AUDIO: Sonny & The Sunsets’ “Happy Carrot Health Food Store”

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“Happy Carrot Health Food Store” may sound slightly off-key, which is funny considering the song is about a place to go for health but I don’t think Sonny & The Sunsets care about that. You’ll be able to hear more new music from them in five weeks when Polyvinyl release Talent Night At The Ashram.

What you will care about is the fact that the group have a small handful of west coast shows coming up:
February 17… Portland, OR (The Doug Fir Lounge)
February 18… Vancouver, BC (Fox Cabaret)
February 19… Seattle, WA (Sunset Tavern)
February 21… San Francisco, CA (The Chapel)

SOME STUFFS: Sonny & The Sunsets ride into the sun with Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

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Good news. Sonny & The Sunsets will be doing a handful of shows early next year with Thao Nguyen and her band, The Get Down Stay Down, and dates have been announced, all on the west coast:

January 10, 2014… Seattle, WA (Neptune)
January 11, 2014… Portland, OR (Wonder Ballroom)
February 14, 2014… San Francisco, CA (The Filmore)
February 15, 2014… Los Angeles, CA (El Rey)

Sonny Smith of Sonny & The Sunsets is also ready to release a compilation highlighting the new/current wave of west coast garage rock, and it’s called I Need You Bad, to be released on Polyvinyl. It will feature he and his band, and their contribution, “Those Drawings I Told You About”. The vinyl pressing comes in green, and you may order you copy directly from Polyvinyl. Cassette lovers will be able to order the tape from Burger Records when available. The album will be released on November 15th.

SOME STUFFS: Big Sur to host Mollusk Jamboree next month

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If you are a folk music fan/supporter/enthusiast, you’ll want to hear down to California on September 27th and 28th for a musical festival that sounds like it’s going to be a great time. Co-presented by (((folkYEAH!))), the Mollusk Big Sur Jamboree, to be held at the Fernwood Resort, will consist of “two days of music, camping and ensuing fun”. Some of the artists scheduled to perform includ Sonny & The Sunsets, The Autumn Defense, Allah-Las, Vetiver, Beachwood Sparks, and a planned supergroup lead by Cass McCombs, plus many more, perhaps a few guests and surprises. Also planned are a few “secret late night jam sessions”, not sure what may be involved in that other than music, but I’d be open to checking it out if I could.

A major highlight will be a screen dedicated to showing classic and contemporary surf films, since it is in Big Sur. The festival encourages people to bring their own food and drink, even though both will be available on the festival site. A lot more will be involved, and you are now able to buy 2-day camping or room packages for your stay. For more information, check the Mollusk Jamboree page or (((folkYEAH!)))’s home page.

REVIEW: Sonny & The Sunsets’ “Antenna To The Afterworld”

 photo SonnySunsets_cover_zpsd136ca8d.jpg Sonny & The Sunsets have recorded one of the most fun albums I’ve heard of the year, as they mold together music that sounds like everything form bubblegum pop to weird late 60’s electronic pop to novelty music, garage rock with farfisas and trippy organs, to something left of the left of center that it’s right in the middle, the core of what you want to hear in life. Antenna To The Afterworld (Polyvinyl) may be a title that represents the best music we hope to hear when we’re dead, and that is, if there is such a thing as an afterworld. Since we all become carbon, the afterlife is just an Earth-bound dream so we are forced to enjoy this existence as best as possible, and we get to do it with help from Sonny & The Sunsets.

There’s a lot I like about this album, from the tape hiss and sound of the studio during the quiet moments of “Void”, to how the mixing in “Death Scene” is panned almost to to the extreme as if the guys behind the Somerset and Alshire labels, or 101 Strings, decided to have a go-go party and eat hallucinogenic mushrooms in their grilled acid-tinged cheese sandwiches. Half of the songs on here sound like the kind of music you’d find on thrift store records that are so wrong that they’re right, attempts that trying to be hip failing, but being recreated in 2013 because anything can be (and is) good. Then there are songs like “Palmreader” that sound like they are rooted in Athens, Georgia with that Rickenbacher-ish guitar, but the lyrics are either too quirky to believe or it comes off like those lyrics people used to send to Nashville in the hopes of making their own music and seeing it on vinyl:
on my hand, there’s a scar
from the time… oh nevermind
in my love line is hard to see
but it’s still there underneath

in my life line is fucked up too
it’s covered in scabs and glue
it seems like it’s split, split into two
one goes there, one stays here
one stays here with you

I’m wondering if I’m meant to hear it this way, or if it’s just music meant to be heard and played for fun, a band not taking themselves too seriously but having a blast doing it anywhere? Antenna To The Afterworld is an album meant to be discovered in a cardboard cover with the words “Rachel, Dandelion Flower Club 1979” handwritten on the back. It sounds like lost music that has rightfully been found again, or perhaps this is just good music without a timeline that will pop up at the most opportune times.

SOME STUFFS: Sonny & The Sunsets sail off into the tour bus/van/truck

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Antenna To The Afterworld (Polyvinyl) is one of the reasons why Sonny & The Sunsets are about to tour, as a means of getting the word about themselves and the album for people to purchase and treasure. Plus, they’ll have a great time performing for you, the fan or fan-to-be. Some of these shows will bring in Kurt Vile as part of the show package:

July 24… Visalia, CA (The Cellar Door)
July 25… San Diego, CA (Casbah)
July 26… Costa Mesa, CA (Detroit Bar)
July 27… Ventura, CA (Zoey’s)
August 13… Salt Lake City, UT (Urban Lounge) *
August 15… Denver, CO (The Blue Bird) *
August 16… Lawrence, KS (Granada) *
August 17… St.Louis, MO (The Firebird) *
August 19… Dallas, TX (Trees) *
August 20… Austin, TX (Mohawk) *
August 22… Flagstaff, AZ (Orpheum) *
August 23… Albuquerque, NM (Sister’s) *
August 24… Phoenix, AZ (Crescent Ballroom) *
August 25… San Diego, CA (Casbah)
August 26… Los Angeles, CA (The Echo)
August 31… San Francisco, CA (The Chapel)
September 5… Vancouver, BC (Electric Owl)
September 6… Seattle, WA (Tractor Tavern)
September 7… Portland, OR (Bunk Bar)

* = w/ Kurt Vile

The band have also made a video for “Natural Acts”, and you may be asking “what act is natural?” All acts, maybe? Find out for yourself.

VIDEO: Sonny & The Sunsets’ “Palmreader”

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Sonny & The Sunsets will be giving Antenna To The Afterworld (Polyvinyl) to the world in two weeks, June 11th to be exact. It’s their latest album, and “Palmreader” is a video from it. The video is said to be NSFW, which means do not watch it while the boss is there or if you know someone who tracks all of your computer/mobile device activity. It’s a blistered track, and if you want to burst it open, do what you must, but safely.

Antenna to The Afterworld will be released in digital, along with vinyl, cassette, and CD. The vinyl LP and cassette versions are available for pre-order exclusively from Polyvinyl Records. Only 100 tapes have been pressed. Or you may pre-order the record and CD versions through Amazon below.

Also below: tour dates the band will be doing in June and July:

June 11… San Francisco, CA (The Eagle)
June 13… Hamden, CT (The Outer Space) *
June 14… Brooklyn, NY (Knitting Factory) {Northside Fest}
June 15… New York, NY (Cake Shop) #
June 16… Pittsburgh, PA (The Smiling Moose) *
June 17… Lakewood, OH (Mahalls 20 Lanes) *
June 19… Indianapolis, IN (Radio Radio) *
June 20… Detroit, MI (The Lager House)) *
June 21… Chicago, IL (Beat Kitchen) *
June 22… Iowa City, IA (The Englert Theater)
July 12… Oaktown, CA (New Parish)
July 13… Sacramento, CA (2nd Saturday Art Walk)
July 24… Visalia, CA (Howie & Sons Pizza)
July 25… San Diego, CA (Casbah)
July 26… Costa Mesa, CA (Detroit Bar)

# = performance of “Sees All Knows All”
* = w/ Little Wings

COVERED/RECORD CRACK: John Lennon vs. Sonny & The Sunsets

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John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band with The Flux Fiddlers released the album Imagine at the end of the summer of 1971, followed by the release of the title track as a single a month later. Due to the massive success of the album, the cover imagery of him behind a photo of a cloud is considered iconic. Imagine continues to be one of Lennon’s biggest sellers almost 33 years after his death, and will continue to be for years to come.

Sonny & The Sunsets will be releasing a 7″ single for this year’s Record Store Day, the cover of which is an illustrated homage to the Lennon album. The A-side features a cover of “Imagine” and the B-side will take on “Surfer Girl” by The Beach Boys. Not sure if these two songs were recorded during the sessions for the band’s forthcoming album Antenna To The Afterworld, but it will be released on June 11th, with pre-orders being taken from BTW: only 1000 copies of the “Imagine”/”Surfer Girl” 7″ have been printed, all on blue vinyl to match with the picture sleeve design.