Various - The Matinée Hit Parade

matcd045  /  October 2007
Various - The Matinée Hit Parade
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Various - The Matinée Hit Parade

matcd045  /  October 2007

Brilliant new compilation commemorating a decade of top quality pop music from respected California indie label Matinée Recordings. To celebrate the anniversary, the label invited 13 artists to record a new, 45-caliber A-side for its elite ‘Hit Parade’ collection, and the result is nothing less than spectacular! The collection features previously unreleased, exclusive recordings from popular Matinée artists The Guild League (Australia), Harper Lee (England), The Hermit Crabs (Scotland), Lovejoy (England), The Lucksmiths (Australia), Math and Physics Club (USA), The Pines (England), Slipslide (England), and Would-Be-Goods (England) plus Matinée debuts from new label signings Bubblegum Lemonade (Scotland), Clay Hips (Germany/Finland), The Electric Pop Group (Sweden), and Strawberry Whiplash (Scotland). Demonstrating the continuing strength of the label’s roster, this extraordinary collection serves as both an essential new release for devoted followers and a wonderful introduction for label dilettantes. A classic addition to the already esteemed Matinée discography!

  1. Math And Physics Club - A Little Romance
  2. Would-Be-Goods - Temporary Best Friend
  3. The Lucksmiths - Good Light
  4. The Electric Pop Group - My Only Inspiration
  5. Clay Hips - Failure
  6. Bubblegum Lemonade - Tyler
  7. The Hermit Crabs - Sophia
  8. Harper Lee - Ilene
  9. The Guild League - Call To Prayer
  10. Strawberry Whiplash - Summershine
  11. Slipslide - Let Things Fall Apart
  12. The Pines - Train From Wycombe
  13. Lovejoy - Astronauts


A veritable cavalcade of indie pop goodness awaits those who come across this compilation put together in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the California-based label Matinée Recordings. Released in 2007, the disc features exclusive recordings by indie pop veterans and a good handful of genuinely promising newcomers. There aren't any huge surprises here when it comes to the new tracks by the more established artists found here, but that's nothing but a good thing. The Lucksmiths’ "Good Light" is as jangly, wistful, and pop-tastic as anything the band has ever done, and the Would-Be-Goods’ "Temporary Best Friend" is a nigh-on perfect slice of C86-esque twee pop. Perhaps the most exciting contributions come from the newbies. Glasgow's Bubblegum Lemonade and Strawberry Whiplash (both masterminded, at least in part, by Laz) stand out with a couple of sweet, buzzy lo-fi tracks that smack of the Field Mice and the Orchids. Other highlights include previously unreleased tracks by Math and Physics Club and the Hermit Crabs, both of which hit a perfect, melancholy pitch. This disc offers a nice glimpse of the range and quality of indie pop put out on Matinée over the course of the past ten years. It's a nice, if brief, introduction for newcomers to Matinée's catalogue, and it offers enough shiny little rarities to make this a worthwhile listen for indie pop aficionados, too.   --All Music Guide
There are few labels as reliable and enjoyable as Matinée Recordings. Release after release – from full-length to EP to single – Matinée offers the absolute best of indie pop, spanning the vastness that genre contains (and spanning the globe as well) while never straying too far from the simple truth that a pop song should be sweet and pretty and bright. To celebrate a decade of brilliant pop, Matinée offers a nearly perfect compilation album that is a showcase of what this label is all about. Matinée requested new tracks from these bands, resulting in what it describes as 13 45-caliber, A-side originals, and so it's fitting the CD looks like a 45. Because that's how this kind of band is best enjoyed: in a 2:30 pop nugget. You have nine new tracks from Matinée standard bands plus four songs from new bands to the label, and you get bits of pop from America, Scotland, England, Australia, Sweden, Germany, and more. Math and Physics Club offer a melancholy, acoustic “A Little Romance” that's brilliant in its light and chiming nature. My favorite Matinée band, The Lucksmiths, turn out another typically brilliant track, showcasing its upbeat pop sound with “Good Light.” This band makes it sound so effortless. Echoed vocals behind light and chiming guitars highlight the starkly lovely “My Only Inspiration” by The Electric Pop Group,” and I'm greatly impressed by the gorgeous “Failure” from Germany and Finland's Clay Hips. The Hermit Crabs offer pleasant female-fronted pop, simple and light, with “Sophia.” Harper Lee's “Ilene,” (ending a trilogy of name-theme songs in a row) feels more lushly produced by comparison. This song feels melancholy and deeply introspective, and the swirling ambient nature makes this my favorite on the album. There's a more rocking and upbeat nature to “Summershine” from Strawberry Whiplash, showing off how diverse this genre can be. The longest track here is “Train from Wycombe” by The Pines, an absolute gem of a track, sweet and startling in its beauty. And Lovejoy close things off with the spacey “Astronauts,” showcasing the more electronic nature of the genre. Either you're a fan of Matinée Recordings and this brand of blissful indie-pop or you're not. This compilation probably won't win you over. But for those who like light drums, chiming guitars, gorgeous vocals, and light, airy production to your pop, you won't find any better. These are the best bands in the genre on the best label, offering up wonderful new tracks to commemorate a brilliant run. That makes The Matinée Hit Parade a true gift.   --Delusions of Adequacy
The California indie label Matinée Recordings has been one of my favourite labels for a long time, and this new compilation of Matinée artists "The Matinée Hit Parade" does not make me stop loving the label. 13 songs by 13 bands, and not a single one of them are worth using the skip-button on your cd player for. This is an impressive compilation with 13 stand-out tracks, all in the "Matinée-style" of jangly, (bitter)sweet, super-melodic popmusic. All songs on this album are exclusive, and I did not expect that the compilation would work this well as an album. I rarely find a compilation where the tracks work this well together, and it’s perfectly put together by the people at Matinée. Respect to them! The artists on the Matinée Hit Parade includes some veterans from the label roster, like Math and Physics Club, The Lucksmiths, The Guild League, Harper Lee, Lovejoy and others + some album-debutants like The Hermit Crabs and several fresh signings on the label, like Bubblegum Lemonade, Strawberry Whiplash, Clay Hips and The Electric Pop Group. The 1:52 minutes long opener from Math and Physics Club, "A Little Romance", is among the best I’ve heard from the band, and "Sophia" from The Hermit Crabs has every quality I missed on their debut album (don’t misunderstand me, - "Saw You Dancing" from the Hermit Crabs was quite a good album). The Would Be Goods’ "Temporary Best Friend" is a brilliantly crafted popsong with a chorus that stays with you forever. For some reason I’ve never used much of my time on The Would Be Goods, but this album has made me go out and buy the band’s latest album "The Morning After" (which I also like a lot). The new band The Clay Hips impresses me with their beautiful and relaxed "Failure", with vocals that makes me warm inside. This track was in fact the first one that really hit me with its beauty, and I could listen to it over and over again without getting tired of it. The other new bands also do a brilliant job. Sweden’s The Electric Pop Group is a band I’ve kept my ears on for some time, and it’s great to hear their fine contribution on this album. Great track! Matinée celebrates their 10-year anniversary this year, and judging from these new bands, the future looks very bright for the label. By the way, I just have to say some words about the design of the album, which is beautiful. The actual cd looks like a 7" vinyl record, and it put a smile on my face when I opened the cover! Very nice! The Matinée label continues to be one of my favourites, and if you haven’t bought this gem yet, please do yourself a favor and get it at once. This is as close to perfect a label compilation can get.   --Eardrums
"the matinée hit parade" compilation, sold as a celebration of 10 yrs of this most rewarding label's past, is actually a very positive primer on its future - perhaps the best v/a comp of this ilk since we set hands on the bus stop label's "peppermint stick parade" somewhere in the previous century. starting with our favourite: harper lee always excel - sob, excelled - in simple brilliance, and "ilene" is cut from the same cloth, all uncomplicated thoughts and unforgiving battery of the emotions as keris howard turns on the taps of regret and floods the place to oblivion. there are elements to "ilene" which do perfectly recall his brittle youth in brighter - the "la-la-la's", the cascading second vocal, the lack of swearing - but once again there is something grown-up, wearier, about the words and the way they hang off the keyboards, and the chime of the picked guitars, that is pure harper lee, and a reminder of what we are all going to be missing so… and graeme elston has been making great records for 16 / 17 years, at least. while we enjoyed the last couple of slipslide sets we saw in london, "let things fall apart" seems to have a little more pizazz and sparkle than some of the other songs - it's a sweepingly fine, grown-up record, with sentiment as sorrowful and unyielding as harper lee's, yet it's still recognisably by the same guy who was recording scuzzier, but equally charming and intelligent pop songs for a turntable friend and co nigh on a generation ago… lovejoy’s “astronauts” is richard preece at his glimmering best - a most worthy tribute to the late keith girdler which is good enough that it could have sheltered without disgrace on lovejoy's "everybody hates" album. can we have a single, please? … the would-be-goods "temporary best friend" is yep, more from this damn (fine) matinée comp. this is the WBGs sounding not un-heavenly, fact fans, which may not be surprising as this is a p. momtchiloff composition of the old school. as such, it rolls and roars and jangles supersweetly… having got over mild disappointment that the electric pop group are not a pop group tribute band, i can at least report that they are fairly ace, sounding a bit like a more mannered sea urchins or the clouds, and that "my only inspiration", with even a touch of the "velocity girl"s at the end, is now a permanent fixture in our empty little heads here at in love with these times, in spite with these times mansions. as correspondents have mentioned, our northern european neighbours are really making a mark on indie-pop at the moment - there's more to the scandos than just pitergrind, you know… on “good light” the lucksmiths have a slightly more driving (er, less languorous) sound and are all the fresher for it: and it seems perfectly conceivable to us that they are going to be making records this good at least until the end of time, which is a win / win for humanity we think.   --In Love With These Times In Spite Of These Times
To celebrate 10 years of releasing music Matinée Recordings have compiled the ‘Matinée Hit Parade’. It features 13 of the artists on their impressive roster and the CD is designed to look like a vinyl single. This is no run of the mill compilation either with each and every contribution being set to a single release standard. This means you get brand new recordings from the likes of Matinée stalwarts The Pines and Harper Lee as well as tracks from more recent artists such as The Hermit Crabs and the Math and Physics Club. The album also sees the début of bands new to the Matinée roster being tasters to forthcoming releases. The Electric Pop Group prove that their début album was no one off with the splendid My Only Inspiration with its underlying shimmering shoegazing currents. Two big plusses are the appearances of Scottish acts Bubblegum Lemonade and Strawberry Whiplash whose demo mp3's I have been playing to death what seems months now. Both bands manage to recreate the classic 1980's indie pop sound to great effect, both being influenced by the echoes of Glasgow musical past. London based Slipslide are a new name on me despite forming in 2001 and their track Let Things Fall Apart is the highlight for me. Jangling guitars and melancholy vocals. It's wonderful and has me scuttling off to find out more which I suppose is the purpose of compilations like these. And what of the rest? There is not one filler or weak track here from The Lucksmiths Good Light to German newcomers Clay Hips with the lovely Failure. You would be hard pressed to come up with a better compilation if you were making your own mixtape. Don't rain on their parade and buy!
Indie pop from the more fey end of the spectrum is woefully underrepresented in today's musical climate. Thankfully Matinée Records, one of the last bastions of twee, have the resources to piece together Hit Parade. The label spotlights acts from around the globe -- from Sweden to Japan to Scotland to Australia -- and makes a convincing case of the genre's universality if not chart-topping popularity. There's something charming in the unsteady waltz footing of Math and Physics Club's opening plea "A Little Romance" that continues through the desperate strum of The Lucksmiths' "Good Light" and the serene defeatist attitude of Clay Hips' "Failure." In general what sets this style of indie pop apart from other styles that deal in tales of regret and rejection is that the emotional downward pull rarely ever overcomes the joyous unknown of the future, a musical jangle to bolster depression up to a livable melancholy. Hit Parade taps into the best of this sound from mostly unknown, but instantly familiar-sounding acts -- for example The Hermit Crabs could be an offshoot of Camera Obscura, and Harper Lee's "Ilene" sounds like an electro/acoustic reworking of New Order's "Your Silent Face." All told, compilation or not, this is one of the better albums of this year.   --Ink 19
Label samplers have a tendency to be one thing or another. They are either a wonderful low cost introduction to a label and their eclectic roster of acts you may not be familiar with or a desperate attempt to foist underperforming and unloved acts on to an unsuspecting public. I am delighted to report that Matinée has effortlessly succeeded in being the former. The Matinée label is based in Santa Barbara, California but boast an international signing policy. This disc features diverse acts from The USA, Scotland, England, Australia, Finland, Germany and Sweden. For me the greatest surprise is discovering three new Scottish bands that I had not previously heard of namely The Hermit Crabs, Bubblegum Lemonade & Strawberry Whiplash. The whole feel of this enterprise is like the seminal samplers released by labels such as Creation and Rough Trade at the end of the 80’s. Things kick off with ‘A Little Romance’ from America’s The Math & Physics Club. Straight away the twee-omoter is off the scale. Sounding like Mulligan & O’Hare this falls just the right side of laugh out loud funny. Given what follows I suspect that tongues were firmly planted in cheeks during recording. Next up is ‘Temporary Best Friend’ from England’s Would-be-Goods. All jangly guitars and sharp harmonies this floats along nicely and sounds like the offspring of The Jasmine Minks or Tallulah Gosh. This is followed by ‘Good Light’ from The Lucksmiths (Australia). Their track Good Light is a much more straightforward three minutes of indie Oz style. Sounding like the dearly departed Go-Betweens this is excellent. Four tracks in and it’s Sweden’s turn. The Electric Pop Group treat us to ‘My Only Inspiration’ and I’m taken back to The Sea Urchins, Felt et al. Track five and I’m overcome with a sense of deja-vu (but you knew I’d say that). This time it’s brought on by German/Finish hybrid Clay Hips and Failure. It could be 1984 and any one of a dozen or so Glasgow bands who chose acoustic guitars and sunny vocals. Appropriately enough next up is ‘Tyler’ by Glasgow’s very own Bubblegum Lemonade. A quick look at their webpage describes them as “The Velvets meeting The Monkees in a big funnel” and that’s not too far from the mark. Buzzing along like an off cut from Primal Scream’s Sonic Flower Groove album this is all very lovely and also very 1985. Anyone else remember The Brilliant Corners? Staying in Glasgow The Hermit Crabs are next to try their luck with Sophia. Wispy vocals from Melanie Whittle resonate over yet more jangly guitars and a quiet tambourine. Ms. Whittle’s vocals and the gentle violin make this stand out from the crowd. Rather charming, rather twee and a reminder of simpler times when indie-pop ruled the world. Harper Lee (England) is next to take the floor with ‘Ilene’. Then it’s back to Australia with The Guild League and ‘Call to Prayer’. Maybe it was the vocal and location but I was reminded of Paul Kelly at his quietest and most reflective points. It could equally have been Terry Hall though. This gives way to Strawberry Whiplash and ‘Summershine’. This time dirty guitars roar under the floaty vocals al a Mary Lou Lord. Closing my eyes it feels like 1988 and I can almost smell The Jasmine Minks. The disc is closed out with three offerings from England. ‘Let Things Fall Apart’ from Slipside, ‘Train’ from Wycombe by The Pines and ‘Astronauts’ from Lovejoy. Being of a certain vintage (mid 30’s) this is a truly fantastic nostalgia trip. Whilst I have never previously encountered any of these artists I feel like they are all old friends. There is nothing original or fresh within this collection but this doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Having listened to the forty five minutes (appropriately enough) of this disc the world seems like a better place. I have also been reminded of all of the reasons I fell in love with the joys of indie pop all those years ago. The wide geographical spread of the artists simply proves that the genre never died it was simply hiding in its bedroom all this time.   --Is This Music?
A faithful disciple of the underground British indie-pop scene of 1986, Matinée recordings has admirably carried the torch of Sarah Records forward into the 21st century. To celebrate 10 years of releasing records, label boss Jimmy Tassos has compiled this excellent compilation of the cream of the label’s roster and released it under the touchingly nostalgic title of ‘The Matinée Hit Parade’. Despite the bands being from across the globe (England, Sweden, America, Germany, Australia and Scotland), the compilation sits together seamlessly with their shared love of making delightful pop nuggets gelling them perfectly. Veterans The Lucksmiths provide the pick with the infectious ‘Good Light’ and singer Tali White also pops up with his other band, the Guild League, with the similarly strong ‘Call To Prayer’. Elsewhere Math And Physics Club are present and correct with their usual compact and catchiness on track ‘A Little Romance’ and the Would-Be-Goods embody the spirit of The Primitives at their twee best with ‘Temporary Best Friend’, while The Hermit Crabs and Harper Lee unveil their fine wares with ‘Sophia’ and ‘Ilene’ respectively. Looking forward to The Matinée Hit Parade 2 in another 10 years….   --Pennyblack Magazine
Released to celebrate ten years of Matinée, this collection merely serves to underline what a strong roster that Matinée Recordings have, virtually no squad players in a team of this quality. It’s difficult to pick anything out of such greatness, but at a push I’d go for Would-Be-Goods sumptuous Temporary Best Friend and the near perfect pop of The Lucksmiths Good Light. But then there’s the delicate and deliberated My Only Inspiration by The Electric Pop Group, which is pretty great too, as is Clay Hips china like Failure. Anyway, you can see my problem. Even the bands I haven’t got round to mentioning are still good, its just they face stiff competition. Then you get The Hermit Crabs doing their delightful girl led thing with Sophia, The Guild League showing off the wonderfully woozy Call To Prayer, Strawberry Whiplash who fuzz it up with Summershine and The Pines, whose Train To Wycombe is like hearing choral singing on a sunny afternoon. Magnificent stuff.   --Russell’s Reviews
Matinée Recordings might not be releasing 7” singles anymore, but they still get the art of the format, of a snappy song that sounds like a hit, even if only 20 people ever hear it. With a disc painted to resemble a 7” and cover art of a record player with records scattered about, The Matinée Hit Parade is a CD collection of imaginary hit singles. It’s songs that fit that mold even though they’re exclusive to this release. There are new songs by Matinée stalwarts, up-and-comers, and brand-new bands with their own spark and knack for the art of crafting a pop song, Matinée’s specialty. All 13 songs are remarkably good for a collection like this, where usually you’d expect the bands to be holding back the better stuff. It’s a stand-out album of its own, not just a reservoir for cast-offs. The ever-impressive Math and Physics Club open the album right with the sweet come-on “A Little Romance,” leading the way for a couple snappy upbeat songs from the Would-Be-Goods and the Lucksmiths that each match their usual standard of excellence. Though later there’s equally fine work from other indie-pop heroes like Harper Lee, The Pines, Slipslide (the sadly beautiful “Let Things Fall Apart”), the Guild League (The Lucksmiths’ Tali White’s travelogue project, continuing with aplomb, with the Middle-East voyage of “Call to Prayer”) and Lovejoy (“Astronauts”, a spell-binding closer), a decent portion of the CD is given over to introducing the newest bands on Matinée. They all fit in nicely within the label’s aesthetic – no surprises there – and their songs are all memorable. The new bands are The Electric Pop Group, Clay Hips (with Andrew Leavitt of The Fairways), and three bands from Glasgow, Scotland: Bubblegum Lemonade, Strawberry Whiplash and the Hermit Crabs, who recent EP and CD were very fine Matinée releases. I’m particularly taken with the bouncy yet hazy, alert and melancholy Bubblegum Lemonade song “Tyler”, but all fit in seamlessly. More stars in Matinée’s parade of hits.   --Erasing Clouds
Hey hey - Matinée Recordings recently reached its tenth birthday, and to celebrate, they've given us a present! This disc collects a baker's dozen songs from a variety of the label's current roster, and they're all exclusive to this release. Many of the bands are the typical Matinée hitmakers, including the Lucksmiths, Math And Physics Club, Would-Be-Goods, Slipslide, Lovejoy, Harper Lee, the Guild League and the Pines, but we also get a peek into the label's future, with five new bands: Gothenburg's Electric Pop Group, Clay Hips (ex-Fairways, and sounding every bit of it!), and a trio of Glaswegian groups - Strawberry Whiplash, Bubblegum Lemonade and the Hermit Crabs (who have only been on the label a year, so I still consider 'em new). Pretty much every song on this disc is a winner, but if you're a fan of Matinée Recordings and its bands, I bet you'll already know that!   --IndiePages
The Californian label Matinée loves songs that are jangly, modest in scale, neat in enunciation, tidily formed, and often wistfully expressed—short bundles of gentle catchiness without bluster, without brag. This tenth-anniversary compilation is a collection of new songs from both their star acts and newcomers to their label. The highlight is perhaps “Call to Prayer” from The Guild League (a side project of The Lucksmiths’ Tali White). The narrator, visiting Turkey, notices not only the “wind off the Aegean Sea / That whips the high clouds silently” as he looks over the war graves at Lone Pine, but also the good bread and hospitality of the locals. It makes an interesting postscript to Eric Bogle’s “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”. A strong compilation.   --Pop Matters
Matinée Records, label pop de Santa-Barbara, est fondé en 1997 par Jimmy Tassos. Après réception de quelques démos, Jimmy se lance il y a 10 ans avec deux groupes dont les Lucksmiths. Un label qui sort les disques par poignée, joue, mise, et gagne! au total: plus de 35 albums. Et le Matinée Records de sortir The Matinée hit-parade en Octobre 2007, une compilation pour fêter ces 10 années fertiles. 13 titres fabuleux qui portent la pop en étendard.   --Kingem