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Matthew Sweet Biography

Home > Music > S > Sweet, Matthew > Biography

Birth Name: Sidney Matthew Sweet
Born: 1964/10/06
Years Active: 1980s - present
Genres: Power Pop, Alternative Rock

Matthew Sweet was born October 6, 1964, in Lincoln, Nebraska and is an alternative rock/power pop musician. In 1980, while attending Lincoln Southeast High School, Sweet, having written and recorded songs on four-track cassettes, and having joined the band The Specs, released his first recording on a battle of the bands LP produced by a local radio station. Sweet then fronted his own local band called The Dialtones.

After graduating in 1983, Sweet travelled to Athens, Georgia to attend college during the rise of the vibrant Athens music scene. That same year, Sweet, who had met the Athens-based band R.E.M. when they played a show in his hometown the previous year, collaborated with frontman Michael Stipe in a duo group under the name Community Trolls, as well as played guitar in Stipe's sister Lynda Stipe's band, Oh-OK. In addition, he formed another duo, The Buzz of Delight, with Oh-OK drummer David Pierce, releasing an EP, “Sound Castles,” in 1984 on DB Records.

On the strength of this EP, Sweet was signed to a solo recording contract with Columbia Records. In 1986, Sweet released “Inside,” his debut album, to good reviews but little commercial success. In 1989, Sweet released “Earth,” after signing with A&M Records and, again, it was well-received critically, but failed commercially.

In 1990 Sweet signed with Zoo Entertainment and formed a new band with Richard Lloyd, Robert Quine, Greg Leisz, Lloyd Cole and Fred Maher and together they spent that year assembling his next work. In 1991 Sweet released the album, “Girlfriend,” which was widely considered an artistic breakthrough, and quickly garnered impressive U.S. sales, spawning a Top 10 single with the title track.

Riding on the success of “Girlfriend,” Sweet followed up quickly with “Altered Beast” in 1993, which marked a musical change in direction for Sweet and a harder rock sound.

In 1995, Sweet released “100% Fun,” an alt-rock album best known for its lead-off track, the self-deprecating “Sick of Myself.” The album itself fared better commercially. In 1997, Sweet released “Blue Sky on Mars,” a new-wave album which featured the synth-laden singles “Where You Get Love” and “Come to California.” In 1999, Sweet released “In Reverse,” a psychedelic album which featured Wall of Sound tracks, including the singles “What Matters” and “Trade Places.” The album was noteworthy for its 10-minute closing track, “Thunderstorm,” which was a combination of several demos.

In 2000, Sweet released “Time Capsule: Best of 90/00,” a retrospective compilation which featured two new tracks. In 2002, Sweet released “To Understand: The Early Recordings of Matthew Sweet,” a retrospective compilation which featured unreleased material. Also that year, he formed the supergroup, The Thorns, with Shawn Mullins and Pete Droge.

Sweet released “Kimi Ga Suki” a garage-rock album initially released in 2003 in Japan, where Sweet has a significant following. “Living Things,” an acoustic album which consisted mainly of material he wrote while recording with The Thorns, followed in 2004. Sweet and Susanna Hoffs released “Under the Covers, Vol. 1,” in 2006 which featured covers of popular 1960s songs.

In 2008, Sweet released “Sunshine Lies,” his 10th studio album. Sweet and Susanna Hoffs released “Under the Covers, Vol. 2,” in 2009 which featured covers of popular 1970s songs. In 2011, Sweet released “Modern Art,” an album which featured the single, “She Walks the Night.” Sweet and Susanna Hoffs released “Under the Covers, Vol. 3,” in 2013 which featured covers of popular 1980s songs.