Superdeformed: Matthew Sweet’s Altered Beast Demos

This is not a music or mp3 blog, but I am a huge fan of Matthew Sweet. His Girlfriend album was one of the first CDs (not tapes) I bought with my own money and we named our youngest daughter Evangeline after the song of the same name on that album.

Needless to say, I like his music a little bit.

Now I come to find that he’s almost finished with a new album, Modern Art, which appears to feature album artwork of his cat sculptures. I can’t wait. But the thing that got me thinking about Matthew Sweet this week was listening to his unreleased demos for the Altered Beast album, code-named Superdeformed 1 & 2.

I’ve had his Son of Altered Beast EP for some time and I’m pretty sure I’ve had various mp3s of his copious demo albums for both Girlfriend and Altered Beast at some point but for whatever reason I’d nearly forgotten them.

This week I’ve re-discovered both Superdeformed 1 & Superdeformed 2 thanks to The Hype Machine.

Standout tracks (for me) are “Long Way To Go (Speed of Light)” and “Born in Sin” off the first CD.

So many of the other unreleased tracks are so good, you can see how they informed subsequent albums. “Bovine Connection” seems like “Cats vs. Dogs” off of Kimi Ga Suki Raifu, “It’s True” steals a riff from “Girlfriend”, “You’re Mean” could be a track off “Living Things” and “Girls” is a straight up tribute to Big Star’s “September Gurls

The second CD has some more well-known tracks that weren’t on his full-length albums. Tracks like “Ultrasuede” and the eponymous “Superdeformed” are both good but I really enjoy the atmospheric trippiness of “Money” and the effects on “Eskimo”. Those latter songs really remind me of “In Reverse“.

Superdeformed 1 & 2 are really great additions to your music library if you’re a Matthew Sweet fan. They really show how prolific and experimental he was/is.

Here are track listings (courtesy of Jon Relph):

Superdeformed 1:

Superdeformed 1
Superdeformed 1
  1. Long Way to Go [Speed of Light]
  2. Dinosaur Act
  3. Devil with the Green Eyes
  4. Reaching Out
  5. Do It Again
  6. In Too Deep
  7. Evergreen
  8. Bovine Connection
  9. Time Capsule
  10. Born in Sin
  11. Put It Together [Finding Out]
  12. Fantasy World
  13. You’re Mean
  14. It’s True [Something’s Got to Give]
  15. Girls [Cobra Girls]

Superdeformed 2:

Superdeformed 2
Superdeformed 2
  1. Ugly Truth
  2. Falling
  3. Eskimo
  4. Ultrasuede
  5. Money [Marnie]
  6. Superdeformed
  7. Wait And See [Open Eyes]
  8. Idiot Child
  9. So Blue [Finally So Blue]
  10. Weekend Outlaw
  11. What Do You Know [What Do You Know?]
  12. The End
  13. Trace Of Love
  14. Drugs

Happy Listening!

Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs

As an avowed fan of Matthew Sweet I may be in danger of breaking my musical/fan vows since I don’t own the album he made a few years back with Susanna Hoffs, Under The Covers, Vol. 1

Via Paste I learned that I’m so (fashionably?) late to the party that they’ve gone and released a follow-up disc, Under The Covers, Vol. 2.

Whereas the first CD focused on 60’s covers, the new CD is all 70’s covers highlighted by a personal favorite, Mott The Hoople’s “All The Young Dudes.” I also like The Raspberries’ “Go All The Way” but was initially repulsed by the inclusion of Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” until I gave it a listen on their MySpace.

As with all things musical, you’re mileage may vary, but I’ve got some iTunes gift cards burning a hole in my wallet that I now know how to spend.


Hodgman, Twitter and signed copies

Way back in the beginning of June, John Hodgman (“PC” in those Mac & PC ads that Apple does) “tweeted” an interesting offer:

re: a TAXONOMY OF COMPLETE WORLD KNOWLEDGE. I will sign and send one to you and the next four who tweet/email an address.

Twenty minutes later, he had somewhat recanted:

And, to thank to the recklessly brave, I WILL send one to all who tweeted their mailing address. BUT OFFER ENDS NOW.

Hodgman then followed up the offer and the recantation/rescinding with a few other tweets about respecting privacy, defining his initial intent and being more forthcoming about how to contact him in the future.

As an avowed Hodgman fan – specifically of his previous book, The Areas of My Expertise – I jumped at the chance to get a free preview of his upcoming book – More Information Than You Require – for the low, low price of free. Well, free if you count exposing your full address to the internet as “free”.

But I do. So we’re cool.

Here’s a goofy, gushy, weird video of me “reviewing” the fact that John Hodgman addressed an envelope to me and sent me a signed, numbered copy (#138, for those scoring at home) of the aforementioned More Information Than You Require. It’s funny just how serious I am. Hold your applause.

That said, I think the excerpt is as funny and as insightful, if that’s the right descriptor, as anything Hodgman has written before. Even reading and responding to his tweets seems, he’s completely in character (himself?) as this know-it-all.

I just wanted my own little piece of internet fame ephemera and I got it.

Yay me!

Instructively, it bears mentioning that Hodgman is such a whiz at Twitter because he’s playing himself on Twitter. I mean, he’s a caricature of an expert, but that’s his shtick and he never breaks character.

If only everyone in media and entertainment got that, the internet would be a happier place. Or filled with more marketing-minded, media/internet-savvy auteurs. Either/or.

Additionally, I’ve just received my signed copy of Matthew Sweet’s lastest CD Sunshine Lies (pre-blogged here), so I’m just swimming in pop culture signatory stuff.

Signed copy of Matthew Sweet's Sunshine Lies

Happy Tuesday!

New Matthew Sweet Album, Sunshine Lies, out August 26!

Best. Music News. This Week.

Ok, so I probably deserve to ratchet up the hyperbole by a factor of awesome, but one of my favorite artists/musicians of all time (if not my most favorite), Matthew Sweet, has a new album coming out in less than 2 weeks!

Looks like he’s free of any old labels and I’m looking forward to something more serious than Kimi Ga Suki * Raifu (which I got from my cousin in Japan well ahead of it’s US release) and more consistent than Living Things, his two most recent solo albums.

Judging from the recent Paste I just got today, it’s his best work since In Reverse, a fantastic album that never found an audience.

I’m also a big fan of his trio collaboration with Pete Droge and Shawn Mullins, The Thorns. I can honestly say that I haven’t purchased his Under the Covers, Vol. 1 album with Susanna Hoffs, though I do enjoy their version of The Beatles’ And Your Bird Can Sing.

Plus, who among you doesn’t love playing the riffs of Girlfriend on Guitar Hero II? I didn’t think so.

Anyhow, for someone like myself who is a member of Matthew Sweet groups on virtually every social platform, I’m surprisingly under-informed.

So you’re not in the same boat, here are some links:

From what I’ve heard of Sunshine Lies, it’s got the best of my two favorite albums: the edgy rock of Altered Beast and the layered atmospherics of In Reverse.

Can’t wait!

Bonus link: The Bridges, a family band (3 sisters, a brother and a cousin) from Alabama whose latest album is produced by Matthew Sweet. They rate mention by Paste as one of the next band to watch/listen.

Have a great weekend!

Digital Bits

We’re still two weeks away from new Lost episodes, but I do have Lost news!

First, the producers are in talks to add an additional hour this season (to make 14 in all, 6 total for the back portion). No word if it’ll be a stand-alone episode or just a longer finale. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, one of their fold (a producer) is leaving. ๐Ÿ™

Of course, I could just spoil the end of the entire series for you. Go ahead, it’s not a Rick-Roll, but it’s mildly amusing.

Here’s some stuff that’s not but worth mentioning here:

That’s all I’ve got for this Thursday.

Wish me luck on the weigh-in.