08.April.2014

CD69 sleeveThe Steinbecks, the band led by former Sugargliders Josh and Joel Meadows, are back on the new release shelf with a highly anticipated new album ‘Kick To Kick With The Steinbecks’ (matcd069)!

The Steinbecks emerged from the ashes of The Sugargliders after the ’gliders released ten 7” singles on legendary pop labels Sarah Records in England and Summershine Records in Australia. Those singles were since compiled on the smashing ‘A Nest With A View’ compilation (matcd062) we released with Popboomerang Records in 2012.

The Meadows brothers write emotionally honest pop songs about the world as they experience it, and record them as The Steinbecks with multi-instrumentalists Matt Sigley (Earthmen, Daytime Frequency), Joseph Bromley, and Jerry Rinse.

‘Kick To Kick With The Steinbecks’ features 12 new recordings that explore ancient cave paintings, an after-midnight ’60s club, a narrow escape from suburbia, and a soapbox rant about wireless radio, plus keen observations on relationships and romance. It is the band’s first album since ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ in 2007 and you can read a track by track preview of the album on the catalog page.

Housed in a handsome gatefold eco-wallet, ‘Kick to Kick’ is a very welcome return for The Steinbecks and another absolute score (see what we did there?) for the Matinée discography.

The official release date is April 22 but you can order a copy RIGHT NOW exclusively from the Matinée shop for immediate shipping or download. Please see the catalog page for complete release details. This is a co-release with Popboomerang in Australia so please support your local label!

If you are not already familiar with the wonder of The Steinbecks, please have a look at their artist page to read up on past achievements and releases. We have a limited number of copies of classic Steinbecks albums on Summershine, Drive In, and Microindie Records in the shop at the moment, along with their recent ‘At Arkaroo Rock’ 7” (matinée 088) with two non-album b-sides and the aforementioned ‘A Nest With A View’ compilation (matcd062) from The Sugargliders.

Have a listen to key ‘Kick to Kick’ album tracks ‘At Arkaroo Rock’ and ‘Trying To Be Someone’ on our Soundcloud player and watch a fantastic video for ‘I Radio’ too. Both are linked below for your convenience. Hurrah for new Australian pop!

10.January.2014
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We have counted all the votes in our 12th annual Matinée fanclub poll and are thrilled to announce the results! The full standings are posted on the archive page and here is a summary of the winners in the seven categories:

The 2013 Matinée album of the year award goes to ‘Our Hearts Beat Out Loud’ (matcd065) from Seattle favorites Math and Physics Club with 36 votes. Our Scottish pals Bubblegum Lemonade scored second place with 30 votes for ‘Some Like It Pop’ (matcd067), while Australian legends The Lucksmiths placed third with 29 votes for their career-spanning compilation ‘Cartography for Beginners’ (matcd068).

In the singles category, Danish popstars Northern Portrait took the top prize with an impressive 49 votes for the ‘Pretty Decent Swimmers’ 10” (matinée 086). New English band Seabirds placed second with 31 votes for their debut ‘Real Tears’ 7” (matinée 090), while the ‘Have You Seen Faith?’ 7” (matinée 087) from Scottish favorites Bubblegum Lemonade took third place with 30 votes.

In the song of the year category, our newest band Seabirds came out on top with ‘Real Tears’ securing 21 votes in the annual poll. You lucky people know there’s a Seabirds album on tap for 2014 right? Following very close behind were ‘Happy Nice Day’ from Northern Portrait (20), ‘Have You Seen Faith?’ from Bubblegum Lemonade (19), and ‘Long Drag’ from Math and Physics Club (19), while ‘The Road I Know’ from Azure Blue (12), ‘There’s No Place’ from Bart and Friends (11), ‘I Feel Even Better’ from Northern Portrait (11), ‘At Arkaroo Rock’ from The Steinbecks (10), ‘September Saturday’ from Strawberry Whiplash (10), and ‘No More Tearstained Makeup from Would-Be-Goods (10) also made the top ten. Tracks from Azure Blue, Bubblegum Lemonade, Charlie Big Time, The Electric Pop Group, Math and Physics Club, Northern Portrait, Seabirds, and September Girls complete the top 20.

In a new category for 2013, we surveyed for best artwork of the year which provided another solid victory for the ‘Pretty Decent Swimmers’ 10” from Northern Portrait with 26 votes. Other favorites in the best artwork category include ‘Our Hearts Beat Out Loud’ from Math and Physics Club (15), the 15th anniversary label compilation ‘A Sunday Matinée’ (14), ‘Some Like It Pop’ from Bubblegum Lemonade (12) and ‘Real Tears’ from Seabirds (10).

In the favorite Matinée artist category, The Lucksmiths claimed the number one spot for the 12th straight year with 45 votes, followed by Northern Portrait (35) and Math and Physics Club (32) holding their spots in the top three. Other favorite bands in 2013 voting include Bubblegum Lemonade (22), Azure Blue (16), Harper Lee (16), Brighter (15), Cats on Fire (15), Strawberry Whiplash (13), Razorcuts (11), Bart and Friends (10), The Hermit Crabs (10), Would-Be-Goods (10), The Steinbecks (9), and September Girls (8).

Northern Portrait claimed the favorite Matinée album of all time category for the third year running with 22 votes for ‘Criminal Art Lovers’ (matcd054). Other classics in the top five include ‘Warmer Corners’ (matcd039) from The Lucksmiths (19), ‘Singles 1989-1992’ (matcd026) from Brighter (16), ‘Math and Physics Club’ (matcd042) from Math and Physics Club (15), and ‘Hits In The Car’ (matcd060) from Strawberry Whiplash (15) making its first appearance in the top five. The Lucksmiths, The Siddeleys, Cats On Fire, Harper Lee, Northern Portrait, Razorcuts, Azure Blue, Brighter, Math and Physics Club, and The Pines had additional albums in the top tier.

The Lucksmiths can claim the top Matinée single of all time as their ‘T-Shirt Weather 7” (matinée 018) earned 20 votes to lead the final category. The ‘Pretty Decent Swimmers’ 10” (matinée 086) from Northern Portrait (19), ‘The Fallen Aristocracy’ EP (matinée 068) from Northern Portrait (18), ‘Weekends Away’ EP (matinée 056) from Math and Physics Club, and ‘Napoleon Sweetheart’ EP (matinée 070) from Northern Portrait (14) also made the top five this year. The Lucksmiths, Harper Lee, Math and Physics Club, The Hermit Crabs, Northern Portrait, Strawberry Whiplash, Edson, and The Electric Pop Group had additional singles in the top tier.

Congratulations to all the Matinée artists and thanks very much to everyone who completed the poll. We had entries this year from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and USA. The lucky winner of the $50 Matinée prize drawing is Brian Hancheck from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Congratulations Brian!

08.January.2014

Happy New Year! Voting is now closed in the 2013 Matinée fanclub poll and we will reveal the winners soon. In the meantime, we have published lists of 2013 favorites from Matinée artists including members of Azure Blue, Bart and Friends, Bubblegum Lemonade, The Hermit Crabs, The Lucksmiths, Northern Portrait, September Girls, The Steinbecks, Strawberry Whiplash, The Sugargliders, and Would-Be-Goods. Discover something cool from these tastemakers now!

22.December.2013
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Hello popfans … it’s time for the 12th annual Matinée fanclub poll! Every year we survey our loyal fans to see which new releases made you smile and reward voters with shop discounts and free records in the process. The polls are open for the next two weeks so if you haven’t ordered one of our eleven 2013 releases yet there’s still time before votes are due.

CD64 sleevematcd063) from Azure Blue, ‘Our Hearts Beat Out Loud’ (matcd065) from Math and Physics Club, ‘Ta!’ (matcd066) from Northern Portrait, ‘Some Like It Pop’ (matcd067) from Bubblegum Lemonade, ‘Cartography For Beginners’ (matcd068) from The Lucksmiths, and the label compilation ‘A Sunday Matinée’ (matcd064).

The 2013 single of the year contenders are the ‘Pretty Decent Swimmers’ 10” (matinée 086) from Northern Portrait, ‘Have You Seen Faith?’ 7” (matinée 087) from Bubblegum Lemonade, ‘At Arkaroo Rock’ 7” (matinée 088) from The Steinbecks, ‘Long Drag’ 7” (matinée 089) from Math and Physics Club, and ‘Real Tears’ 7” (matinée 090) from Seabirds.

We are also collecting votes for song of the year, best artwork, favorite Matinée artist, and favorite Matinée albums and singles of all time so please take a moment to vote for your favorites! Simply entering earns you a 20 percent discount off any order through the end of January, and one lucky voter will be selected to receive $50 of free Matinée merchandise. The poll closes January 5th, so please complete your entry today and best of luck in the prize draw!

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To celebrate such a fantastic year, we have created a 2013 Hit Parade playlist on Soundcloud featuring a bumper 40 tracks from our 2013 releases and you can listen to it here:

We are sketching details of our 2014 release schedule now including new recordings from The Steinbecks, The Electric Pop Group, Seabirds, Cats On Fire, Strawberry Whiplash, Northern Portrait and more so check here for exclusive news and previews of forthcoming releases. Happy holidays and thanks for all your support again this year!

02.December.2013

CD68 sleeveThe Lucksmiths takes us back to the very early days of Matinée Recordings when we were still based in Washington, D.C. in a stately rowhouse on Capitol Hill. Those days were magical times with indie bands coming through town every month or so and our three stories of accommodation made Matinée HQ the perfect resting spot for road-weary travelers.

I still remember the first time The Lucksmiths pulled up outside my house with Mike Babb of Drive-In Records on the day of their very first show in Washington in September 1998. We were about to launch our first co-release—the now legendary ‘Untidy Towns’ 7” single (matinée 004)—and we spent the little time we had before the show sitting around my dining room table folding records sleeves and adding inserts with all the details of our new release and the forthcoming gems on our respective labels. The lucky 500 of you who own that single can rest assured that at least one Lucksmith probably touched your record at some point that afternoon.

Little did I know at the time it would be the first of fifteen releases the band would have on Matinée leading up to their farewell single ‘Get-To-Bed Birds’ (matinée 077) in 2010. Over the years there were plenty of other record stuffing parties and opportunities for us to witness live performances in the United States, England, France, Spain, and Australia including shows in our new home state of California.

We are now absolutely thrilled to have a sixteenth Lucksmiths release for the Matinée discography and an answer (at last!) to all the people over the years that have asked which release to get first from the band. But first, a little more background is in order…

Having started out as high school friends in a bayside suburb of Melbourne, the Lucksmiths trio were officially set on foot in 1993 and made short work of winning the hearts and livers of student share-houses the city over. Sixteen years and countless albums, world tours and one extra member later, the band called it a day. By this time, their reputation as one of the most influential indiepop acts of the past decade was assured.

With many Lucksmiths albums now long out of print, fans old and new can play catch-up with the new double-CD collection ‘Cartography For Beginners’ (matcd068) which traces the band’s history from their legendary ‘First Tape’ through the final strains of their last posthumously-released single ‘Get-To-Bed Birds.’

Featuring live favourites ‘Under the Rotunda,’ ‘T-Shirt Weather’ and ‘Sunlight in a Jar’ (and with the entire tracklist chosen by the band members themselves, of course!), ‘Cartography For Beginners’ is the final word in Lucksmiths mix tapes — the perfect jangly travel companion, the ideal soundtrack to a first kiss (in the rain), and certainly the mantle ornament of choice for any inner city share-house.

Available in a handsome six panel matte finish eco-wallet with vintage photographs and liner notes by Australian labelmate and frequent touring companion Darren Hanlon, this perfect ‘beginner’s guide to The Lucksmiths’ is a co-release with our good friends at the Lost And Lonesome Recording Company in Australia so reduce your carbon footprint by ordering from them if you’re closer to Melbourne than Santa Barbara.

The official release date for the album is December 10th but we are taking preorders now and will start shipping copies a few days in advance. You can see the astonishing tracklisting on the catalog page. Many of you know most or all of these songs already but to have them all in one place is pretty cool and you have to admit, it’s the perfect gift for at least one music-loving friend in your life, no? Here is a sampling of the 35 hits your friend is about to discover:

01.December.2013

CD66 sleeveNorthern Portrait over the past six years, including songs from sold out EPs, vinyl-only singles, and compilation appearances.

Northern Portrait debuted in 2008 with two very well received EPs—‘The Fallen Aristocracy’ (matinée 068) and ‘Napoleon Sweetheart’ (matinée 070)—both of which sold out almost instantly upon release. Following their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Criminal Art Lovers’ (matcd054) in 2010, the band released two vinyl-only singles—the ‘Life Returns To Normal’ 7” (matinée 076) and the ‘Pretty Decent Swimmers’ 10” (matinée 086)—and contributed exclusive tracks to three Matinée compilations.

Ta! (matcd066) compiles the 15 tracks from these releases into one handy collection. The songs from ‘The Fallen Aristocracy’ and ‘Napoleon Sweetheart’ have experienced a complete revitalization with the band returning to the basic recordings, hitting the re-set button, and remixing them to bring out nuances and details that were inaudible on the initial EP releases. Early favorites ‘I Give You Two Seconds To Entertain Me’ and ‘The Fallen Aristocracy’ remind us of the thrill of hearing Northern Portrait for the very first time, while ‘Waiting For A Chance’ and ‘Our Lambrusco Days’ perfectly showcase the brilliant enhanced orchestration of the remixed versions.

Tracks from the vinyl singles and compilations have been remastered for this album and demonstrate the richness of Northern Portrait’s more recent recordings, from their especially jangling Christmas song ‘Leave The Trees Alone’ to the accomplished hits ‘Happy Nice Day’ and ‘I Feel Even Better’ from their recent 10” release.

A wonderful opportunity to revisit Northern Portrait songs from their first six years, Ta! is a cohesive album that bridges the gap until the band returns with its highly anticipated sophomore album next year. The CD is available in a matte-finish eco-wallet with annotated tracklisting by the band.

The official release date is December 10th but we are taking preorders for the album now and will ship copies on the day of release. Please see the catalog page for complete release details. In the meantime, how can you resist listening to four absolute gems from the Northern Portrait discography?

19.November.2013

CD65 sleevematcd065) from Seattle pop stars Math and Physics Club is out now!

The new ten-song collection is the band’s most dynamic to date, confidently expanding their palette of subtle, literate pop and sprinkling it with hints of country, dub, distortion, and Graceland.

Ethan Jones, the band’s bass player and resident multi-instrumentalist, co-produced the album with Bob Schwenkler at Olympia’s fabled Dub Narcotic Studio. Their goal was to make an old fashioned album with two sides, taking advantage of the studio’s vintage analog equipment to get away from the sound of digital perfection and instead sound like a band playing together in a room.

With Charles already living in Olympia, and James and Ethan having deep connections there as well, Dub Narcotic was a natural fit, not to mention being ground zero for the legendary K Records. It was a perfect atmosphere for the band to relax and capture some of the feel of their early EPs.

The first single, ‘Long Drag’ (matinée 089) is surprisingly groovy with its schoolyard beat and staccato handclaps. The song was originally recorded as a straight-ahead rocker, but after playing a cut-up dub version for some friends the band decided to keep it.

More surprises follow with ‘We’re Not Lost,’ a brooding anthem to teenage heartache with its angular guitars and snap-tight drumming. Meanwhile, ‘My Crooked Arms’ strips away the drums and bass to reveal an emotional core of raw lyrics and guitars, accented beautifully by cello.

For you vinyl aficionados, side two opens with ‘We Didn’t Run From Anyone,’ a country-leaning ballad about love on the rocks (what else?), with Ethan’s gentle fingerpicking and breezy organ setting the scene.

The album closes with a dramatic one-two punch. ‘That’s What Love Is’ is a classic jangly rocker that’s sure to please the most ardent anoraks with its shades of Brighter, while the album’s final surprise, ‘Road Carry Me Home,’ is a lovely piano and cello driven heartbreaker.

If that wasn’t enough, the sleeve design features stunning papercraft artwork by Brooklyn artist Tae Won Yu that particularly shines in the larger vinyl format.

As 2014 will mark ten years since we first fell in love with Math and Physics Club, ‘Our Hearts Beat Out Loud’ shows they can still surprise us.

The album is available now from all good record shops and online merchants including our own Matinée shop in three formats—the handsome eco-wallet CD, the luxurious 12″ vinyl record, and the space saving digital download. Which will you choose?

Here are a few favorites from the album to soundtrack your decision making:

13.November.2013

CD39 sleeveThe Lucksmiths said their goodbyes — harder still that it’s twenty since they introduced themselves in the first place. To mark the occasion, Matinée is teaming up with our good pals at the Lost And Lonesome Recording Company in Australia to announce the first-ever release on glorious 12-inch vinyl of the band’s career-defining album ‘Warmer Corners’ (matcd039).

Originally released in 2005, ‘Warmer Corners’ was the third album The Lucksmiths made with producer Craig Pilkington, and their first as a four-piece. The addition of second guitarist Louis Richter had a profound impact, reinvigorating the band and filling out their trademark stripped-back sound. This was obvious from first single ‘The Chapter in Your Life Entitled San Francisco’—an instant classic underpinned by Richter’s memorable guitar work, the song represented an exciting step forward for the band.

At once The Lucksmiths’ most ambitious and most accessible record, ‘Warmer Corners’ was met with widespread critical acclaim. Delusions of Adequacy called it “an album that somehow transcends its simplicity and becomes something of remarkable beauty,” while Pitchfork praised it as “idiosyncratic but accessible, literate but unpretentious, gentle but not weak, sincere not so much in presentation … as in presence.” Erasing Clouds was moved to suggest “The Lucksmiths have a unique mastery of the art of writing a song. Their grasp on melody, on hooks, on details, on making a song feel sad and beautiful and optimistic at the same time, is unmatched.”

Eight years later, it remains easy to see why. Many of the band’s finest moments are here, from the string-and-horn-laden opener ‘A Hiccup in Your Happiness’ to the winning guitar jangle of ‘Sunlight in a Jar’ and ‘Young and Dumb,’ from the off-kilter urgency of ‘The Music Next Door’ to gentler moments like ‘Great Lengths’ and the pedal-steel-soaked ‘If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home Now,’ all the way through to remarkable closer ‘Fiction,’ The Lucksmiths never sounded so good.

The album is currently on a jet from Australia and we are accepting preorders for it now with an expected release date of November 26th. It’s a hand numbered beauty in a limited edition of 500 worldwide and it comes with a free download code, natch. We also have ‘Warmer Corners’ postcards and some vintage Lucksmiths posters (circa 2005, complete with full US tour dates!) that we’ll throw in with orders until they are gone.

Please note: postage for 12” records is not cheap and completely out of our control. If you are in the US, media mail is affordable but fairly slow. Priority mail is fast and not terrible if you are in California but can be expensive to the East Coast. Adding multiple items to an order is a good way to spread out the postage cost. If you are after more vinyl, we have a smashing new LP (matlp065) out next week from Math and Physics Club if you want to add one of those … or perhaps the stunning ‘Pretty Decent Swimmers’ 10” (matinée 086) from Northern Portrait … or one of the many ace 7” singles or CDs we’ve released recently. We are working with Lost and Lonesome to get copies of the LP in the hands of select European merchants too to make sure you can get an affordable copy of this gem one way or another.

Surely most of you have heard this classic album already, but here’s a Soundcloud preview of the magnificent ‘The Chapter In Your Life Entitled San Francisco’ just in case…

12.November.2013

CD67 sleevematcd067) from Glasgow favorites Bubblegum Lemonade is released today! Here’s all you need to know:

The instantly loveable album is perfectly structured to ebb and flow from upbeat to downbeat and from fuzzy to clean across a dozen effervescent pop songs. The album kicks off with the poignant track ‘This Is The New Normal’ with plenty of jangling guitars on display plus a dose of violin and a nice helping of ba-ba-ba’s.

‘It’s Got To Be Summer’ has bits of glockenspiel, chiming guitars, and shimmering harmonies that recall fellow Scottish heroes Teenage Fanclub, while ‘Famous Blue Anorak’ is up-tempo jangly pop reminiscent of The Pooh Sticks and ‘Don’t Hurry Baby’ is like a downbeat Mary Chain meets the Walker Brothers with Sandra from Strawberry Whiplash on backing vocals.

‘Dead Poets Make Me Smile’ is an instant classic with guitars that recall The Smiths or The Wedding Present and lyrics about James Dean and Oscar Wilde, among others. It’s a clear single contender and the perfect song to balance the darker shades of the acoustic, reflective ‘You Can’t Go Back Again’ that follows.

Side two of the album opens with acclaimed first single ‘Have You Seen Faith?’—a secular hymn to missed opportunities with jangling, strumming riffs, great sixties harmonies, and an especially memorable chorus.

‘She Brings The Sunshine’ is another potential single—an optimistic jangle pop classic with a skipping drum rhythm that should make it a future student disco staple, while ‘First Rule Of Book Club’ begins in the library before layering in 12-string guitars and tambourines that build to a mesmerizing climax.

‘Your Valentine (Takes Me Back In Time)’ is a fuzzy guitar hit influenced by The Buzzcocks and early My Bloody Valentine that features more backing vox by Sandra from Strawberry Whiplash, while ‘Falling In Love With A Sad Song’ is a post modern disco nugget with major seventh guitar chords and knowing lyrics.

The album closes with ‘Mr. Dreaming’s Bland House’—a keen observation on urban planning and the first Bubblegum Lemonade song ever to reach the four-minute mark. It begins like a late period song by The Jam before visiting The Stone Roses on its way to a psychedelic wigout and perfect ending to the album.

Showcasing the latest from a never-ending pipeline of Bubblegum Lemonade hits, ‘Some Like It Pop’ is an accomplished, melodic gem and another modern classic for Matinée. The packaging for the album, as with all Bubblegum Lemonade releases, is really something and you can secure a copy right now from your favorite record emporium or from the Matinée shop. Have a listen to these hits while you continue your shopping. Hurrah for Bubblegum Lemonade!

12.November.2013

CD64 sleevematcd064) is out today and sitting pretty atop the current Matinée hit parade!

Instead of looking back on past achievements, we invited 15 Matinée artists to contribute a previously unreleased, exclusive, or rare recording to this collection and the result is a smashing success. Australian collective Bart and Friends start the album off right with the ace autumnal pop of ‘There’s No Place,’ while Danish favorites Northern Portrait turn up the jangle with a brilliant new song called ‘The Young and Hopefuls’ and popular Scottish act Bubblegum Lemonade deliver another pop classic with ‘You Can’t Be Sad All The Time.’

Celebrated Irish fivesome September Girls show off their ace harmonies on the haunting, reverb soaked ‘Danny Wood,’ Simpático delivers the finest in Australian electro pop with the mesmerizing track ‘The Rays,’ and England showcases its first of three bands with the legendary Would-Be-Goods and their magnificent cover of the Martha and the Vandellas classic ‘No More Tearstained Makeup.’

Englishmen Charlie Big Time follow up their recent EP with a positively swinging new song ‘One Step Closer To Enemies,’ while sorely missed Australian hitmakers The Lucksmiths contribute the second cover song on the album with a brilliant version of the Jonathan Richman track ‘When I’m Walking’ and Swedish band The Electric Pop Group break a four-year silence with the ultra jangly new song ‘Parliament Square.’

Scottish duo Strawberry Whiplash return with a fuzzy pop gem called ‘September Saturday,’ Seattle’s Math and Physics Club channel their inner Housemartins with the harmonica-rich pop of ‘I Know It’s Over,’ and Australia celebrates its fourth contribution with the mighty new song ‘Through The Curtain’ from The Steinbecks.

Brazil’s Pale Sunday showcases the best in South American pop with an excellent new song ‘In The Hardest Moment,’ while elusive American expats (and former Fairways) Clay Hips contribute great new track ‘Someone Who Wanders’ and English act Melodie Group conclude things in fine fashion with their first song in eight years called ‘Only Forever.’

The album is housed in a deluxe eco-wallet with a snazzy vinyl disc CD that looks pretty cool indeed:

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It’s available in physical and digital formats from the usual merchants and of course from our very own Matinée shop. Because we like you so much, you can even listen to all 15 tracks on the player below. It’s almost like it’s your birthday right?