Matinée 50! CD
Format*
CD  $6.00
Digital download  $6.00

Various Artists - Matinée 50! CD

matinée 050   /   July 2003
 #zzz
  1. Gregory Webster - Untidy Towns
  2. Melodie Group - Emmanuelle Béart
  3. The Guild League - Between Delta and Delaware
  4. The Snowdrops - Summerness
  5. The Visitors - Sad Kaleidoscope
  6. Airport Girl - Three Sixty Degrees
  7. Pipas - You Kill Me
  8. The Lucksmiths - Falling Off Of My Feet Again
  9. Sportique - Goldmining
  10. The Windmills - Striking Out On Your Own
  11. The Pines - Darling, Don't You Think?
  12. Harper Lee - Motorway
  13. Slipslide - Wildest Dream
  14. The Fairways - Sunday, Lovely Sunday
  15. Would-Be-Goods - Southernmost
  16. Lovejoy - Drug Autumn
  17. Pale Sunday - Just Friends
  18. The Liberty Ship - Desert Song
  19. Simpático - Train Not Stopping
  20. Kosmonaut - Northern Angel

Brilliant low-price compilation commemorating the 50th single released on Matinée Recordings. To celebrate, the label invited 20 artists to record a cover version of a favorite song previously released on Matinée, and this is the result. Some people may call 20 favorites an album, but we like to think of it as our latest extended play single instead. This collection is a labor of love showcasing the tremendous artists with whom Matinée has had the honor of working during the past six years. With exclusive tracks from Airport Girl, The Fairways, The Guild League, Harper Lee, Kosmonaut, The Liberty Ship, Lovejoy, The Lucksmiths, Melodie Group, Pale Sunday, The Pines, Pipas, Simpático, Slipslide, The Snowdrops, Sportique, The Visitors, Gregory Webster, The Windmills and Would-Be-Goods, this compilation is an essential release for all fans of the label and associated bands.

 
reviews
ooh, it's all good this month. although not wishing to reopen fruitless "is matinée the new sarah?" debates, it is at least worth leaving the door ajar, for despite all the palpable differences between the labels (not least the fact that sarah was a punk label) one of the "givens" with sarah was demonstrable strength in depth, almost a kitemark of quality (in contrast to subway or creation where the sublime and ridiculous mingled without shame). matinée 50, a maxi-compilation of 20 matinée bands covering 20 others, brings home that in this respect they are treading similar ground to sarah - more or less every song, and artist, are gratifyingly recognisable, and if the idea is for listeners to this compilation, perhaps new to the territory, to become intrigued both with the covering artist and the original song, then the conceit works marvellously. we are not exaggerating when we say that one in love with these times in spite of these times contributor fell off his chair when disclosed the tantalising tracklist to this record. suffice it to say that you will collectively be toppling from your bar stools no later than track one, for it is gregory webster giving the "razorcuts" treatment to the lucksmiths' mighty "untidy towns", and trust us it virtually justifies the admission alone. and yet there is more. of the bands that shed the kid gloves and decide to playfully duff the originals up a bit, the highlights are the snowdrops' deconstruction of melodie group's gorgeous "summerness" single, pale sunday's surprisingly convincing shoegaze reworking of sportique's jolly "just friends", the liberty ship's electro cover of kosmonaut's recent 45 "desert song" and kosmonaut returning the favour by taking the liberty ship's last single "northern angel" (btw please ignore the insane review of this record in the otherwise true-to-da-game tasty) and giving it a treatment equal parts my bloody valentine, revolving paint dream and big beat. if they could persuade dennis bovell or someone to turn up an orchestrate a dub version, we would all be rocking - perhaps a matinée dub album can be the next label project ? on the other hand, there are tracks that are just, hey, great bands doing great songs - slipslide take melodie group's first ever number for the label, the irradescent "wildest dream" and enhance its classic credentials further, while just the sound of keris howard's voice leads harper lee into a near-perfect and slightly simpático (in all possible senses) rendition of monterey's old skool delight "motorway". it is a compliment to matinée that many of the bands find themselves taking on originals so stormin' that matching them is virtually impossible - sportique's skanked up "goldmining" could never compete with the visitors' sublime mesh of pop yearning (although when gregory shouts "version!" as if he thinks he's u-roy, that's entertainment), simpático's tender take of "train not stopping" could never be more than a valiant attempt to re-style harper lee's original and the visitors, no strangers to classic flexi-discs, confront themselves with an all-time generational classic in the razorcuts' "sad kaleidoscope". to whet your appetite further, we think we've just time to mention the fairways doing edson's "sunday lovely sunday" in the style of beaumont, the pines doing the fairways' "darling, don't you think" almost as a field mice song, which is intriguing in itself, and the would be goods come out smelling of roses too - both on the receiving end of melodie group's unabashedly glammed-up "emmanuelle béart" (another chance to savour the "salade niçoise" / "gauloises" rhyme) and in performing their own pulchitrudinous revival of the lucksmiths' "southernmost". if you have liked anything you've heard on the matinée roster, this release is absolutely compulsory.   --In Love With These Times In Spite Of These Times
Such has been the outrageously high level of music coming out of the Matinée stable, many have compared this American label with mid-80s Creation. And I don't think that's much of an over-exaggeration. The last two years have seen The Lucksmiths, The Liberty Ship, Pipas, Slipslide, The Melodie Group, Harper Lee, Would-be-Goods, The Guild League and The Windmills all release fantastic pop records through Matinée, and all of these bands are featured here. The wheeze on this, as always, immaculately packaged album, is for each band to cover another band's Matinée release. Nearly all work well, but special mention must go to The Windmills' cartwheeling version of Airport Girl's sumptuous 'Striking Out on Your Own'. Just to show how sweet and lovely Airport Girl are, they provide the album's centrepiece in the perfect version of The Windmill's 'Three Sixty Degrees'. Special mentions also go to The Liberty Ship's serene reading of Kosmonaut's 'Desert Song' and Harper Lee's beautiful reworking of Monterey's 'Motorway'. Jimmy Tassos is obviously a man of high taste. Matinée is my favourite label, and whilst it keeps throwing moments of pop light my way, it will continue to be so. A half century of pop gems has never sounded so good.   --Tasty
....I'll be eagerly anticipating the Matinée 50 compilation wherein a whole bunch of Matinée artists will record each others songs in a grand melange of incestuous nepotism. Matinée, in case you're wondering, will be one of the finest labels of its era, with a roster of artists that will include the lucksmiths the windmills (whose first incarnation i am looking forward to catching when the calendar has rolled on to 1986) and Sportique. Matinée will stilll believe in the notion of independent pop (as opposed to indie pop) and Matinée 50 will be released as a single masquerading as an album (or perhaps the other way round). With Lovejoy doing Drug Autumn, a reformed Visitors tilting at Sad Kaleidoscope and The Snowdrops smooching through Summerness, it will all sound ineffably cool.   --Careless Talk Costs Lives #2
What a brilliant little concept this is, getting the label's roster to cover songs from the back catalog! It's terribly brilliant, too--but that's not surprising, really, considering the wonderful pop records that Mr. Jimmy Tassos has released over the past six years. It's a brilliant idea to celebrate their fiftieth release, which is also a pretty amazing accomplishment for this young, six-year old label--even more impressive when you consider that most of his releases over the past year have been consistently strong and well-received. There are twenty songs on Matinée 50! to pick and choose from, and I'm sure that you'll find one or two that will be your new favorite Matinée song! Personally, I've got a few that are already zooming up my personal fav-o-rite song charts, including Melodie Group's cover of The Would-Be-Good's hit "Emmanuelle Beart," The Guild League's jazzy cover of Airport Girl's "Between Delta and Delaware," The Pines' lovely country torch of The Fairways' "Darling, Don't You Think?" and Simpatico's moody, sad cover of the even sadder Harper Lee's "Train Not Stopping." Personally, I'm most impressed by the cover of Sportique's "Just Friends" by Matinée's newest superstars, Pale Sunday. These kids from Brazil really know their way around a pop song, and Luiz Gustavo has one of the sweetest, most seductive voices I've heard in ages. Everyone I know agrees--this is a band to watch! Here's to 50 great releases so far--and hopefully 50 more! I know that whenever I get a package in the mail that says Matinée Recordings on it, I can rest assured that the contents will be nothing short of high-quality. Jimmy's really struck gold with his label, and it's a safe bet to say that the Matinée logo is one to trust. A toast, then, to quality pop music!!   --Mundane Sounds
Matinée 50! celebrates the 50th release for the stylish indie pop champions Matinée Recordings. Based in the extremely unindie locale of Santa Barbara, the label has released a boatload of fine records by many fine groups from the U.K. and Australia: the Lucksmiths, Airport Girl, the Razorcuts, and Harper Lee, to name but a few. For this collection, Jimmy Matinée had the brilliant idea that he should ask current bands to record their favorite song from the Matinée catalog. The artists did a bang-up job of choosing tracks to cover, and the disc is a charming listen throughout. Standout tracks are the Guild League's rollicking version of Airport Girl's "Between Delta and Delaware," Airport Girl's epic take on the Windmills' "Three Sixty Degrees," the Fairways' delicate version of "Edson's Sunday, Lovely Sunday," and Simpatico's suitably sad take on Harper Lee's "Train Not Stopping" that sounds like a cross between Joy Division and the Moonglows. The bands and songs on Matinée 50! are uniformly twee, precious, sweet, heart-breaking, and totally heartfelt: all the things that make indie pop so great. A fitting tribute to one of the labels keeping indie pop alive.   --All Music Guide
Compilation albums are created for all sorts of reasons, but I can't think of a better one than to celebrate a record label that's been releasing high-quality music, independent of big money, for a substantial period of time. Matinée 50 celebrates the 50th single released by the great pop label Matinée, who've released remarkable recordings by The Windmills, The Lucksmiths, Sportique, Harper Lee, and so many other great bands (read the reviews in our back issues). And it does so not by collecting together the label's "greatest hits," but by having their musicians cover whichever Matinée-released song they'd like. This keeps the attention on the music, while also letting the musicians have some fun with other people's songs. The fact they're covering the songs of musicians they respect and admire, as opposed to covering a song for its kitsch value or as a means of destroying it, is important to Matinée 50's success. That reverance means that the artists take their task seriously. It doesn't mean that the songs are play-it-by-numbers covers, just that they're not out to desecrate. The resulting compilation might not be as essential as the original recordings, but it's just as enjoyable. From Gregory Webster's rough but loving opening take on The Lucksmiths' "Untidy Towns" through to Kosmonaut's electrification of The Liberty Ship's great recent single "Northern Angel," Matinée 50 is a joy. It doesn't matter whether you've heard the original songs before (there's several I hadn't heard) or are already familiar with these artists or not, the plain and simple truth is that this is a fantastic, diverse collection of superb pop songs. Two of my favorites are Lovejoy's gorgeous version of The Windmill's brooding "Drug Autumn" and Simpatico's cover of Harper Lee's "Train Not Stopping," which brings proper attention to that song's heartbreaking central line, but all 20 tracks are wonderful.   --Erasing Clouds
When I first started listening to the output of Matinée records, it felt like a different world to the rest of the indie music scene. In 2000 and 2001, though the seeds were being sown for the push back into the mainstream of ‘indie’ music, the stuff worth listening to was music by the likes of Godspeed, Flaming Lips, Hefner and Sigur Ros, music that for all its charm was consciously awkward, arty and abstract. Matinée on the other hand was unashamedly pop minded, and yet was completely independent, and completely reliant on zines and small distros such as ours for support. And Matinée has been the label that has defined the time I’ve been writing for Pennyblackmusic. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Jason Sweeney (Simpatico and Sweet William) and Roy Thirlwall (Windmills and Melodie Group) twice each, and also Dick Preece of Lovejoy and the Snowdrops last year, as well as doing a label interview with Jimmy Tassos, the Matinée boss. I’ve also spent an awful lot of my time playing the records by the Lucksmiths, Ego, Slipslide, Pipas, Harper Lee, Airport Girl and the Guild League. If any label deserves to celebrate their 50th release in style then its Matinée. Here’s to the next 50! And what better way to celebrate than to get most of your best acts together on a single CD, and have them cover each other’s songs. So Roy Thirlwall of Melodie Group tackles the Would Be Goods’ 'Emmanuelle Beart', and vice versa the Would Be Goods have a go at Roy’s defining moment so far, 'Summerness'. The quite exceptional Lucksmiths stamp their unique style all over 'Falling Off Of My Feet Again', an oldie from the Siddeleys. Two British bands have a go at Windmills numbers, Airport Girl do a relatively straight reading of 'Three Sixty Degrees', but add a new approach in terms of tone and sound quality, whilst Lovejoy remake my fave Windmills tune, 'Drug Autumn'as a delicious mellow electro indie pop classic. Perhaps the Windmills will have a go at playing it that way. Simpatico just can’t put a foot wrong in my eyes, and after his stunning 'Club Life' EP earlier this year, Jason Sweeney adds his distinctive, jingly electro folk shoegaze approach to 'Train’s Not Stopping' by Harper Lee. It’s a toss up between this and Pipas’ take on 'You Kill Me' for the compilation's best track. I think Simpatico just takes it, but it’s a photo finish! It was lovely to get nostalgic about great Matinée tracks from the recent past, but what this compilation really says is that Matinée’s bands are all just stepping into their best form now, and that the next 50 singles re going to be even better. Having said that, I haven’t got all of the first lot yet, so I suppose I’d best get going!   --Pennyblack Magazine
Matinée Records is one of the finer purveyors of indie pop currently in the game. Based out of California but specializing in primarily British music (with some Aussie and French bands thrown in for flavor), the label has made headway in bringing some excellent music to light and across the shores to the US. Although it's released a fair number of full-length albums since the label's inception in 1997, the majority of its releases have been singles and EPs featuring gems from its 28-band-strong roster. To celebrate Matinée's 50th release, label execs decided to put together a collection of some of its prime artists into something of a label sampler. However, this one comes with a twist. Rather than glean the cream of the crop from prior releases, Matinée invited its artists to record their favorite songs recorded by other Matinée artists. The clever results are twenty tracks of Matinée bands covering other Matinée bands, a sign of solidarity and unity of purpose, and also a fun and quirky way to celebrate an anniversary. Unfortunately, this presents a slight problem for me as a reviewer. Because I lamentably don't have full access to the originals for comparison and contrast purposes, I have to use a bit of guess-work in discussing Matinée 50. In most cases, cover songs are interpretations of the original work, and not 100% faithful duplications. Therefore I have no way of saying with any authority that, for instance, the incredibly great song "Between Delta and Delaware" -- originally written by Airport Girl but performed here by the Guild League -- is actually an improvement on the original, because I'm just taking a stab in the dark based on the fact that the Airport Girl offering here ("Three Sixty Degrees" -- a song written by the Windmills) has more backgrounded vocals than the Guild League's recording, something that would obscure the lyrical density of "Between Delta and Delaware". Confusing, no? Thankfully, this doesn't really matter. The liner notes to Matinée 50 make it clear that the label is treating this like one long, hour-plus-long single -- the ultimate "split" disc, if you will. They've even catalogued Matinée 50 as a single, in spite of its length and variety. This isn't really a sampler, then, it's an individual piece to be considered on its own. And I can definitely pick out the highlights from that angle. Matinée 50 starts off strong on its first three tracks, laying the groundwork for the kind of light, breezy, acoustic-toned indie pop that Matinée prides itself on (think Aztec Camera, the Smiths, the Housemartins, the Lightning Seeds, etc.). Gregory Webster ("Untidy Towns" [originally by the Lucksmiths]), Melodie Group ("Emmanuelle Beart" [Would-Be-Goods]), and the aforementioned Guild League all lay down some soft, jangly guitar pop tinged with fey, mod, British tones that would make Morrissey cry with joy. The offerings from Matinée stalwarts like the Lucksmiths, the Windmills, and Sportique are as typically strong as you'd expect, newcomers like Slipslide show the promise of the future, while offerings from the Visitors, Pipas, and Pale Sunday prove that even more electric pop fits into the Matinée mold with ease. Of course, Matinée's sound is pretty distinct, and in that sense, also uniform. Fey indie pop isn't for everybody, and if you're not into it then you're not going to find a whole lot a variety to make it worth your while. Me, I love this stuff, and Matinée 50 hits my sweet tooth in a charming way. Not every track is a sure-fire killer, of course. But even those that get too close to ethereal and fey to remain focused sound like they're in good company on a collection like this. And again, it's difficult to criticize (or praise) properly with Matinée 50. I mean, the Fairways do a fantastic job with "Sunday, Lovely Sunday", but is it the strength of the band, or should Edson be credited for writing such a winner, or is it both? Similarly, the songs that are on the weaker side of this disc don't actually reveal anything about the band performing when it's not their own composition. When you think about it, this is ingenious marketing. If you like a particular song on this disc, you're almost compelled to check out both the band who performs it and the band who wrote it. And with so many great tracks to choose your next discovery expedition from, pretty soon you'll be picking up releases from basically Matinée's entire catalog. Clever ploy or simple celebratory fun, the fact is that Matinée 50 is great because it achieves what it sets out to do. Much more than a label sampler, Matinée 50 is its own product, and it's all the better for it. Grab yourself a copy and see for yourself.   --Pop Matters
I find compilations weird. Their variety confuses me and I never know what to do with them - what to think of them or when to listen to them - and no matter how charming a compilation has looked when I bought it (or sounded when I first played it) it will most likely get out of it before we have the time to get familiar with each other. It will then spend the rest of its time in my possession getting forgotten about on a self. 'Matinée 50!' has just managed to escape this sad fate. It might have been the fact that the sleeve talks about being inspired to leap out of bed each morning, which to me sounds like The Ultimate Dream and something everyone must strive towards; or the fact that I am considerably in awe of the people who managed to release all this stuff; or maybe just the sheer charm of some of the songs contained, that made them stick around in my head and demand that I played them again; or, finally, that I found the idea behind this compilation quite interesting indeed. Because 'Matinée 50!' - which is not exactly the label's 50th release but just released 'at the eve of the 50th Matinée single'- has been compiled by asking every artist or band on the label to pick a song from the label's back catalogue and cover it. The result is pretty good, and at least as interesting as the original idea. It is also fun, uplifting and heart-warming like any good team work is bound to be. It starts with Gregory Webster (of the Razorcuts) singing the Lucksmiths' "Untidy Towns" - a strange affair (I thought at first) but difficult to resist to (as I found out a little later). Then again, I now think that about most songs on it. They're very good songs - the Matinée back catalogue is pretty impressive and the bands' taste isn't half bad - performed in strange ways, ways that combine the style of the composer with that of the performer. Or so I think, anyway. I can't be too sure because a lot of those songs I didn't know before now. And the point is, I still loved this. My personal favourites at the moment include anything with Tali White's voice on it ('Between Delta and Delaware' performed by the Guild League and 'Falling Off Of My Feet Again' performed by the Lucksmiths), the Pines making the Fairways' 'Darling, don't you think?' sound all wintery and elegant, Slipslide's rendition of 'Wildest Dreams' (especially the vocals as well as the bit where they stop and start again) and, above all, the Would-be-goods immaculate cover of the Lucksmiths' 'Southermost'. This is heartbreaking stuff. However, it is heartbreaking the way taking a train home after an exciting day out in the sun is. Having managed to listen to it enough times for it to become familiar, I have decided 'Matinée 50!' is what you'd call 'good time music'. It is a record about sunshine, indiepop and the joy of living - about doing what you love and loving it so much it makes you happy. And if you feel for these things, you're going to love it.   --Friends of the Heroes
Prolific indiepop imprint Matinée celebrates its 50th release with this novel compilation on which 20 of its acts cover songs by other Matinée artists. If the concept seems claustrophobic in theory, it actually works fairly well in practice, as Matinée bands all share a certain low-key melodic sense which serves to make the record sound pleasingly cohesive. Best of all is Sportique's inventive take on The Visitors' cautionary romantic tale "Goldmining," notable for its space-age ska instrumentation and the duet vocals of Gregory Webster and Amelia Fletcher, which recall Peter Perrett of The Only Ones and Penetration's Pauline Murray singing together on 1980 Only Ones single "Fools." That's not some over labored, ridiculously obscure reference point (OK, maybe it is), but the two songs do have a very similar feel and sound. Other highlights include The Lucksmiths' doleful reading of The Siddeleys' "Falling Off My Feet Again" and Melodie Group's brass-infused, gender-bending version of The Would-Be-Goods' "Emmanuelle Beart." Props also go The Pines, Airport Girl and The Visitors, who came out of 15 years' musical retirement to revisist Razorcuts' "Sad Kaleidoscope."   --The Big Takeover Magazine