiu Xiu and Morrissey are also found lurking.
Live, he plays violin through a sampler which loops previously played rhythms, giving the impression that he’s playing with a full band, when in fact he is alone, or with only a drummer as accompaniment. His chamber-pop sensibility will lend itself perfectly to the intimate surroundings of The Gate, where Pallett will showcase songs from his breakthrough album He Poos Clouds, as well as forthcoming L.P. Heartland.
For fans of: Andrew Bird, Patrick Wolf, Xiu Xiu, Sufjan Stevens
Final Fantasy MySpace