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Tuesday, 10 December 2013 10:59

Charting the Music: Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, 'Under the Covers, Vol. 3'

Charting the Music: Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, 'Under the Covers, Vol. 3'
Written by Travis Dettmann
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Warping time back three decades, Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs do renditions of songs from the '80s on "Under the Covers, Vol. 3" -- minus the big hair, shoulder pads and neon clothing.

Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs' third record pays personal tribute to influential bands they admire. "Under the Covers Vol. 3" sheds new light on tracks by bands such as XTC, the Go-Gos and the Smiths.

88.1 KDHX chart position: #2 CMJ Top 30 for the week of November 26, 2013.

Record label, release date and producer: Shout! Factory Records released "Under the Covers Vol. 3" on November 11, 2013; it was produced by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs.

Can be heard on: Rocket 88 with Darren Snow, Interstate with Pat Wolfe and Memphis to Manchester with John Wendland.

RIYL: Velvet Crush, Marshall Crenshaw, and the Smithereens.

Hometown: Lincoln, Ne. and Newport Beach, Ca.

Standout tracks: Starting off with "Sitting Still" by fellow Athens, Ga heroes R.E.M., Sweet and Hoffs have it down to the tee. Channeling their inner Morrissey/Marr chemistry, with less drama, they nail The Smith's classic "How Soon Is Now." XTC's "Towers of London" finds a modern voice complete with dual vocals and guitars.

Artists: On October 6, 1964, Sidney Matthew Sweet was born in the Midwestern state of Nebraska. In 1983, Sweet graduated high school and moved to Athens, Ga. for college, briefly working with Michael Stipe of R.E.M. in a duo called Community Trolls and Stipe's sister in the band Oh-Ok. The '90s where much more kind to a solo Sweet, with his third release "Girlfriend" gaining commercial success and recognition as a staple in the power-pop genre. Susanna Hoffs was born on the West Coast on January 17, 1959. Along with sisters Vicki and Debbi Peterson, Hoffs formed the Bangles in late 1980, releasing their debut "All Over the Place" on Columbia Records in 1984. Hoffs went solo in the '90s releasing her debut "When You're a Boy" in 1991. Sweet and Hoffs began collaborating on the "Under the Covers" series in 2006.

Label: The year was 2003 when Rhino Entertainment's founders Harold Bronson and Richard Foos jumped ship due to frustration with Time Warner's full ownership of the company. Richard Foos with the help from former Rhino employees Bob Emmer and brother Garson Foos started Shout! Factory LLC. While dealing with both music and video entertainment, Shout! Factory rode the wave of TV programs on DVD, releasing the beloved "Freaks and Geeks" series as well as "SCTV," a Canadian sketch show that featured comic gurus such as John Candy, Martin Short and Harold Ramis. Aside from reissues, Shout! Factory is also responsible for new material as well, releasing music by Richard Thompson, Los Lobos and Jimmie Vaughan.

Play it while: Enjoying the decade that you fortunately do not have to relive.

Awards and accolades: Matthew Sweet's third effort "Girlfriend" was a commercial breakthrough, peaking at no. 1 on Billboard's "Heatseekers" list as well as no. 100 on "The Billboard 200" chart in 1992. His fifth and sixth releases hit no. 65 and no. 66 on "The Billboard 200" chart in 1995 and 1997 respectively. Hoff's band the Bangles and their most successful release "Different Light" topped at no. 2 on "The Billboard 200" with its singles "Walk like An Egyptian" and "Manic Monday" hitting no. 1 and no. 2 respectively on "The Billboard Hot 100" in 1986. Together, their "Under the Covers Vol. 1" and "Vol. 2" albums took the no. 192 and no. 106 positions on "The Billboard 200" list in 2006 and 2009.

What the critics say: "Alt-popmaster Matthew 'Sid' Sweet and former Bangles bombshell Susanna Hoffs are 'Under the Covers' again with the third album in their series of reinterpretations of other artists' hits and obscurities, and the results are as before -- sweet." Gene Triplett, NewsOK.

KDHX coverage: Scott Allen covered Matthew Sweet's sold-out show at the Duck Room on October 15, 2011 and conducted an interview with Sweet for KDHX about his then new album "Modern Art."

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