Cover illustration from The Designer and the Woman's Magazine by J. Zamatin, March 1921
One of my favorite discoveries of 2011 has been Bay Area songwriter Sonny Smith - I've been wearing out my copies of both Sonny & the Sunsets records (and I've written about both of them). But his most intriguing project may be an art installation called "100 Records", composed of one hundred fake single sleeves and a jukebox of Sonny Smith originals to go with them, recorded under a variety of pseudonyms.
Smith supposedly released a collection of songs from the project in the form of a 7" box set, but I've never seen one on a shelf. Luckily, Smith released a second collection, I Miss the Jams, with ten more songs from the project. A couple of the tracks are just sloppy garage rock tunes ("Ain't No Turnin' Back" and "Back in the Day"), but none of the other songs sound like they were banged out as part of a batch of a hundred quickie compositions. Two of them are inventive re-imaginings of songs from the most recent Sunsets record (a Latin punk "Teen Age Thugs" and an awesome version of "I Wanna Do It" sung by the Sandwitches' Heidi Alexander). There's one totally weird beat-poetry monologue called "Broke Artist at the Turn of Century", and the collection begins and ends with a couple great tracks, "One Time Doomsday Trip" with Ty Segall singing lead and "Time to Split", which has a lead vocal by Tim Cohen of the Fresh & Onlys.
"Time to Split" by Loud Fast Fools (Sonny Smith)