Camera Obscura were formed in 1996 by Tracyanne Campbell, John Henderson, and Gavin Dunbar. Several other members performed with the band before David Skirving joined as a permanent guitarist. The band's first releases were the singles "Park and Ride" and "Your Sound" in 1998. The band's line up changed in 2000 and 2001 when Lee Thompson joined as its permanent drummer and Lindsay Boyd as a keyboard player and Skirving left and was replaced by Kenny McKeeve. The Rare UK Bird EP was also released in 1999.
Camera Obscura's first album, Biggest Bluest Hi Fi, was released in 2001. The album was produced by Stuart Murdoch from the band Belle & Sebastian and was supported by John Peel. The first single from the album, "Eighties Fan", came in at number 7 in the Festive Fifty in 2001, and charted in several independent music charts. Nigel Baile joined the band as a trumpeter and percussionist in 2002 and Carey Lander replaced Boyd. In the summer of 2002 Peel asked the band to do their first Peel session.
The band's second album, Underachievers Please Try Harder, was released in 2003 and was followed by Camera Obscura's first full tour of Britain and Ireland and the band's first tour of the United States. Founding member John Henderson left Camera Obscura following this tour. In early 2004 the band recorded the songs "I Love My Jean" and "Red, Red Rose" following their third Peel session in which Peel had asked them to put these poems by Robert Burns to music.
Camera Obscura recorded their third album, Let's Get Out of This Country, in Sweden during 2005. The album was produced by Jari Haapalainen and was released on June 6, 2006. The first single, "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken", is a response to Lloyd Cole and the Commotions' song "Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken?".
In November 2008, the band announced that they had completed recording the follow-up to Let's Get Out of This Country, and that the new album, My Maudlin Career, would be released in April 2009. In February 2009, it was announced that the band had signed to the label 4AD, who will release the album, and that "due to family commitments (including being a proud dad) Nigel will no longer be a full time member of Camera Obscura. But watch out for him popping up at live appearances from time to time."
- Tracyanne Campbell – guitar, vocals
- Carey Lander – piano, organ, vocals
- Kenny McKeeve – guitar, mandolin, harmonica, vocals
- Gavin Dunbar – bass
- Lee Thomson – drums
- Nigel Baillie – trumpet, percussion
- John Henderson (1996-2004) – vocals, percussion
- Richard Colburn – drums
- David Skirving – vocals, guitar
- Lindsay Boyd – keyboards
- Biggest Bluest Hi Fi (November 2001, Andmoresound)
- Underachievers Please Try Harder (September 2003, Elefant)
- Let's Get Out of This Country (June 2006, Merge) (UK #125)
- My Maudlin Career (April 2009, 4AD) (UK #32, IRE #37, US #87)
- "Park and Ride" (March 1998, Andmoresound)
- "Your Sound" (December 1998, Andmoresound)
- "Eighties Fan" (June 2001, Andmoresound)
- "Teenager" (May 2003, Elefant) (UK #182)
- "Keep It Clean" (July 2004, Elefant)
- "I Love My Jean" (March 2005, Elefant) (UK #101)
- "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken" (May 2006, Elefant) (UK #124)
- "Let's Get Out of This Country" (September 2006, Elefant) (UK #144)
- "If Looks Could Kill" (January 2007, Elefant) (UK #191)
- "Tears for Affairs" (April 2007, Elefant)
- "French Navy" (April 2009, 4AD) (UK #141)
- "Honey in the Sun" (August 2009, 4AD)
- "The Sweetest Thing" (November 2009, 4AD)
Compilations and EPs
- Rare UK Bird (December 1999, Quattro) Japan-only
- Acoustic 07 (2007, V2 Records) - "Let's Get Out of This Country"
- The Saturday Sessions: The Dermot O'Leary Show (2007, EMI) - "Super Trooper"
Biography from Wikipedia