Matinee Orchestra – Matinee Orchestra

The debut album from Matinee Orchestra is a rare treat: a perfectly written, performed and produced mix of contemporary and classical sounds that is both accessible and uncompromised in its artistic vision.

I often describe music as cinematic but, while this has many qualities of a soundtrack, it seems more akin to a John Steinbeck novel. Musically, though it seems a little clichéd to mention it in this day and age, there is a definite Pet Sounds influence and fans of Caribou will recognise a kindred spirit. Strong yet relaxed guitars weave in and out of warped electronic sounds, beautifully arranged string and wind instruments add a softness to the sound as eastern and western influences slide around one another with almost sexual movements.

Amongst the numerous guests on this album is Maximo Park’s Paul Smith, who adopts such a different vocal style from that we are used to from him that it takes several listens and some hard concentration to actually pick out which parts are his (and even now I’m not certain).

My advice to you would be to get your hands on a copy of this album as soon as possible. No, actually, I demand that you do.

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    Release date: 27th February 2006


    1. Thanking You For Listening
    2. Hide & Seek
    3. The Matinée March
    4. I’ll Never Be Afraid Again
    5. Run For Cover (It’s Going To Rain)
    6. Pray, Rock, Stone, Paper, Scissor
    7. It’s A Fantasy World / Everyone Has The Right To Protest Even If No One Listens
    8. Imagination Of A Watermelon
  • Various Artists – Dance To The Radio: What We All Want

    Opened for business a year ago by ¡Forward, Russia! Frontman Whiskas, Dance To The Radio is a label that aims to bring the best in Leeds-based music to the wider public’s attention. In the case of most other British cities that would mean a couple of okay bands would be propped up by some ropey sixth form bands recorded in a cupboard. However, it seems that DTTR might be struggling to bring every great band they could to the fore.

    This is the second compilation from the label and features 22 tracks, which are, on the whole, brilliant. The ones that aren’t are simply just not to my taste and couldn’t be described as filler.

    Largely made up of bands working the commercial and not so commercial ends of the indie market there are also a few curveballs thrown in here, for example hip hop from Yes Boss and Whores Whores Whores, who I can only think to describe as a hardcore version of Franz Ferdinand.

    Other great contributions come from Napoleon IIIrd, Tera:Tora, This Et Al, ¡Forward, Russia!, iLiKETRAiNS and O Fracas.

    If you have any doubts about the state of UK independent music then you need to check this out.

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    Label: Dance To The Radio
    Release date: 27th February 2006


    1. We Start Fires – Hot Metal
    2. The Pigeon Detectives – I’m Always Right
    3. Shut Your Eyes And You’ll Burst Into Flames – Amputee Smile
    4. Napoleon IIIrd – The Conformist Takes All
    5. Kubichek! – That Pop Carry On
    6. Yes Boss ft. Witty & Nasty Boi – Meet The Boss
    7. Tera:Tora – Make Up
    8. Whores Whores Whores – Limited Edition Yoghurt
    9. This Et Al – The Loveliest Alarm
    10. The Playmates – The Bill
    11. ¡Forward, Russia! – Two
    12. Samsa – First, The Lights
    13. Snow White – Stop Anything
    14. iLiKETRAiNS – The Beeching Report
    15. O Fracas – John Roland Told Us
    16. Voltage Union – Seaside
    17. Dead Disco – City Place
    18. Komakino – Innocent Child
    19. The Lucinda Console – Come Down Captain
    20. Bam Bam Francs – Bam Bam You’re Dead
    21. The Lodger – You Got Me Wrong
    22. redcarsgofaster – The Pragmatist
  • Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins – Rise Up With Fists!!

    Known best as the vocalist in Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis has broken away to record a country album Rabbit Fur Coat with gospel singers The Watson Twins, which was released back in January.

    The first single, Rise Up With Fists!!, is a great introduction to the many beautiful songs that grace the album. Both Lewis and The Watsons put in great performances and the lilting country music that backs them up makes this a package impossible to resist. Just one listen to b-side Paradise should be enough to prove how good the album is – if they can cut songs like this one from the line-up then you know there’s something really special waiting for you.

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    Label: Rough Trade
    Release date: 27th February 2006


    1. Rise Up With Fists!!
    2. Paradise