It won’t be much longer for Matthew Sweet fans until January 15th, the day his much-anticipated album Catspaw is due out on Omnivore Recordings. Rather than wait for release day to get here, Sweet is bridging the gap between then and now with the release of his new single “Stars Explode” and American Songwriter has partnered with him to bring you its world premiere.
One hand washes the other. What goes around comes around. The cliches can be endless but in essence, that’s exactly how the new single’s title came to be.
“Recently, I heard a song called ’Matthew Sweet’ by a band from Chapel Hill, N.C. named The Stars Explode,” says Sweet from his home in Nebraska. “I was flattered and liked the song and their band name, so I decided to use it in my song ‘Stars Explode.”
While the name may have been a smiled volley, the song itself has nothing to do with the band. Instead, the alt-rock, singer songwriter’s hook heavy, radio ready song is set in the stars and built on sparkling guitars, and his signature stacked harmonies. Side note: while on a self-described, semi-permanent hiatus, the North Carolina rockers were pretty damn good and would have fit in fairly well with Matthew Sweet fans.
“The music ‘arrived,’ so to speak, together with the title. I’ve always been interested in Space and that greater nature of things; I love the concept that “we are all stardust.” I explored that idea in the lyrics. ‘Stellar winds she comes riding upon / with a nebulous intent…’ The female character here is sort of a Mother Nature of the Cosmos—maybe the queen of the universe!
“The way I come in singing that repeated note in the first verse reminded me a little bit of something Neil Young might do melodically. I had a lot of fun with the lead guitars on this one too.”
Though Sweet steps into the spotlight to take on the lead guitar duties, a first for him, that isn’t the only new territory he explores. With the exception of the excellent drumming by longtime collaborator Ric Menck (Velvet Crush), Sweet handled the rest of the duties on Catspaw including Höfner bass, electric guitars and backing vocals. Even the recording and mixing was done at his beloved home studio, Black Squirrel Submarine.