Aztec Camera

Aztec Camera was a Scottish New Wave music band from Glasgow. Although generally considered to be borne out of the post-punk movement, Aztec Camera's music is mostly acoustic oriented and might be better described as guitar based indie pop.


The band's line-up changed numerous times in its first few years. The constant member has been guitarist / vocalist / singer-songwriter Roddy Frame. Founding members included Campbell Owens (bass) and Dave Mulholland (drums). Craig Gannon was a member from 1983 to 1984. Guitarist Malcolm Ross (formerly of Josef K and Orange Juice) joined the band in 1984, and played on the Knife album. By the time of their third album, Love (1987), Roddy Frame was the only de facto member of the band: this and future albums credited to Aztec Camera were actually performed by Frame and studio musicians hired on a track-by-track basis.

The band's first UK 7" single was released by Glasgow-based indie label Postcard Records in March 1981, and contained the songs "Just Like Gold" and "We Could Send Letters". An acoustic version of the latter song appeared on the influential C81 compilation cassette, released by NME in early 1981. A second single, "Mattress Of Wire", was also the last Postcard Records release before the group signed for fellow independent record label, Rough Trade. US releases were on Sire Records.

Aztec Camera's debut album, High Land, Hard Rain, was released in April 1983. The album was successful, gathering significant critical acclaim for its well-crafted, multi-layered pop. The band went on to release a total of six albums, although most of these were essentially written and played by Frame. The albums included Knife (1984), Love (1987), Stray (1990), Dreamland (1993) and Frestonia (1995).

After the release of Aztec Camera's sixth album, Frestonia, Frame finally decided to record under his own name, and left the major record label, WEA.

Popular songs by Aztec Camera include "Oblivious", "Still On Fire", "Walk Out to Winter", "Somewhere in My Heart", and "Good Morning Britain" (a duet with former The Clash guitarist Mick Jones). "Somewhere in My Heart", the second single from Love, remains their biggest hit, reaching #3 on the UK Singles Chart.

A 'Best of' collection was released in 1999.


Roddy Frame - Guitar / Harmonica / Vocals (1981-1995)

Other musicians


Studio albums




Year Single UK singles UK indie U.S. Modern Rock Album
1981 "Just Like Gold" - 10 - -
1981 "Mattress of Wire" - 8 - -
1982 "Pillar to Post" - 4 - High Land, Hard Rain
1983 "Oblivious" 47 1 - High Land, Hard Rain
1983 "Walk Out to Winter" 64 3 - High Land, Hard Rain
1983 "Oblivious" (re-issue) 18 - - High Land, Hard Rain
1984 "All I Need Is Everything" / "Jump" 34 - - Knife
1984 "Still on Fire" 83 - - Knife
1987 "Deep & Wide & Tall" 55 - - Love
1988 "How Men Are" 25 - - Love
1988 "Somewhere in My Heart" 3 - - Love
1988 "Working in a Goldmine" 31 - - Love
1990 "The Crying Scene" 70 - 3 Stray
1990 "Good Morning Britain" 19 - 12 Stray
1992 "Spanish Horses" 52 - - Dreamland
1993 "Dream Sweet Dreams" 67 - - Dreamland
1993 "Birds" - - - Dreamland
1995 "Sun" - - - Frestonia

See also


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