What does the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday call to your mind? Mine instantly conjures thoughts of unabashedly old fashioned, and romantic pop labels.
Perhaps the most unabashedly old fashioned, and romantic pop label around these days is the Santa Barbara-based Matinée Recordings. During it’s nearly 13 years of existence, Matinée has created a rather distinctive and inviting world. Here the guitar pop takes center stage with songs that range from wistful, to heartbreaking, and even, on occasion, display bursts of outright exuberance. I’ll be honest, Matinée first piqued my interest due to their reissues from such seminal bands as Razorcuts — and should be seminal bands like the Siddeleys. But they’ve held my interest by bringing us new work from classic pop stars like the Would be Goods, and Amelia Fletcher (recording with a band called Tender Trap these days), not to mention newer work from bands like Australia’s (sadly now defunct) The Lucksmiths, Denmark’s Northern Portrait, and the only American band on the label, the Seattle-based Math & Physics Club. The visuals associated with the label are spot on as well. From the design of the website to the artwork on all of the records, there is feeling of glamour and elegance that calls to mind a different era.
The most recent record from the Finnish band Cats on Fire, “Our Temperance Movement,” was released domestically by Matinee and gained some stream at KCRW with help from me, Anne Litt and Eric J. Lawrence. They encompass so much of the sound and style that Matinée is known for, and the extra degree of flair to take it over the edge.
Falling in love with a record label may not be exactly what you had in mind for this Valentine’s Day, but it’s certainly worth looking into, wouldn’t you say?
Matinee website and myspace
Cats on Fire
Math & Physics