Sonny Smith has bounced back from the post-divorce listlessness of Longtime Companion. He has returned from the wandering, dissociative identity disorder of 100 Records: Vol. 3. On Antenna to the Afterworld, due to drop June 11 on Polyvinyl, Smith is back to what he does best: lending his perceptive, singular voice to understated rock tunes with his posse The Sunsets. He’s scarred, bleary-eyed and the opposite sex is only beginning to come back into focus.
The future is uncertain on the propulsive, guitar-driven “Palmreader.” In the video found below, Smith plays the role of box office attendant / director of a short, black-and-white film that centers around a gory, B-movie death match. The video serves as an odd accompaniment to an otherwise gentle rocker. Maybe it speaks to the precarious nature of Smith’s ambiguous destiny as he re-enters bachelorhood. Or maybe he’s just a guy with a sense of humor and an appreciation for cheap special effects. Watch the video below and pre-order your copy of Antenna to the Afterworld.
Indianapolis readers can catch Sonny & The Sunsets at Radio Radio on Wednesday, June 19. Grab tickets from MOKB Presents. Fellow Californians Little Wings and Bloomington’s Mike Adams at His Honest Weight will be on hand to lend support.
Sonny Smith is a tough man to pigeon hole. Just when you think you’ve got him figured, he turns the equation on its head. Smith has kept busy since leaving Fat Possum for Polyvinyl last year. In the wake of his divorce, Smith & the Sunsets released the best break-up record of 2012 in Longtime Companion. Earlier this year, he debuted the third (and strongest) installment in his 100 Records series, showcasing his range by bouncing from reggae to instrumental folk to jangly garage rock with ease.
On June 11, Sonny & the Sunsets will release its latest LP Antenna to the Afterworld (Pre-Order). Stream the album’s opening track “Dark Corners.” It’s a synth-heavy pop tune that proves a far cry from the broken-hearted cowboy songs of Longtime Companion. Also, check out the band’s cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” set for limited-edition, 7″ treatment on Record Store Day.
Written by Rob Peoni
Back in 2010, Sonny Smith of Bay Area garage outfit Sonny & The Sunsets undertook a ludicrous endeavor in the form of an art project called 100 Records. Smith set out to write 100 songs under the guise of 100 fictional band names. As a visual accompaniment, Smith enlisted a bunch of artists to design album covers for his various pseudonyms. A video detailing the project can be found beneath the post.
In January, Polyvinyl will release the third and final batch of songs from the 100 Records project in the form of a limited edition cassette and vinyl. You can listen to the album’s first single “If You Don’t Make a Change” below. The track is performed under the alias Don Adora’e. In 2010, Smith offered up the following bit of background on the character:
Don Adora’e recorded for DMade between 1963-1967. He kept his identity a secret by wearing a mask onstage and in the recording studio. His given name was Don Adora’e, so the mask didn’t keep anyone from knowing his true identity. He ran a dry cleaners in Passaic. He became locally famous for his delightful singles. He filled the local high school dances, and the kids loved him. Although he never got out of Passaic, Don Adora’e has lived up to his fantastic moniker. He is still loved in Passaic, and is a popular singer/local TV personality, lending his pipes to local commercials for used car places and furniture stores.
Smith & The Sunsets have kept busy in 2012, releasing one helluva break-up record in the form of Longtime Companion. The album’s lead single “Pretend You Love Me” is one of my favorite songs of the year. Pre-order your copy of 100 Records, Vol. 3 from Polyvinyl Record Co.