The Hidden Cameras
A mix of queer politics, explicit sexuality, symphonic indie pop, and theatrical spectacle that borders on the religious, Toronto's the Hidden Cameras are the brainchild of singer/songwriter/guitarist Joel Gibb. The 2001 debut album Ecce Homo — a collection of four-track demos released on Gibb's own Evil Evil imprint — introduced a stripped-down version of the Hidden Cameras' witty, acoustic-based songwriting, which drew comparisons to the Magnetic Fields and Belle & Sebastian. Ecce Homo also caught the ear of Rough Trade, whose signing of Gibb made the Hidden Cameras the first Canadian artist on the label in its 25-year history. Meanwhile, the group's elaborate live performances, which include up to 30 go-go dancers, strippers, and musicians, as well as videos, projected lyrics, and heavy audience participation, won the group a widespread and devoted following in Canada. 2003's Rough Trade debut, The Smell of Our Own, reflected some of the group's more elaborate sound more so than Ecce Homo did and spread the Hidden Cameras' subversively catchy music further afield. In 2004, the band released their long-awaited follow-up, Mississauga Goddam, named for the Toronto suburb of Gibb's youth. Awoo, which presented a slightly tamer version of the Cameras' "gay church folk music," arrived in 2006.
I first discovered the band via their album Smell Of Our Own and instantly fell for their infectious pop, over repeat listens the lyrical content soaked in - my god these guys are sick and twisted I thought, excellent. The track Golden Showers being a radio standard of mine for sometime, a wonderful piece of orchestal pop with lyrics you couldn't repeat in polite company.
They remind me in places of the Tall Dwarfs, jagged but sugar sweet indie pop/rock, one of my fave Sunday feeling rough bands to sooth the soul after a big night out.
I was fortunate to have a Canadian live with me for a large part of this year, as we sent emails back and forth prior to their arrival down under we discussed our common interests, hers lucky for me was music....
Being a proud Toronto girl she mentioned the Hidden Cameras and got a gushy reply from me. Not long after their album Mississauga Goddam turned up in my letterbox and I discovered the song Music Is My Boyfriend, fuck what a song!!!! It had Bob written all over it - I am a sucker for a I love music type track.
In the past ten days I've got my grubby hands on their latest album AWOO, which I've been dragging around with me and playing repeatedly since I got the puppy.
Its simply awesome, a bit rougher than previous album, in the perfect way. Again the pop ethic is to the fore.
I don't know what they have in the water up in Canada but by golly they have some stunning bands right now. A interesting govt funding model too for the industry geeks, of which I am one :)
Its not often a band (non electronic artist) grabs my attention to the point where I make a point fo getting all and everything they have released, except for local kiwi acts (well album wise), these guys are one of the very few.
It might sound sad, but I sometimes get excited about large night out clubbing just cause I know the following day I shall be doing nothing more than couching, smoking and listening to The Hidden Cameras and/or Able Tasmans whilst feeling old and rough as....
Tis the perfect musical marriage, house music in the dank dark confines of a club followed by a day of indie pop, preferably complimented by sun streaming into the lounge.
Me *heart* the Hidden Cameras, to use the language of the young.