Summer Camp
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Summer Camp

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
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Hometown: London.

The lineup: Summer Camp (vocals, keyboards).

The background: The BBC Sound Poll and all those other lists of who's going to make it in 2010 already seem out of date and out of touch. Why? Because they didn't have Summer Camp in them, and Summer Camp are going to be quite a big deal over the next few months.

Not that we know anything about them. Their MySpace says they're from the "United Kingdom", we've read that they're from Chicago, and most write-ups of them thus far have been pretty convinced that they are, in fact, Swedish. They're cool and clever enough to be a Brooklyn arthouse scam or one of those Stockholm never-never concept pop groups that make sublime music but never sell a record.

Actually, we have it on pretty good authority – we asked their press officer – that they're a boy-girl duo from London, but we don't know their names or who plays what instruments. However, there is an emphasis on soft female vocals, if that isn't a contradiction in terms.

Meanwhile, they're so keen to retain their anonymity at this point that instead of photos of them, they're sending out for use various snapshots of kids and teenagers in the pre-punk 1970s in bad tanktops, supposedly enjoying themselves on some kind of seasonal holiday – or Summer Camp, as they're often known. Unless that Polaroid of a couple drenched in beige and snogging at the kitchen table really is them, which would be weird.

They're as slippery as they are seemingly shy, this Summer Camp pair. They fit in or flit in and out of various categories: the new surf-rock of the Drums, the C86-ish indie-pop of Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the girl group revivalism of Vivian Girls ... There are elements in their lush lo-fi moments of chillwave, with some of the crackly intimacy of Perfume Genius. "If Washed Out offer the comedown from the utopian gauzy beach party," wrote one blogger, "then Summer Camp are the band who played the prom the night before, peppier than their morning-after bedfellows."

They're not mono-fetishists: it's not just the innocence of the pre-rock 1950s or non-rock mid-1960s they're lionising here. Alongside the synth version of the Flamingos' spectral 1959 hit I Only Have Eyes for You there are references to the mid-1980s – most of the songs on their MySpace start with a quote from an 80s Bratpack movie or other. Round the Moon – itself more electro-poppy than doo woppy – is prefaced by Molly Ringwald's character Sam Baker saying, "I can't believe I gave my panties to a geek", during John Hughes's Sixteen Candles. And Was It Worth It?, or at least the singing on the verse, is so Morrissey it's not true.

"We're big fans of the glo-fi/chillwave thing happening at the moment," the duo exclusively told New Band of the Day. "Washed Out, Active Child, the Smith Westerns – there is something so nostalgic and heartbreaking about it, while still sounding really fresh and exciting. We also love Motown and the Beach Boys, and 80s pop like Cocteau Twins, Altered Images, Talking Heads and XTC. Stiff Records is a big influence – Wreckless Eric, Jona Lewie, Ian Dury and Devo. We just love synth-pop, though, ultimately. And we kind of imagine that we're writing songs for an 80s teen movie. John Cusack is a huge influence on us."

Cool. But why the secrecy?

"That came about completely by accident," they said. "As things started happening it made sense to carry on being secretive, as it takes the pressure off us slightly. Plus, we don't like how you can know everything about a band these days – we're nostalgic for mystery. People will find out soon, though, and probably be disappointed that we're not actually Cheryl Cole and Moby. Or are we ...?"

The buzz: "Eschew all those gaudy tastemaker lists of Ones to Watch – the band of 2010 is here."

The truth: Can you feel it? That's chillwave coming to England.

Most likely to: Be in tune with the zeitgeist.

Least likely to: Be Cheryl Cole and Moby.

What to buy: They release their debut single in March, on Moshi Moshi.

File next to: Perfume Genius, Washed Out, Vivian Girls, the Shangri-La's.

Links: myspace.com/morganwaves - GUARDIAN NEW BAND OF THE DAY


Shrouded in perfumes of mystery befitting of a spot on Agatha Christie's dressing table are the intriguingly coy Summer Camp. So far, all we know is that they may or may not be Swedish, they possibly met at one such camp as teenagers, and that because there are both ladies and chaps in the band, that's definitely not them in the photos. The dodgy 70s glasses might have given us an inkling too.



continued...

But when you can read what Andrew WK's using to wipe his ass with on Twitter, there's something charmingly Cluedo about trying to tinker out nuggets of meaning about them. Do the immaculately produced songs on their Myspace suggest a Spector-style girl group kept fast under lock and key? Or maybe a lone geeky boy in his bedroom with a knack for spinning 50s vocals into Washed Out glitter? Possibly not that last one anyway.

Either way, they arrived on Myspace small and perfectly formed a couple of weeks ago with three heart-meltingly gauzy numbers that sparkle like a sugar-spun Shangri-Las with the crackly old slideshow wooze that colours Girls' retro sound, and make the kind of songs you can easily imagine the Lisbon sisters playing down the phone in Sofia Coppolla's 'The Virgin Suicides', bursting with wistful romance and secret messages.

They cover 'I Only Have Eyes For You', a song written in the 1930s for the musical 'Dames' which detailed the blackmailing escapades of a wily young lady, bringing its femme fatale connotations into the modern age by sampling dialogue from the kickass bloodthirsty 80s film, 'Heathers'. Maybe they're more sinister than their dusky synth whirligigs and sisterly harmonies would suggest...

Their two original songs are nothing short of wonderful too - 'Ghost Train' is all magical bursts that laugh with the excitement of being allowed to bash the windchimes in a primary school music lesson, and 'Why Don't You Stay' casts a lulling spell with its gentle doo-wop arpeggios.

Hand firmly on heart, they're probably one of the most perfect bands you'll hear this year. And in the words of the Lisbon sisters' lovesick admirers, "It didn't matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls... but only that we had loved them..."
- NME


Summer Camp is a group of seven friends (not pictured, presumably) from Dalarnas län, Sweden, who make timeless, doe-eyed lo-fi pop. I've received quite a few emails asking about these guys since playing their dreamy/sepia-toned, Heathers-sampling cover of "I Only Have Eyes for You" on my radio show earlier today, and it turns out their own stuff is pretty great in its own right. Grab the cover below, and take a listen to sweet new track "Why Don't You Stay" at the group's myspace page:

mp3:
summer camp :: i only have eyes for you - www.GorillavsBear.Blogspot.com


We still don't know too much about starry-eyed Swedes Summer Camp, but we're into everything they've done so far, and the group was nice enough to send over this new gem for us to premiere. The lilting "Ghost Train" glows with the same hopelessly romantic longing that we heard on this irresistible cover and their own sweet jam "Why Don't You Stay," all classic/nostalgic '50s girl group vibes submerged in a tidepool of modern indie-pop:

mp3:
summer camp :: ghost train - www.GorillavsBear.Blogspot.com


Because we grew up looking forward to an annual four days of sunshine, whenever we go to Blockbuster we head straight for the American teen movie section. Aside from all the adolescent hijinx and weird sexual pranks we’ve always been kind of green-eyed about never going to SUMMER CAMP. Although it makes us even more envious about what could have been we’re so glad that these seven Swedes hooked up around the campfire and are now scoring their hazy, beautiful snapshot of happier times right here in London. This gently hypnotic and woozy shoegaze duet is the only jam we have right now but it’s been enough to keep us slow dancing with each other in the living room all evening. Guess all of the above is immaterial when we tell you it opens with a quote from the ONLY GOOD FILM Winona Ryder has ever done.

SUMMER CAMP – I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU - http://www.transparentblog.com


Discography

Ghost Train - April 2010 - Moshi Moshi Records
- Playlisted on BBC6, Spot played by specialist on Radio One. XFM support. Playlisted at NME music. Spot played on BBC2

Young EP - September 2010 - Moshi Moshi Records UK +USA
- Strong support from BBC6, Radio One Specialist, XFM/NME. Live Sessions for BBC6 and XFM.

Young EP - November 2010 - Popfrenzy (AU/NZ)
Young EP - November 2010 - Vinyl Junkie Recordings (Japan)

Photos

Bio

Started almost by accident as a clandestine musical project by Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley (indeed, their first ever track was a haunting, fuzzed out take on The Flamingos’ “I Only Have Eyes For You”), Summer Camp now create the kind of utterly mesmeric, sepia-toned dream pop which seems predestined to form the perfect soundtrack to first kisses and adolescent crushes; romance and yearning. The melancholic “Ghost Train”, for instance, sounds not unlike girl groups from the 60’s wrapped in a warm blanket of lo-fi gauze and dusted lightly with pure pop sugar. Described by Pitchfork as a 'Bouncy and effervescent slice of indie pop, whimsical and nostalgic and catchy', this song was released in the UK and Europe in April 2010 to much critical acclaim, followed by a 6 track EP in October, both out on Moshi Moshi Records. The duo played all the major UK festivals in the summer of 2010, leading into a full headline tour of the country in the Autumn, before finally settling down to concentrate on penning their debut record, scheduled for release in April 2011.