Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Cut a Big Pink Cake for Matinée Recordings

This is going to feel like "This Is Your Life," but it's a life well worth celebrating. As Matinée Recordings turns 20, I'm struck by how much of my favorite music has come from the label. From its humble D.C. beginnings, when founder Jimmy Tassos bucked late '90s trends and actually put out 7" singles by indie-pop bands from around the world, to the left-coast move and an expanded stable of stars, including even an American band (Math and Physics Club) that unexpectedly fit Matinée's distinct aesthetic, Matinée has been nothing but quality.

Like many of you, it was the Lucksmiths that brought me to Matinée. More specifically, it was the "Untidy Towns" 7". I imagine those Aussies helped pay many of the label's bills, but there have been so many memorable releases among Matinée's 79 albums and 93 singles that only a list will do. To celebrate 20 years as a label, here are my 20 favorite Matinée releases. No rules. Singles, compilations and anything else from the label are eligible. Apologies in advance for releases that show my age.

The Matinée 20 on 20
20. Airport Girl - 'Honey, I'm an Artist'
19. Remember Fun - "Train Journeys" EP
18. Seabirds - "Real Tears" 7"
17. Sportique - 'Modern Museums' 10"
16. Tender Trap - '6 Billion People'
15. Math and Physics Club - 'Our Hearts Beat Out Loud'
14. Razorcuts - "A Is For Alphabet" EP
13. The Popguns - "Lovejunky" 7"
12. Brighter - 'Singles 1989-1992'
11. The Sugargliders - 'A Nest With a View 1990-1994'
10. Brighter - 'Out to Sea'
9. The Perfect English Weather - 'Isobar Blues'
8. The Lucksmiths - 'First Frost'
7. Northern Portrait - 'Ta!'
6. Razorcuts - 'R Is For Razorcuts'
5. The Catenary Wires - 'Red Red Skies'
4. The Siddeleys - 'Slum Clearance'
3. The Popguns - 'Pop Fiction'
2. Cats on Fire - 'Our Temperance Movement'
1. The Lucksmiths - 'Warmer Corners'

Matinée is on fire right now, with new bands and albums just around the corner. So, obviously this list is fluid. You already know about 'Sugar Kisses,' the new one from the Popguns that's sure to make the list above soon, but we now know about some other poptastic releases out now or just around the corner. The Lucksmiths are sorely missed, but Marty Donald returns to the fold with a new band, called Last Leaves, and some of the fellas from his old band will make appearances on a new album due out this fall. There are other new signings, too, including Tinsel Heart from Sweden and the Royal Landscaping Society from Spain.

To mark 20 years, the just released compilation 'Matinée Idols' includes a song from all three of these new bands, as well as songs from many of your favorite bands on the label's roster. Best of all, these are previously unreleased, exclusive, or rare recordings. My copy is on the way, and I have been stalking the postman all week. Here is the tracklist and a few of the songs to stream. Happy birthday, Matinée!

'Matinée Idols'
1. Champagne Riot - Ingrid Bergman
2. The Popguns - So Long
3. The Electric Pop Group - Postcard
4. Last Leaves - Something Falls
5. Tinsel Heart - Talk
6. Strawberry Whiplash - Me, My Selfie and I
7. The Royal Landscaping Society - Moon
8. Math and Physics Club - Shadows Longer
9. The Catenary Wires - You Save Me From Myself
10. Seabirds - Independent Horses
11. The Perfect English Weather - Under My Feet
12. Bubblegum Lemonade - Set The Boy Free
13. The Hermit Crabs - Game Plan
14. Azure Blue - New Moon


TheRobster said...

Bought the new Popguns album from Bandcamp last night. Not had chance to listen to it yet, but it's being burned for the car tomorrow...!

Brian said...

Terrific, Robster. Mine is in transit as well, along with this Matinee comp. Have both as the downloads and have listened off and on the last day or so. Loving them both. Off to your place to read about Saint Etienne. Your string of shows never ceases to impress.

Misterprime said...

The notification arrived just in time for me to order the Popguns album and stick the download on my phone to listen to on the train on the way to the Wedding Present gig in Leicester. Neither the album nor the gig disappointed...

Brian said...

Now that's a nice night, Misterprime. Off to listen to Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft and Beaten Up Guitar. That will make a nice twofer.

JC said...

Such incredible enthusiasm on show here (again!!)

And having listened to snippets of those songs from 'Matinee Idols', I can totally understand why. I'm going to get myself a copy of this. Thanks so much Brian.