Various Artists

A Sunday Matinée

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To commemorate 15 years of operating as fine purveyors of first-rate indie pop, Matinée Records released a collection of tracks by some of their top artists from the past, some recent mainstays, and a few promising newcomers as well. A mix of previously unreleased songs, hard-to-find gems, and brand-new recordings, the collection spells out Matinée's philosophy again and again: find bands that make super-catchy indie pop, then release it! Sounds simple but it's really not. The old-timers are well represented by an unreleased Lucksmiths cover of Jonathan Richman's "When I'm Walking" and a truly lovely cover of the Marvelettes' "No More Tearstained Makeup" by the Would-Be-Goods. The current roster is looking good too, with fine tracks by Strawberry Whiplash, Northern Portrait, and Pale Sunday. Of the newcomers, Charlie Big Time's sophisticated '80s pop ballad "One Step Closer to Enemies" sounds particularly good. And can Clay Hips please make an album, like yesterday!? Their contribution, the bubbling pop-soul groover "Someone Who Wanders," is the album's high point, and only points out how painfully infrequently they release songs. That thought aside, A Sunday Matinée is a thoroughly listenable look at a wonderful label, and totally invaluable to those who call themselves fans of indie pop music.

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