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B.C. Camplight

American singer/songwriter Brian Christinzio -- who performs under the name BC Camplight -- received widespread acclaim for his one-man band take on classic pop songwriting. Marrying well-crafted if quirky pop melodies with lyrics that often dealt with dark themes informed by his struggles with depression, Philadelphia-based Christinzio's distinctive music attracted the attention of the U.K.-based label One Little Indian, which released his first two albums, 2005's Hide, Run Away and 2007's Blink of a Nihilist. Personal problems sidelined Christinzio until he made a new home in Manchester, England, signed with Bella Union, and issued How to Die in the North in 2015. His deportation from the U.K. the following year exacerbated his mental health issues ahead of 2018's Deportation Blues, though he was eventually able to return to England and complete his Manchester Trilogy of albums with 2020's Shortly After Takeoff. He continued to spin dark-witted pop gold on 2023's very personal The Last Rotation of Earth. Brian Christinzio was born in New Jersey in 1980, and developed an interest in music as a teen, singing in a choir when he wasn't busy playing football. By the time Christinzio relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2003, he'd become a capable keyboard player and a songwriter influenced by the classicism of Burt Bacharach and George Gershwin as well as idiosyncratic pop stars such as Todd Rundgren and Brian Wilson. Christinzio wrote much of his 2005 debut album, Hide, Run Away, while dealing with clinical depression, a struggle that would go on throughout his career. But Christinzio persevered, and One Little Indian released his original home-recorded tracks under his stage name of BC Camplight. His second album came two years later with Blink of a Nihilist, which again partnered Christinzio's sunny pop music and darker lyrical themes that ranged from mental illness to murder. It was his last release with One Little Indian, and he subsequently dropped off the radar for several years as his struggles with depression and addiction came to the fore. While Christinzio struggled with his own work, he occasionally performed with others, playing keyboards with fellow Philadelphians the War on Drugs and doing session work with Sharon Van Etten. Christinzio's personal and creative lives brightened when he relocated to Manchester, England, where he assembled a new live band, found new love, and got his demons under control. After hearing an album by Bella Union artist John Grant on the jukebox of his local pub, Christinzio decided to get in touch with the indie label. They signed him up and the third BC Camplight album, How to Die in the North, arrived in early 2015. However, while supporting the album, Christinzio ran afoul of U.K. immigration authorities when his visa expired, and he found himself back in Philadelphia, where his depression once again derailed his muse. As Christinzio struggled to find a way to return to the city he now thought of as home, he wrote a new set of songs, and these experiences informed his second Bella Union release, 2018's Deportation Blues. His visa issues were eventually ironed out and he resettled in England where he resumed his career. Released two years later, the chaotic Shortly After Takeoff, represented the third and final chapter of what Christinzio refers to as his Manchester Trilogy. His knack for spinning emotional turbulence into dark-witted pop was put to the test on 2023's The Last Rotation of Earth, a record inspired by the end of a nine-year relationship and his continued addiction and mental health battles. After scrapping almost all of the original sessions, Christinzio headed back to the U.K. and wrapped the album up in a mere two months, emerging with yet another crafty, sharp-witted, and deeply personal missive.
© Scott Kerr & Mark Deming /TiVo


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