Matthew Sweet “Tomorrow Forever”
Matthew Sweet has endured as one of power pop’s elder statesmen, owning album charts for most of the 1990’s and infrequently surfacing over the past decade or so. But no longer tethered to a record label, Sweet decided to go the Kickstarter route and the result is a sprawling 17 track songfest that throws together everything we love (or not love) about his music.
Matthew has undergone many life changes since 2011’s Modern Art. Following the passing of his mother, he returned to his hometown in Omaha, Nebraska to live and finish this album. It opens with “Trick,” a familiar chiming guitar gem that is a return to his classic style. It’s the distinctively layered leads, and hook filled chorus that sticks with you. The formula does get tweaked as we continue listening, Sweet adds muscle to “Pretty Please,” and ups the psyche-pop elements on “Circle.”
The songs are more autobiographical here with “Off The Farm” and “Come Correct.” The excellent “Haunted” and acoustic led “Country Girl” with Gary Louris (The Jayhawks) helping on harmonies are standout tracks. But the meandering jams “The Searcher” and “Finally” shows that his album could’ve used some editing. Despite the hopeful gem “Music for Love,” the last track “End Is Near” has a weariness to it and feels like the artist’s swan song. We hope not, as Matthew Sweet’s music has adopted a timeless quality, a perfect melding of melody and guitar. Highly Recommended.
Talk Show Host “Not Here to Make Friends” EP
Toronto band Talk Show Host does a great job delivering punk-inspired power pop and opening with the fast riffs of “Dead Meat” it wouldn’t be out of place on a Green Day album. Then the band embraces a snarl with its melody on the excellent title track, as they reference office politics; “We’re not here to make friends/ we’re just here to win.” The next song “I Hate Men (I Hate All Men)” could be an anthem for angry women, but sung by a dude sounds like extreme self-loathing. Overall a solid EP with no filler, but without much variety either. Still, if you dig punk pop this is a great find.