Once, fairly unfairly, dismissed as Belle & Sebastian's mini-mes, Camera Obscura have long established their own niche in the realm of Glaswegian vulnerably melancholic lyrics against uplifting girl-pop. Album number four My Maudlin Career is out on 20th April through new home 4AD and continues their upwards trajectory, sketched around what Tracyanne Campbell has suggested is real events in her life to create a more refined, more bittersweet take on the sound they almost made their own on Let's Get Out Of This Country. We're very glad to have tracked and held them down to add a contribution, through guitarist Kenny McKeeve:
First single bought: The Smurf Song by Father Abraham and the Smurfs. I was 4 or 5, appropriately. Technically my mother bought it but I remember pestering her for it.
First album bought: It was either You Can Dance by Madonna or Europe's Final Countdown - I can't remember which was first; I got them both around the same time, aged about 14, and have been torn between suspect rock and magical pop ever since.
First gig voluntarily attended: The Shadows, aged 15. That wasn't one for bragging about at school, and I such got a hard time when I was rumbled. Quite right too.
The record that most made you want to get into music: (Excluding my dad's 50s and 60s singles) Fanfare by Eric Matthews, from the album It's Heavy In Here - I've no idea what he's singing, and I don't think of it as a strong song in vocal terms, but the music just blew up in my face. I was a very late start in terms of thinking about making, as opposed to just playing, music and would have been happy playing Beatles covers in pubs until this changed my attitude completely.
The three headliners at a festival you were curating: ABBA, Scott Walker (from the sad No Regrets era, not the old solo or recent meat-punching era), Queen (the proper 70s and 80s one with Freddie Mercury prancing around in a leotard, not the present day one with the bizarre astronomer and Rod Stewart's wee sister and that chump who never, ever stops singing Alright Now)
A song not enough people know about but everyone should hear: Do Not Despair by El Perro Del Mar
A song you'd play to get people dancing: Modern Love by David Bowie, Teardrops by Womack and Womack
The last great thing you heard: And it's Alright by Peter Broderick
Your key non-musical influences: Philip Roth, Armando Iannucci, Alfred Hitchcock, history, Count Arthur Strong, food, alcohol, Viz
Your favourite new artist: Magic Magic. They're from Boston I think. Their debut album is, rather handily, called Magic Magic, and they do just that. Beautiful. Maybe you already know all this. I'm not down with the kids, as is probably apparent.
And from 2004's Underachievers Please Try Harder, Keep It Clean: