Let’s start off with a question: “Which Merge Records artist released one of the great indie-pop albums of 2006?” Seems simple enough, but the question is actually a bit tricky. You see, there are two answers to the question, because both Camera Obscura and The Essex Green released LPs on Merge that had fans of accomplished, adorable, and hook-filled pop seeing little cartoon hearts all year long.
Let's see how it all works:
Camera Obscura's contribution to 2006, Let’s Get Out Of This Country, had the distinction of being the best CO album ever, as well as the best Concretes album of the year (sadly, in the race for best Concretes album of ’06, the actual Concretes came in 2nd). Meanwhile, The Essex Green put out another gem, Cannibal Sea, this year, which demonstrated that the band might only now be reaching the peak of its powers.
See! Anyway, put all that aside, as we must look to the future. Camera Obscura are starting a musical performance journey (you say tour) across the States, beginning January 17 in Atlanta. And guess what? The other aforementioned band The Essex Green are opening a great number of these shows (Carrboro to Chicago). Meanwhile, the West Coast portion of the trip, from Seattle to Los Angeles, has the Merge bossman’s band, Mac Superchunk’s own Portastatic, on the bill. They are promoting two 2006 LPs (that’s nothing to sneeze at), Be Still Please and the Who Loves The Sun soundtrack, as well as the digital-only Sour Shores EP. These sunny tunesmiths might just make your winter a little warmer.