Matthew Sweet promotes his new record by playing a 20-year old album in its entirety | Bleader

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Matthew Sweet promotes his new record by playing a 20-year old album in its entirety

Posted By on 10.13.11 at 12:59 PM

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Matthew Sweet
  • Matthew Sweet
A couple of weeks ago Matthew Sweet released a strong new album called Modern Art (Missing Piece), a slice of guitar-heavy pop that gathers up all of the things that have made him such a (largely) dependable force over the last decade; hooky melodies, lush vocal harmonies, searing guitar solos, psychedelic flourishes, and a huge over all sound. He’s on tour and he plays tonight and Friday at the Bottom Lounge with a nimble band including the great drummer Ric Menck, bassist Paul Chastain, and guitarist Dennis Taylor.

What’s odd about this tour is that promoting Modern Art seems like a secondary concern. The bulk of the concert will instead celebrate the 20th anniversary of Sweet’s undeniable high water mark, Girlfriend. After thinking about the whole endeavor for a few minutes, the move makes sense. During a time when it’s hard to gain media attention with actual music—and difficult to get people to come check out an artist’s new work—Sweet is using a de rigueur nostalgia-device (playing a classic album front to back) as a lure. I’m betting there are plenty of people that will pay to hear him tackle that record in its entirety, so he’ll have a captive audience to unleash some of his new record on afterwards.

Naturally, Modern Art isn’t as good as Girlfriend, and the performances of Girlfriend won’t be as good as the studio effort (not with Robert Quine long gone and fellow guitarists Richard Lloyd and Ivan Julian no where in sight), but so what? It’s had to be difficult for Sweet to continue making records for two decades after releasing a stone-cold classic; the returns haven’t been diminished per se, but they’ve all paled in comparison (meandering failures like “My Ass is Grass” don’t help). That said, he’s still got it. Below you can check out “She Walks the Night,” one of the highlights of the new record—in fact, I could almost imagine it fitting on Girlfriend.

Matthew Sweet, “She Walks the Night”:

photo: Matthew Sweet

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