Sweeney's high school band Skunk released two albums on Twin/Tone records ("Last American Virgin" in 1989 and the posthumous "Laid", both out of print). In the nineties he recorded and performed as a singer and guitarist with NYC heavy rock band Chavez, releasing a seven inch ("Repeat the Ending" b/w "Hack the Sides Away") two albums (1995's "Gone Glimmering" and 1996's "Ride the Fader") and one EP (1995"s "Pentagram Ring") on the Matador label. Chavez did several short tours in the United States and Europe between 1994 and 1997. When Chavez slowed down Sweeney filled in on bass guitar for Guided By Voices on the "Under the Bushes, Under the Stars" tour. He also provided vocals on the song "Quicksilver" on Guided By Voices leader Robert Pollard's first solo album "Not In My Airforce" LP. The late '90s found him continuing to work a day job and touring with Bonnie 'Prince' Billy as a guitarist.
Sweeney's work has taken him across a variety of musical genres. Starting in 2000 he turned up on Cat Power's "The Covers Record", playing guitar on "Salty Dog", and a couple of Bonnie "Prince" Billy singles (percussion on "A Whorehouse is Any House" and guitar and vocals on "Little Boy Blue"). In 2001 he started playing and writing with Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin in what was to become Zwan. He collaborated with Billy Corgan on the soundtrack to the movie Spun, singing the movie's opening song, a cover of Iron Maiden"s "Number of the Beast". He was also featured as a guitarist and backing vocalist on Bonnie "Prince" Billy's "Ease Down The Road" album. He lent a helping hand to Dave Grohl in assembling the all-star heavy metal album Probot, tracking down the legendary singers and providing some guitar work (the Probot album was not released until 2004, on Southern Lord records). Sweeney recorded and toured with Zwan from late 2001-2003. He is credited as providing guitar, vocal, and some songwriting on Zwan's album Mary Star of the Sea.
After Zwan's breakup, Sweeney played guitar with Bonnie "Prince" Billy for several tours in 2004. January 2005 saw the release of their collaboration Superwolf on Drag City. Sweeney and Bonnie toured behind the Superwolf record in the U.S. and Europe. 2005 also saw Sweeney producing Brooklyn, NY heavy metal band Early Man's debut album, Closing In. The following year found Sweeney working in both the country music and hip-hop scenes, providing guitar work, along with Mike Campbell and Smokey Hormel on the Johnny Cash album, American V: A Hundred Highways and appearing with Yo La Tengo bass player James McNew and Def Jux founder El-P, as guest artists on the first track of rapper Cage's album "Hell's Winter." He also played guitar on the Dixie Chicks Taking the Long Way album. In addition, he became a member of apocalyptic Christian folk legends Current 93 touring group, playing shows in Europe in support of the Black Ships Ate The Sky album. He also recorded with longtime friend Andrew W.K. for W.K.'s Close Calls With Brick Walls album.
In early 2009 Sweeney formed The Brill Sisters with Andrew W.K. and producer Don Fleming. They played their first show (without Fleming) at Santos Party House on April 2, 2009. The entire group performed on April 21.
Sweeney produced Dax Riggs' album We Sing of Only Blood or Love in 2007 for Fat Possum records. In late 2007, along with Bonnie 'Prince" Billy, Sweeney produced Baby Dee's debut album for Drag City Records, "Safe Inside the Day." The album was released in January 2008. 2008 saw Sweeney on a European tour with Current 93 and Baby Dee. Sweeney is also credited for "wry guitar licks" on an album for NYC heavy blues rockers Endless Boogie, called "Focus Level." It is rumored he produced the album as well. He also turned up on the Six Organs of Admittance's LP Shelter from the Ash. In addition, Sweeney has songwriting credit on certain pressings of Cat Power's Jukebox album, for "Song to Bobby." He is also credited as an additional guitarist on that album.
In tune with his many collaborations, an unlikely combination of Sweeney and Neil Diamond was proposed by seminal producer Rick Rubin in 2008 to follow-up Diamond's Rubin-produced 2005 album "12 Songs." The 2008 album "Home Before Dark," released on the 12th of May, features Sweeney on all songs.
Sweeney also plays guitar on Kid Rock's 2010 album "Born Free."
- Gone Glimmering (1995) Matador
- Ride The Fader (1996) Matador
- Better Days Will Haunt You Best Of Compilation CD/DVD (2006) Matador
- Repeat the Ending EP (1994) Matador
- Pentagram Ring EP (1995) Matador
- What's Up Matador? feat. "Theme From 'For Russ' (1995) Matador
- School House Rock feat. "Little Twelve Toes" (1996) Atlantic Records
- Boys Making Music, Music Making Men Documentary VHS (1996) Matador
- Mary Star of The Sea (2003) Warner Bros.
Matt Sweeney & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
- Superwolf (2005) Drag City
- I Gave You (2005) EP Drag City
- The Seedling Soundtrack feat. "Demon Lover" (2006) Label?
- Must Be Blind/Life In Muscle (2011) Single Drag City
- Probot - by Probot - Executive Producer Matt Sweeney (2004) Matador
- Closing In - by Early Man - Produced by Matt Sweeney (2005) Matador
- We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love - by Dax Riggs - Produced by Matt Sweeney (2007) Fat Possum
- Safe Inside The Day - by Baby Dee - Produced by Matt Sweeney with Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (2008) Drag City
- Focus Level - by Endless Boogie - Uncredited production by Matt Sweeney (2008) No Quarter
- Full House Head - by Endless Boogie - Uncredited production by Matt Sweeney (2010) No Quarter
- Sexual Harassment - by Turbonegro - Produced by Matt Sweeney (2012) Volcom Entertainment
Other musical appearances
- The Covers Record - by Cat Power - featuring Matt Sweeney on guitar (2000) Matador
- Spun motion picture soundtrack feat. "Number of The Beast" uncredited w/ William Corgan
- Ease Down The Road - by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - featuring Matt Sweeney on guitar, vocals (2001) Palace Records
- American V: A Hundred Highways - by Johnny Cash - featuring Matt Sweeney on guitar (2006) American Recordings
- Taking The Long Way - by The Dixie Chicks - featuring Matt Sweeney on guitar (2006) Columbia
- Close Calls With Brick Walls - by Andrew W.K. - featuring Matt Sweeney on guitar, vocals (2007) Universal Japan
- I'll Sleep When You're Dead - by El-P - featuring Matt Sweeney on guitar (2007) Def Jux
- Hell's Winter - by Cage Kennylz - featuring Matt Sweeney on guitar (2007) Def Jux
- Home Before Dark - by Neil Diamond - featuring Matt Sweeney on guitar (2008) American Recordings
- Shelter From The Ash - by Six Organs of Admittance - featuring Matt Sweeney on guitar (2008) Drag City
- Jukebox - by Cat Power - featuring Matt Sweeney's guitar on "Song to Bobby" (2008) Matador
- Birth Canal Blues Live - by Current 93 - featuring Matt Sweeney on guitar (2008) Durtro
- Leaving on a mayday - by Anna Ternheim - featuring Matt Sweeney on guitar on "Terrified", "Losing You", "Off the Road" and "Black Sunday Afternoon" (2008) Universal
- Aleph At Hallucinatory Mountain - by Current 93 - featuring Matt Sweeney on guitar (2009) Durtro
- Cherish the Light Years - by Cold Cave - featuring Matt Sweeney on bass guitar on "The Great Pan is Dead" (2011) Matador
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOVXsT4paGM and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG-swcgnI58
- "Sweeney Makes Unlikely Neil Diamond Sideman", http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003802536, May 13, 2008.