Backbeat: Matchbox Twenty's 'North' Draws Martin Bandier, Julie Greenwald, Kiefer Sutherland To Penthouse Listening Party
Backbeat: Matchbox Twenty's 'North' Draws Martin Bandier, Julie Greenwald, Kiefer Sutherland To Penthouse Listening Party

From left: Atlantic Chairman/COO Julie Greenwald, Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas, producer Matt Serletic, Matchbox Twenty's Paul Doucette, half of Billboard Senior Correspondent Andrew Hampp's face. (Photo: Meghan Benson)

Clearly, the first Matchbox Twenty album in ten years is a big deal to many sectors of the music industry, as a number of high-power music execs made the trip to the Mondrian SoHo's Soaked penthouse bar (a day before the new venue opened to the public, no less) on a Wednesday night (July 11) to hear the alt-rock veterans' forthcoming studio set, "North," which is due out Sept. 4.

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Atlantic Chairman/COO Julie Greenwald played emcee, raising a toast to the band's fourth album and her first since she joined Atlantic after a long tenure at Def Jam. Greenwald called the album, "one of the greatest albums you are going to hear this year."

Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas (left) with Sony/ATV Music Publishing CEO Martin Bandier. (Photo by Meghan Benson)

Clear Channel programming chief Tom Poleman
was making the rounds as well, sampling the album's 12 pop-rock cuts produced by longtime producer (and former Virgin Records chairman) Matt Serletic, who was also in attendance. Perhaps most notably, however, was the presence of Martin Bandier fresh from closing Sony/ATV's ownership stake in EMI Music Publishing, who was greeted at the bar with a hearty congratulations by Matchbox Twenty's Paul Doucette, who mentioned his excitement to be back under Bandier's umbrella (the band is published by EMI).

"I've had the pleasure of working with you guys on solo albums," Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas said of the Atlantic team while introducing the record. "It really means a lot for you guys to do this and for the love that you guys have shown." Later, Thomas was spotted listening to the new record and enjoying a chat with actor Kiefer Sutherland, while Gabe Saporta, frontman for Fueled By Ramen/Atlantic act Cobra Starship, chatted with partygoers.

From left: Alan Philips and Gabe Saporta. (Photo by Meghan Benson)

Upon first listen, "North," which follows 2002's "More Than You Think You Are" and Thomas' solo outings "Something To Be" (2005) and "Cradlesong" (2009), sounded like a diverse array of brawny ballads and pop-leaning material. The set's first single, "She's So Mean," was released to radio last month.

VH1's Rick Krim (left) with actor (and former label owner) Kiefer Sutherland (Photo: Meghan Benson)

Hanging Out: Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas (left) and Paul Doucette. (Photo: Meghan Benson)