Sorry folks, but Matinee Recordings is on a huge role at the moment, releasing their 4th great single to the masses in a little over a week. This time around, the label has picked up Seabirds to release the Real Tears 7″ this coming August. On the title track, the tune opens with just vocals and strumming, but soon opens up to a more full band sound with a female vocal accompaniment and drums. While that quick change-up is pretty special, I’m pretty stuck on the tone of the vocal itself; it’s gentle and familiar, fitting perfectly into the spectrum of great indiepop singing. Cheers to this.
As promised, it’s been a remarkable week for our friends at Matinee Recordings. Already with two new releases under their belt, they return with a new 7″ from the Steinbecks…the band’s first release in six years. It’s a preview of what’s to come when the band release a full-length later in the year. From the moment this track opens, it’s the vocals that take the focus, with the accompanying music sitting politely in the background. Lyrically, it’s got the classic touch of great indiepop, referencing personal sentiments throughout. It’s hard not to fall in love with a song like this playing on your stereo; you can make that happen by heading to Matinee now![audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/01-At-Arkaroo-Rock-Radio-Edit.mp3]
Download: The Steinbecks – At Arkaroo Rock [MP3]
I’ve already brought you one great tune from Matinee Recordings this week, and as promised, the label has more great music to share with you all. The latest song comes via Math and Physics Club; it’s easiest one of the catchiest tracks the band has composed to date. The song opens with some drum work accompanied by hand-claps, just before the rest of the act joins in with infectious guitar lines. Personally, aside from the clapping, I’m really finding myself attached to the lyrical delivery on this tune. You’ll be wise to order the Long Drag 7″ straight from Matinee Recordings, and browse while you’re there…you’ll find tons of hits to order from one of our favorite labels.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/01-Long-Drag.mp3]
It’s been sort of a sad few months for indie pop fans, with a few of the smaller labels calling it quits. But, on the bright side of things, the next few weeks promise a few announcements from the always excellent Matinee Recordings. The first release on their list is the brand new Have You Seen Faith 7″ from Bubblegum Lemonade. Laz has fleshed out his line-up, creating three beautiful songs that illustrate the purity of indie pop. His voice, as always, has this beautiful warmth, and the guitar work rings perfectly in the background. You can order the new 7″ now from the Matinee Store.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/01-Have-You-Seen-Faith.mp3]
It’s been almost three entire years since we’ve heard anything new from Northern Portrait, but this four song affair will make us forgive the gap between releases, as this is some of the most accomplished music the band has crafted to date. The Pretty Decent Swimmers EP may only be a short little stop gap until a full-length comes our way, but fans old and new will surely find solace in the well-manicured pop of these Danes.
It’s early in the year, but you’re going to have to try real hard to find such a splendid piece of pop musical openings for the rest of the year. There’s a casual entrance, building the listener’s internal tension, and then unleashing enchanting bliss at the 36 second mark. You can sing along to the chorus of “Happy Nice Day,” aided by the perfect vocal control of singer Stefan, which never hurts the audiences ability to attach themselves to the music.
“Greetings From Paris” is an eternally satisfying track, full of literary allusions and a ringing guitar line that infects any pop lovers soul. It’d be easy to take Stefan Larsen’s voice and make Morrissey comparisons, but this song demonstrates the softer quality of the vocals, stripped of the over-bearing sexuality. I have to admit, I’m a sucker for monosyllabic lyrics sung in repetition like the “la la la las” that close out this little gem.
If you were wondering if Northern Portrait was going to pick up a little bit of the energy, then wait until you get to “Bon Voyage.” The cutting guitar lines are extremely sharp, which provides a natural bit of pacing to the song…almost a dance floor shuffle. But, like other pop classicists, The Lodger, there’s a bit of restraint, focusing instead on the harmony within the tune rather than force you to stomp your feet. Closing out the song is a soaring bit of vocal melody and a tinkering it of piano…you don’t get better than that.
And it all comes to a grand close with the longest track, “I Feel Even Better.” Larsen here seems to express a bit of solemnity, if only in the way he delivers his vocals. Sure, the lyrics guide one to think there’s a bit of a reawakening, but you can hear the distant pain that the narrator had to live with at one point. For me, the attached arrangements present in the background reinforce the pristine sound of twanging guitars that seek out your heart. A perfect bookend to the whole listening experience.
If you aim to be frustrated about anything on Pretty Decent Swimmers then you’re going to find difficulty in that search. There’s not a single misstep or faltering moment, but rather a complete collection of four songs exemplifying pop writing at its very finest. Cheers to you Northern Portrait: and welcome back!
Pretty Decent Swimmers is available now from Matinee Recordings.
Finally, the wait is over! After two years, the triumphant return of Northern Portrait is upon us. Just one listen to this new single and I guarantee you’ll be foaming at the mouth with anticipation. The song casually opens, with a faint beat in the background and a jingling tambourine…and then we’re off at the 35 second mark. From that moment on, my body tingled with the pleasure of listening to perfectly crafted indie pop that’s hard to match. It’s looking like 2013 is going to be a great year for the band, starting with the Pretty Decent Swimmers EP, which is a 10″ being put out by our dear friends at Matinee Recordings. Yep, I’m in love.
I love writing about the bands on Matinee Recordings; it makes it so easy as they almost never miss. The newest installation to their storied stable is Dublin’s September Girls, a five piece group specializing in bringing a blend of atmospheric post rock and girl group harmonies. It’s pretty much a perfect blend of all your favorite things, uniting noisier pop with your tendency to wax nostalgic about a more pure rock n’ roll sound. You better get your hands on it now, as the history of the band shows that there music is being gobbled up quickly all over the globe, so chances are this 7″ EP won’t be around for too long.
Writing about a compilation is no easy task, especially when the output of said band, The Sugargliders in this case, was so limited, especially to ears on American soil. Luckily for us, the hardworking folks over at Matinee Recordings have just released A Nest With a View, a collection of the Melbourne group’s singles and their one LP from 1990-1994. If you’re looking to get your hands on a classic indie pop record that sounds just as relevant today as it did when it originally was released, then this is precisely the album for you.
“Ahprahran” begins our re-introduction to The Sugargliders, basically the project of the young Meadows brothers. What struck me on this first track is how much I can see this being a vital part of any indie pop collection in the present day. String arrangements accentuate the incredible melody, and the fact that the guitar sounds like it’s being carefully picked rather than sung only thrills me more. It’s not the only standout track, in fact, most of these tracks hold up well on their own, but my current favorite is “Letter from a Lifeboat.” There’s this minimal percussive element, and the guitar is carefully picked from the opening minute, almost like a classical guitar player. Then the Meadows brothers combine their vocals to craft this fluid harmony that continues to fascinate me the more I play it.
But, for all my love of the aforementioned tracks, there’s plenty within the confines of A Nest With a View to capture your ears. I like how “Sway” opens with this wayward harmonica, crafting a melancholy time that’s reinforced by the lyrical content of a person moving on from their loved one. You also have to appreciate the earnestness of the songwriting in “Police Me,” a song that reaches its climax when the lyric of “it’s true” is shouted amidst the intricate guitar playing of the group. Of course, I’m always a sucker for added instrumentation like horns and strings, such as those little flourishes you find on the collections final track, “Top 40 Sculpture.”
I know that not everyone has the same fascination I do with brilliant indie pop music, but I’m glad that modern technology allows us to go back in time and expose the heart and soul of the movement. I’m always amazed at the work accomplished by bands like The Sugargliders long ago, and although it’s nearly two decades from their time, it still sounds every bit as relevant in today’s genre. A Nest With a View is an exquisite snapshot of a band that left us with a brief career, but one that, as evidenced here, surely stands the test of time. You can only say that about the greatest of tunes.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/01-Ahprahran.mp3]
Download:The Sugargliders – Ahprahran [MP3]
A Nest With a View is available now from Matinee Recordings.
I hadn’t heard about the Sugargliders, though I’m admittedly ashamed of that fact. Apparently the Australian group has a short career in the early 90s, releasing multiple singles, and one solitary album. But, now our dear friends over at Matinee Recordings have decided that you deserve the right to get your hands on these out of print works, compiling a career retrospective titled A Nest With A View. It’s honest indie-pop, with warming guitar lines and reflective lyrics–the things that make good pop so sincere and stunning. I’m glad to have discovered this act, and I hope you opt to pick up their compilation on October 16th when it hits stores.
Indie pop fans rejoice; the Hermit Crabs are back! Our friends over at Matinee Recordings are about to release another four song EP from the much heralded Scottish group, which is the band’s first release since 2009! The Time Relentless EP comes out via the label on September 4th, and the first hit from the record is beautiful. Clearly the harmonies we all love about great indie pop are present, almost from the instant you press play. They add a nice little touch with a wayward guitar line dancing and twirling around the vocals in the background. Bet this is going to be one helluva release.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Stop_This_Now.mp3]
Download: The Hermit Crabs – Stop This Now [MP3]