Thursday, June 27, 2013

When Roddy Dropped Aztec Camera...

Even though Aztec Camera was mostly a one-man operation, I was sad when Roddy Frame officially went solo by name. I shouldn't have been. I wasn't a huge fan of the last few Aztec Camera albums anyway (although there were some fine moments), and the trio of albums with his real moniker on it turned out to be proud achievements more than worthy of the Frame name.

I was surprised to find that nearly 750 posts into this blog I have never mentioned two of the three Frame albums. I did write a mushy love letter about 'Surf' last year, and it is by far my favorite of the three solo albums, but 'The North Star' and 'Western Skies' should be on your shelf too. There is much to like here. The songwriting is top-notch, and the lyrics often seem very personal and heartfelt. Regardless of what the calendar says, Frame's vocals never sounded better. What's most refreshing, however, is the overindulgent production that hampered efforts like 'Love' and 'Dreamland' is nowhere to be found on any of these releases. I must admit I had a little problem getting into 'Western Skies,' but it has really grown on me.

One problem: I don't know how it is across the pond, but all three of these albums are tough to get a hold of in America. I have never even seen a Frame solo album in a brick-and-mortar store. I just took a quick look at the UK version of Amazon. You can still order them, but they can cost a pretty penny, oops, I mean pence. How about a little listen before you buy? I'm having quite a time choosing one song to represent an entire album. These aren't really records chock full of singles. Just expect a more mature and understated Frame from beginning to end. I'm taking the easy way out with the title tracks from each album.

OK, the real reason I'm writing about Frame today is because a nice reader by the name of Pádraig asked for a re-post of some live Aztec Camera I had up in June 2012. This version of "Jump" is from a Barrowlands show in '88 that didn't make the cut on any of those fine reissues from last year. So, here you go, sir. I'll keep the links up for a few days. Enjoy.

Roddy Frame - The North Star (mp3) (1998) (Buy)
Roddy Frame - Surf (mp3) (2002) (Buy)
Roddy Frame - Western Skies (mp3) (2006) (Buy)

5 comments:

Echorich said...

North Star is certainly a favorite Frame track for me. I bought North Star in London when I was on a visit years back but only have the other digitally. Great Frame moment was seeing Ian McCulloch at CBGB's promoting Mysterio all those years ago and Roddy sitting in on guitar on a few tracks...

Brian said...

Man, Echorich, you need to write a book or get that blog of yours going again on a more regular basis. I'm not kidding. I find myself in awe of your musical experiences quite regularly. Take care.

JC said...

I hadn't realised till reading your post that the solo material is so hard to get a hold of outside of the UK. I'd suggest Discogs is worth a look for second hand copies.....

Brian said...

Hi JC. Sounds like your birthday trip was one to remember. Let's catch up soon. It was a nice idea to have Friend of Rachel Worth as a your fill in, too. I miss his blog already.

Thanks for thinking about discogs. You would be amazed how tough it is to find smaller-label albums from UK artists over here without going online. Think of all those hundreds of Cherry Red reissues alone that never reach our shore.

JC said...

Birthday trip was great....and as much as I loved getting to a great gig in Berlin the highlight of 2013 has to be seeing James Kirk on stage and being a part of a rendition of 'Felicity'.