Sonny & the Sunsets sign to Fat Possum; 100 Records project

18 Jun

Sonny and the Sunsets

Sonny Smith is probably feeling pretty good right now.

After completing his first solo art exhibition in San Francisco (a project called 100 Records, discussed below), Sonny and his band signed on with Fat Possum Records to re-issue their debut LP Tomorrow is Alright. The album, originally released on vinyl by Soft Abuse in 2009, was a major critical success. With Fat Possum, Sonny & the Sunsets’ mixed bag of west coast fuzzpop, downhome americana, and outcast rock can see a larger audience while fans can still buy the vinyl via Soft Abuse.

“Strange Love” from Tomorrow is Alright:

Sonny’s 100 Records was equally well-received at Gallery 16 in San Francisco, and even moved on to Austin, TX and New York. The project is based on Smith’s creation of fictitious band names, backgrounds and tracks, after which he gave to visual artists in order to come up with 45 rpm cover album artwork. Once a visual artist agreed to a particular made up artist, Sonny would then write and record a song or two. The result is amazing as Sonny and friends even built a jukebox with all the fictitious bands’ songs. In addition, Soft Abuse will release the music from the project in a two-volume format later this year. Watch the story as covered by KQED of S.F. here:

Even though the project was completed by April, the 100 Records blog is up and still worth checking out to see the stories and artwork behind the bands. Here is the story behind The South East Land Otter Champs (“commonly referred to as the S.E. Champs”) along with the B-side “O Cities, Infamous, Cruel, Undeserving.” Enjoy:

“If you ever get your hands on this record, grab it right away. On side A, a track called Wolf-Like Howls from the Bathhouse, accompanied by the meandering but brilliant B-side, O Cities, Infamous, Cruel, Undeserving. Wild, earnest, and far-reaching recordings halfway between songs and tundra wind.

The South East Land Otter Champs recorded for Tlinket Archives between 1963-1967. Led by Vernon Wright, an almost mythic adventurer of Tlinket and Russian descent, they toured throughout the Alaska region and into Northern Canada, often delivering food and medical supplies to hard-to-reach regions. An early photograph of his cargo showed toiletry supplies, medical crates, blankets, and record crates.”

The actual Sonny & the Sunsets will conclude a mini-tour with the Pitchfork festival:

06/24 – San Diego, CA – Bar Pink Elephant ^
06/25 – Los Angeles, CA – Spaceland ^
06/26 – Visalia, CA – Howie & Sons ^
06/27 – San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill ^ % #
07/17 – Chicago, IL – Pitchfork Music Festival

^ = w/ Ty Segall
% = w/ Grass Widow
# = w/ Royal Baths

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