Happy Birthday, Matinée Recordings

If you’re a long time reader of The Indie Handbook, then you are, no doubt, familiar with Matinée Recordings. Strawberry Whiplash, a Matinée band, was one of the first artists we ever covered here, way back in the spring of 2009. (I can’t believe I’ve been doing this that long.) Since then, they have continued to release so many great records, that I haven’t been able to cover them all. After all, I can’t let this turn into a Matinée only blog, as easy and consistently good as that would be.

But Matinée reaches a particularly important milestone this month. In November of 2013, Matinée Recordings turns 15! Now that I’ve had some experience running a record label, I can tell you firsthand what a huge accomplishment that is. This business is hard, and to produce a constant stream of high quality records the way Jimmy and the folks at Matinée have over the last 15 years is a big deal (and quite an undertaking). I could learn a lot from them.

Need a refresher? Some of the Matinée bands we’ve covered here in the past include: Strawberry Whiplash, Cats On Fire, Math and Physics Club, and September Girls. You may remember how much I loved Math and Physics Club’s I Shouldn’t Look as Good as I Do and that I am in love with just about everything Strawberry Whiplash have done. But I don’t think I ever mentioned how I fell head over heels for Northern Portrait, just like any good Smiths fan would. It’s an oversight I still regret to this day, three years after I received that first Northern Portrait promo.

Thankfully, hope is not lost. I have been given a chance to redeem myself. In celebration of their 15th anniversary, Matinée Recordings are releasing A Sunday Matinée, a compilation of unreleased tracks, rarities, and exclusives from many of the bands that have helped make Matinée the breeding ground for top class indie pop that it is today. Included on A Sunday Matinée are bands like Strawberry Whiplash, September Girls, Math and Physics Club, Bubblegum Lemonade, my beloved Northern Portrait, and Matinée legends The Lucksmiths and, of course, many more.

Normally, this is the point where I would provide you with a tracklist for the album. But, in this case, we’ve been provided with a Soundcloud playlist and, if I’m reading this email correctly, I have permission to share the whole playlist with you and, let’s be honest, that’s far more useful than a list of band names. I will say, I am particularly enamored of the Northern Portrait and Math and Physics Club tracks, though my Strawberry Whiplash Law of Unconditional Love does hold up through their contribution to this album.

The album is to be officially released on November 12, but it is available now through the Matinée website. So, after you have a listen, pop over to the website, and pick up a copy of the CD so you can pop it in your car stereo like I will, and spend the next four months pretending it’s summer.

OK, fine. I’ll give you a tracklist anyway.

A Sunday Matinée – Various Artists

1. Bart and Friends – There’s No Place
2. Northern Portrait – The Young And Hopefuls
3. Bubblegum Lemonade – You Can’t Be Sad All The Time
4. September Girls – Danny Wood
5. Simpático – The Rays
6. Would-Be-Goods – No More Tearstained Makeup
7. Charlie Big Time – One Step Closer To Enemies
8. The Lucksmiths – When I’m Walking
9. The Electric Pop Group – Parliament Square
10. Strawberry Whiplash – September Saturday
11. Math And Physics Club – I Know It’s Over
12. The Steinbecks – Through The Curtain
13. Pale Sunday – In The Hardest Moment
14. Clay Hips – Someone Who Wanders
15. Melodie Group – Only Forever

Best Songs of 2010

It’s that time of year again: the time when I bombard you with list after list of my favourite musical bits of 2010. At first, I thought I might rank them like everybody else does, but I’m too in love with everything on this list to choose any one song over any other. Likewise, I reserve the right to add to this list for at least the next week. For example, in the last 10 minutes, I have realised that I had neglected to include two songs I was absolutely mad about for most of the summer (my sincerest apologies to IDRchitecture and Polarsets). No worries, though, I’ll notify the intarwebs of any amendments to this list.

So, here you go. In no particular order (well, in pseudo-alphabetical order), my favourite songs of 2010.

[Links to streaming tracks, videos, official sites, and any posts I’ve already written are provided wherever possible.]

Allo Darlin’ – “My Heart Is a Drummer” [bandcamp]

Belle & Sebastian – “I Want the World to Stop” [video] [review]

Dimbleby & Capper – “Black Smoke/ Burning House” [bandcamp] [interview] [interview part 2]

Dimbleby & Capper – “Raise It Right” [soundcloud]

Dimbleby & Capper – “Want This”  [download]

IDRchitecture – “Mortimer” [free download] [website]

Math and Physics Club – “We’re So DIY” [youtube] [website] [review]

Ivan Moult – “Fetch Me a Bucket” [video] [myspace] [review]

Polarsets – “Leave Argentina” [bandcamp]

Public Service Broadcasting – “New Dimensions in Sound” [download] [bandcamp]

Secret Sisters – “Big River” [Third Man Records page]

Sarah Kirkland Snider – “Circe and the Hanged Man” [bandcamp] [album] [website] [review]

Super Desserts – “I Only Love You Because You Can Play Guitar” [bandcamp] [album] [review]

Super Desserts – “Crush on You” [bandcamp] [album] [review]

Those Dancing Days – “Fuckarias” [mp3] [review]

BONUS: because I failed to place it in it’s proper place in 2009 (and because there is an official video now) . . .

The Black Atlantic – “Fragile Meadow” [bandcamp] [album] [website] [review]

We’re So DIY!

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything from Seattle’s Math and Physics Club (well, technically not for me since I first heard them just as I was getting involved in this blogging racket about 15 months ago). But it’s been three years since the release of the band’s last EP, Baby I’m Yours. So, for the collective “we”, I Shouldn’t Look as Good as I Do is another bright spot in a year that is producing no shortage of indie pop magic. Then again, what else do you expect from Matinée Recordings?

From the opening bars of “Jimmy had a Polaroid” (also the first single off the album), the boys staked their claim to a permanent spot in my amorphous summer road-trip rotation, further cementing their position with the singable shuffle of “We Make a Pair”. Frequently, I Shouldn’t Look as Good as I Do finds Charles Bert’s vocals reminiscent of the tonal clarity of Sondre Lerche, especially on tracks like the sparkling “Will You Still Love Me” (alongside Jen Garrett [Stuporville]) and the traipsing theatrics of “Everybody Loves a Showtune” (which could easily be mistaken for a lost New Vaudeville Band B-side).

And of course I have to mention the closer “We’re So DIY”, which I am unofficially adopting as our official theme song. Check us out selling records in the back. / Hand-designed custom jacket with a badge. / We’ll never carry up the charts / but we’ll be the indie stars / that everybody hearts. / We’re so DIY! I couldn’t have said it better myself (in fact, I am half tempted to replace the “About Us” page with the lyrics to this song). It is clear from this album that Math and Physics Club know the way to an indie kid’s heart and, for the rest of the general public who don’t already, they’ve provided a road map. The whole trip will take about 25 minutes.

Download – Math and Physics Club, “Jimmy Had a Polaroid” mp3

Also from Matinée this month is Dealing In Antiques, a 20-track collection of EPs, B-sides, and new recordings by Finland’s Cats On Fire. Dealing In Antiques is essential for anyone who loves good pop music, Scandinavia, or the lingering ghost of the Smiths. Oh, by the way, most of the EPs these tracks are taken from are sold-out, so this is the only way you’re going to hear them. So, buy it. It’s 20 tracks and a brilliant investment, at least it is if you’re sort of person who likes the sort of music that you can enjoy. It’s provided hours of entertainment for me since I first listened to it last week—that is, when I haven’t been busy reveling in Math and Physics Club (see above).

Download – Cats On Fire, “Your Woman” mp3