Jason Camlot is a Montreal songwriter and poet. His poetry collections include The Animal Library (DC Books, 2000), Lines Crossed Out (Delirium Press, 2005) and Attention All Typewriters (DC Books, 2005).
Back in the mid-1990s he released three legendary cassette albums in quick succession: O Glee (1994), Mr. Fedora (1995) and Letterbomb (1996).
Then he got a job.
Blemish Years: 1994-1997, Camlots forthcoming CD release via the Urban Myth Recording Collective, is a documentary compilation of this extended annus mirabilis, featuring stunning tracks from his first two acoustic records, plus an eclectic selection of unreleased studio and home 4 track recordings from this extremely creative period of medium-grade depression and impermanent exile.
Released in the throes of eighties overproduction and the midst of grunge, Camlot’s intimate, opaquely confessional songs went unheralded. Recorded sparely, superficially “folk”, yet filled with bravura fingerpicking, monstrous, angular hooks and intense wordplay that verges on incantation, where did Jason Camlot fit in? Eric Matthews was dabbling with orchestras. Elliot Smith was still playing grunge in Heatmiser. (Leonard Cohen? he was that old guy playing synth pop and dating that blonde twentysomething actress… you know, the guy Don Henley and Trisha Yearwood covered.)
Nonetheless, Camlot’s tapes travelled by word of mouth through the Canadian indie-rock underground over the following decade, to the point where they had been traded and burned enough times that erstwhile fans Dan and Chris of the Urban Myth Recording Collective decided it was time to do something about it. They found Camlot in Montreal at his job teaching Victorian literature at Concordia University. Duly impressed by such punk-rock cred, UM made a compilation of tracks from the two releases they had and asked him if they could release it on CD. Camlot obliged with Letterbomb and a shoebox full of unreleased material, most of it equal in quality and relevance to his released stuff. The UM dudes reconvened.
Blemish Years: 1994-1997 (which draws its title from O Glee‘s acerbic, epic centerpiece) draws liberally from Camlot’s cassette releases, augmented by outtakes, record company demos and most surprisingly, sessions tracked with a shit-kicking full band in Montreal. [Camlot also played drums in the SF punk-shite outfit The Tuning Knives, led by Robert McNiell (thereafter of The Softs, and now of The Country Teasers). More recently, he plays bass with the Montreal based Rawk Group Puggy Hammer, which released its debut record Rock Like Idiots in 2004.]
UM looks forward to releasing two more collections of Camlot’s material that have been recorded but remain unmixed, as well as a proposed album of brand new material.
Blemish Years hits stores and download services in January 2006.