Matthew Sweet – in concert from Petrillo Bandshell – Grant Park, Chicago – July 4, 1993.
Matthew Sweet in concert this weekend. Recorded in Chicago at fabled Grant Park on July 4, 1993.
After spending the ’80s as a jangle pop guitarist with Oh-OK and Lloyd Cole, as well as a solo artist, Matthew Sweet emerged in 1991 as the leading figure of the American power pop revival. Like his British counterparts Teenage Fanclub, Sweet adhered to traditional songcraft, yet subverted the form by adding noisy post-punk guitar and flourishes of country-rock, resulting in an amalgam of the Beatles, Big Star, R.E.M., and Neil Young. Recorded with guitarists Richard Lloyd and Robert Quine, Sweet’s third album, Girlfriend (1991), became a word-of-mouth critical and commercial hit over the course of 1992, with its title track reaching the Top Five on the Modern Rock charts. For the next five years, as alternative rock was the dominant commercial force in rock & roll, Sweet became a very popular concert attraction and solidified his reputation as the premiere alternative pop singer/songwriter. His next two records, Altered Beast (1993) and 100% Fun (1995) were both critically acclaimed and successful albums, reaching platinum status and making many year-end best-of lists.
During 1988, Sweet signed with A&M Records and recorded his second album, Earth. Produced by Fred Maher (Scritti Politti) and released in 1989, Earth again featured Sweet as a one-man band, augmented by guitarists Robert Quine (Lou Reed, Richard Hell) and Richard Lloyd (Television). Girlfriend, an album largely inspired by the dissolution of his marriage, was the first album Sweet recorded with a live band, and its sound — which was powered by Lloyd and Quine — was considerably more immediate and raw than its predecessors. Girlfriend earned strong reviews and “Divine Intervention” received good radio exposure, but it wasn’t until the spring of 1992, when the title track exploded on the radio, that the album became a genuine hit. By the end of the year, Girlfriend had gone gold and was later certified platinum.
Sweet recently completed his new album Forever Tomorrow, recorded at his new studio – Black Squirrel Submarine – in Omaha where he now lives. Matthew engineered, performed on guitars, keyboards, bass and god knows what else, sang lead and background vocals and mixed the recordings. The record was mastered for CD, vinyl and download at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London by Sean Magee, a long time veteran at the studio. Sean won a Grammy for his Beatles reissues, and has recently won accolades for his remastering of the John Lennon solo catalog reissues. The record will be released on June 16, 2017 on Sweet’s label – Honeycomb Hideout – with label support and distribution provided by Sony/ RED Distribution, LLC.
To remind yourself or in the process of making a discovery, here is Matthew Sweet, recorded in Chicago at The Petrillo Bandshell in Grant Park on July 4, 1993.