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Everything is Nice | Matador Records 10th Anniversary Anthology | review | indie | alternative | rock | compilation | Lollipop

Everything is Nice

The Matador Records 10th Anniversary Anthology (Matador)
by Jon Sarre

Just so long they don't dislocate a shoulder or two patting themselves on the collective back, Gerard Cosley et al's Matador Records decided to go all-out for year ten in the biz by releasing a three-disc compilation thing. Apparently, the corporate outlook's so good over there that they decided to not only title the thing Everything is Nice, but also to only include material culled from the label's output from around March 1996 (OLE-161, Guided By Voices' Under the Bushes Under the Stars) to now. Yeah, it's wrapped up in the short attention span of the target audience and the need to be on the cutting edge of whatever is cutting edge this week. For what it's worth, 1990 could be 1950, so why concentrate on back catalogue material by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Pavement, Cat Power, Yo La Tengo, etc., when ya can flog newish stuff by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Pavement, Cat Power and Yo La Tengo? Good point, I guess, but, still, a true ten year retrospective woulda been more fun and, uh, historical, mebbe charting the path of Matador's releases from Cosley's departure from Homestead to the tux he wears to the Grammies.

What ya get, anyway, is the hits and the stars (all being relative, of course, minor hits and "up and coming" stars) on the first two discs and unreleased tracks (some of which are kinda cool) on the third CD. Joining the above heavy hitters of indie rockdom on Everything is Nice are Bardo Pond, Guitar Wolf, Chavez, Helium, Modest Mouse, The Lynnfield Pioneers, Sleater-Kinney, and many more fine artists with fine songs. A surprising omission here is Liz Phair, seeing as she's a big star and all. Also left out, probably by virtue of not being big stars (or selling records) are Railroad Jerk (who probably coulda benefited from inclusion on this thing, if they're still together) and Kustomized (tho' being a personal favorite of this writer and maybe a few others isn't gonna get you anywhere. Besides, they broke up a few years back). A couple Pussy Galore or Lyres tracks woulda livened things up as well, 'specially seeing as Matador took the trouble to re-release their long out-of print bodies of work. That stuff, when ya think about it, would be considered filler by the people who'll pick this thing up for the previously unreleased Guided By Voices selection or cuz they think they really like a Mogwai song. Give 'em what they know runs the operative philosophy, and that's why Everything is Nice. Lovely, really.


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