Join the Fillmore for a “Sunday Serenade”

Sundays just got a bit better thanks to the Fillmore's brand new series, "Sunday Serenade." No matter what your social media preference is, hop onto their channel for your viewing pleasure. The first of the series featured "Bay Area music scene stalwart," Sonny Smith. The Fillmore's Facebook page goes on to describe Sonny as "the man behind local legends Sonny & the Sunsets, releasing great music outta our fair city since 2000, but he also founded local imprint Rocks In Your Head Records in 2018, soon to release the debut album of Galore. A multimedia artist and writer as well, [...]

‘Hot Sick Vile and Fun,’ out on Rocks in Your Head

Rocks in Your Head, the new San Francisco record label started by Sonny Smith (Sonny and the Sunsets) just released its second album, Volume 1: Hot Sick Vile and Fun. The collection has a wide range of songs, from the sweet acoustic Gonks’ vocals (title track) to the punky-fun rock of Toyota (track “Why”), to David Novick’s acoustic guitar song, then right into Blue Ocean’s “Love,” a pure and gentle rock song a la Weezer. When Smith put together the collection, he had the people of San Francisco in mind. As Smith says, “This is a modest selection of the [...]

Mixtape: Local Musicians at Eleven Upcoming Bay Area Music Festivals

Download: Mixtape: Local Musicians at Eleven Upcoming Bay Area Music Festivals (Podcast #429) This episode first ran on With the debut of the Blurry Vision Fest in Oakland earlier this month, and Bottlerock Napa Valley and Carnaval San Francisco taking place this weekend, music festival season is officially underway in the Bay Area. This mixtape features music from Bay Area bands performing at festivals around the region in the next several months. Outside Lands may be the biggest summer music festival around -- with a 2018 lineup notable for the overdue inclusion of female headliners and a ton of [...]

Video: Sonny Smith and Angel Olsen team up for “Burnin’ Love”

The great Sonny Smith, leader of SF's Sonny & the Sunsets, has a new album, his tenth studio LP, arriving this March. Rod For Your Love was produced by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, and it's coming out on Auerbach's new label, Easy Eye Sound. Above, check out Sonny Smith's new video for "Burnin' Love," a duet with Angel Olsen. Sonny has a bunch of mostly West Coast dates coming up in the next few months, and you can find those below. January 18 /// Chicago, IL /// Tomorrow Never Knows Festival @ Schuba’s February 2 /// San Francisco, [...]

Is the San Francisco music scene dead? We search for clues.

Hot Flash Heat Wave at the Rickshaw Stop, January 31, 2016 I recently heard the music scene in San Francisco was dead, and being a writer for a website dedicated to covering the music scene in San Francisco, I was obviously a little concerned. To get to the bottom of this, I went out to find some comments from some members on the scene. But man, it was kind of difficult. I thought I'd start with Chuck Prophet, who at this point should be considered one of the deans of the SF scene (if it still exists). Unfortunately, [...]

Thank You, Sonny Smith: A letter from our editor, Russell

A couple days ago, someone asked my why I was into music, and for whatever reason, I hadn't really thought about it before and gave kind of a bland answer that basically amounted to "because I like it." Well, yesterday evening Sonny Smith gave me a better answer, and I want to thank him for it. It was a normal day at work and normal commute home, but right as the BART train I was on was coming out of the tunnel between Lake Merritt and Fruitvale, Sonny's "Pretend You Love Me" came on. It's a song I've heard many [...]

Art & Technology, Part II: Opportunities, Challenges, and Moving Forward

San Francisco (Photo: Wikimedia Commons) In Part I of Art & Technology, I spoke with the 16 musicians to uncover how musicians are experiencing and how they perceive the current state of the Bay Area. Based on the direction I assumed the interviews would go, the initial title of "Art & Technology" was "Art versus Technology", and it was supposed to be a single piece. However, as I spoke with each artist, the conversation evolved into one that placed those in the realms of art and technology next to each other, instead of head-to-head in competition. Based on my conversations with Mark Tester [...]

Art & Technology, Part I: The state of the Bay Area from the musician’s perspective

San Francisco (Photo: Samuel Wantman/Wikimedia Commons) The ongoing technology takeover and subsequent affordability crisis in San Francisco has saturated recent conversation here in the Bay Area. As the social, economical, and cultural landscapes continue to shift with no signs of slowing down, the dialogue has become muddled with brash accusations and blind finger pointing, and the fighting has gotten ugly on both sides. I spoke with 16 Bay Area artists - Pat McDonald, Pat Thomas, and Alex Fleshman of Cool Ghouls; Mark Tester of Burnt Ones; Matthew Melton of Warm Soda, Jeff Lewis and Elliott Kiger of The Spyrals; [...]

'I Need You Bad' – The Live Show! (win tickets!)

A little over a month ago, Polyvinyl Records announced the release of its garage rock compilation I Need You Bad, a sonic snapshot of the local garage rock scene. Curated by Sonny Smith of Sunny & the Sunsets, the comp features Bay Area staples like Cool Ghouls, Burnt Ones and Warm Soda as well as a few other artists from along the West Coast, including Burger Records' latest darlings The Memories, who come from Portland. The record is streaming in its entirety below and you can order the LP over at the label's online store, but Polyvinyl is taking I Need You Bad a step further with a live celebration, appropriately titled I Need You [...]

Bay Area garage compilation to be released on Polyvinyl

Polyvinyl Record Co. has announced the release of I Need You Bad, a compilation that focuses on the Bay Area garage scene. A blend of both emerging and established Bay Area bands (and a few friends from the further reaches of the West coast), the compilation is curated by Sonny Smith. I Need You Bad will contain tracks by Warm Soda, Burnt Ones, Jessica Pratt and Cool Ghouls, with artwork by Shannon and the Clams and Hunx and his Punx’s Shannon Shaw. The album will be released on November 26th and is available for pre-order in the Polyvinyl shop. Listen [...]

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