Sonny & the Sunsets, Sandwitches, Michael Lux & the Bad Sons | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Sonny & the Sunsets, Sandwitches, Michael Lux & the Bad Sons Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard

When: Fri., July 22, 10 p.m. 2011

If you haven’t kept tabs on the nooks and crannies of the underground rock scene over the past few years, you may not know that a whole bunch of Bay Area bands have been messing around with prepsychedelic golden-oldies rock ’n’ roll. Some have been turning it into fuzzy dream-pop (Girls), others into raging sugar-punk (Nobunny). Sonny Smith usually focuses on the early part of that era, when chart-topping songs tended to lean not toward rowdy rockabilly but rather toward a square sort of vocal pop—full of oohs and ahhs, soft edges, and sedate vibes. The first Sonny & the Sunsets album, Tomorrow Is Alright, infuses sticky-sweet melodies with a sense of real weirdness that I assume reflects Smith’s mental state (he’s reportedly been institutionalized several times); I can just imagine John Waters creaming himself over it, especially the giddy sci-fi fantasy “Planet of Women.” Tomorrow’s follow-up, the new Hit After Hit (Fat Possum), is more sedate—and maybe a bit slighter—than its predecessor, but not by much. —Miles Raymer

Price: $8

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