From Vanity Project.

Matinée Recordings: A Beginner’s Guide

Matinée Recordings is an independent label based in Santa Barbara, California. The label began in 1997 and in seven years has earned a reputation as one of the leading indiepop labels in the world, releasing more than 80 records by 30 different bands.

In its first three years, Matinée released mostly 7″ singles by acclaimed acts Sweet William (Australia), Bella Vista (USA), The Lucksmiths (Australia), Sportique (UK), The Fairways (USA), Monterey (USA), The Windmills (UK) and Ego (France). In 1999, the label hosted the first Matinée live showcase aboard a boat in Paris, followed by successful US dates for The Lucksmiths.

In 2000, the label expanded its international base with new signings Harper Lee (UK), Lovejoy (UK), Edson (Sweden), and Melodie Group (UK). It also undertook its first archival release, working with late 80s English band The Visitors on a retrospective compilation. The expanding roster and growing sales helped secure UK label distribution via Shellshock.

The following year saw the release of 18 records from Matinée artists. New 2001 signings included Airport Girl (UK), Simpático (Australia), Slipslide (UK), and Would-Be-Goods (UK), along with archival releases from UK acts The Siddeleys and Remember Fun. Capitalizing on a solid catalog of English acts, Matinée continued expanding live promotion of its artists with numerous label showcases in London.

With a growing fan base and international notoriety, Matinée released 16 releases in 2002. In addition to records from label veterans, 2002 brought debut releases by Pipas (UK), The Liberty Ship (UK), The Guild League (Australia) and Kosmonaut (UK), as well as the fourth archival release from English indie legends Razorcuts. The year included US dates for numerous Matinée bands as well as label releases and bands topping many year-end polls.

Beginning 2003 with new distribution deals in Sweden, Spain, and Korea, Matinée continued promotion of its international roster to even bigger audiences. The year brought the release of 18 titles from label artists – now among the most popular indiepop bands in the world – plus new bands Pale Sunday (Brazil), The Pines (UK), The Snowdrops (UK), and The Young Tradition (Sweden). Brighter (UK) provided the fifth Matinée archival release with a collection of songs previously released on Sarah Records. The label celebrated the release of its 50th single with the compilation “Matinée 50” featuring 20 Matinée artists covering songs previously released on the label. The album coincided with the San Francisco Popfest, featuring The Lucksmiths, Pipas and Gregory Webster among its performers. Matinée artists toured England, Scotland, Sweden, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, USA, Canada, Japan, and Australia in 2003, and the label captured the “best label” award in the annual Indiepop List poll.

As 2004 began, Matinée released its most ambitious project to date – a tribute to legendary 80s English band The Smiths. Entitled “Romantic and Square is Hip and Aware,” the compilation features 12 Matinée artists covering classic songs from the Smiths songbook. New releases from Liberty Ship, Pipas, Fairways, Would-Be-Goods, Lovejoy, Snowdrops, Harper Lee, Guild League, Pale Sunday, and more are scheduled for the year.