Sonny & the Sunsets, Kelley Stoltz, Vermillion Sands, Lover! Critic's Choice Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Fri., Sept. 24, 9:30 p.m. 2010

Not that any further evidence was necessary to confirm the good health of the Bay Area music scene, but Sonny & the Sunsets take its creative playfulness and vibrant collaborative spirit to a beautiful new summit. On their 2009 debut LP, Tomorrow Is Alright (reissued this year on Fat Possum), singer and guitarist Sonny Smith tells three-minute tales of strange love and planets of women while the Sunsets—members of the Fresh & Onlys have passed through their ranks, and Sub Pop singer-songwriter Kelley Stoltz is currently aboard—provide tasteful, knowing reinterpretations of good-time slow-dance oldies filtered through the very best parts of Jonathan Richman’s post-Modern Lovers sensibility, with fearless detours into other moods and sounds like the Skip Spence Oar vibe of “Death Cream.” Smith is something of a 21st-century renaissance man—he’s not just a musician but a playwright, author, actor, and filmmaker—and this spring he put together an art installation called 100 Records , for which he wrote and recorded 100 songs by 100 different made-up acts (with elaborate backstories to boot) and his artist friends made the record sleeves and fake discs. To top off this “Why the fuck didn’t I think of that?” achievement, he helped modify an old jukebox to play all the music digitally. —Brian Costello

Price: $10, 17+

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