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Sonny & the Sunset's vintage-style west coast pop songs tell sordid tales of death, drowning, outcasts, heavenly visions and otherworldly despair. This was captured in its purest form on their 2009 debut album Tomorrow is Alright, which still radiates with a classic yet indefinable sound, akin to a futuristic take 50's R&B.
Fat Possum announced the long-awaited vinyl release of Tomorrow is Alright, out September 24, 2021. Coming of the heels of the recently acclaimed new Sonny & the Sunsets LP New Day With New Possibilities, and having have released eight official records with an often radical exploration of different sounds ranging from country to post punk, it's a fitting reminder of the impressive range of the project.
Fresh off being featured in Netflix's Outer Banks, the anthemic "Too Young To Burn" gets a 2021 video treatment packed with behind-the-scenes archival footage of the Bay Area music scene circa 2009, and featuring some distinct personalities that helped make the scene so vibrant. Check it out on YouTube, and pre-order the vinyl release here.
In 2007, he formed Sonny and The Sunsets with help from friends Shayde Sartin & Tim Cohen (of the Fresh & Onlys), Tahlia Harbour (of Citay and The Dry Spells), Ryan Browne and Kelley Stoltz (Sub Pop Recordings) among others. Together the band created Tomorrow is Alright, recorded on a classic 1970's 388 Tascam tape recorder in various uncommon places including out of Sonny's camper. Tomorrow is Alright is full of straightforward-pop songs that recall the 1950's era doo wop of The Falcons combined with the direct sincerity and positive spirit of Modern Lovers' Jonathan Richman as well as the dark confessional humor of cartoonists like Robert Crumb and Ivan Brunetti.
Since 2009, Smith has also released unusual records under other names , aliases, including a Spaulding Grey-esque story record, and a record of one act plays. His 100 records project created 100 fabricated musicians with fake backstories, some of which sprang to life with their own real life recordings such as Earth Girl Helen Brown and Hank Champion.
In 2019 he began his own record label, Rocks In Your Head records , producing and releasing bands such as Galore, Fake Fruit, the Gonks and more. Smith is a songwriter in the tradition of Ray Davies who’s songs are often populated by characters with an emphasis on outcasts, weirdos, freaks, death, love and atypical transformation. They sometimes recall the 1950’s era doo wop of The Falcons combined with the direct sincerity and positive spirit of Modern Lovers’ Jonathan Richman, the kitchen sink wisdom of Michael Hurley and the absurdity of The Hairy who art collective, as well as the dark confessional humor of cartoonists like Robert Crumb.