Billy Jam's Put the Needle on the Record is broadcasting live from San Francisco's Gallery 16 this afternoon (3-6pmET), smack in the middle of Sonny Smith's 100 Records exhibit. If you're able to stop by, you'll find hundreds of records lining the walls, the jukebox full of sounds made by R&B singers from the 1960s, drag queens, the late punk tragedy Zig Speck & his Specktones, the Americana poet Hank Champion, the Teenage Thugs, The Loud Fast Fools, Earthgirl / Helen Brown, Hazel Shep, and many more.
If any of these artists sounds familiar, your imagination is comparable in size to that of Sonny Smith, who invented each of the artists in his exhibit. Then Sonny commissioned 100 visual artists (Chris Johanson, Kyle Field, and Jovi Schnell among them) to create cover art, along with musician-friends to help Sonny dream up some music to go along with each 7'' (A side and B side!).
Sonny & The Sunsets is the most real artist featured in the exhibit; it's Sonny's primary musical vehicle, through which he's collaborated with fellow Bay Area garage-rock revitalists like John Dwyer, Kelley Stoltz, Tim Cohen, and Shayde Sartin. The Sunsets is the latest incarnation of Sonny's solo work, going back to 2003, with plenty of music outside of 100 Records released by topnotch real labels like Soft Abuse and Future Stress. This March, Sonny & The Sunsets played live at the WFMU/aQuarius SXSW showcase down in Austin TX, and here are a couple highlights from that set.
Sonny explains a bit more about the project in a video from KQED (after the jump).
Also scheduled to stop by Billy Jam's remote are Gallery 16's Griff Williams, Live Human, DnZ, Z-Man, and B-Cause. Gallery 16 is located at the corner of Bryant & Third Streets in downtown San Francisco and is open to the public. This WFMU broadcast of "Put The Needle On The Record" with Billy Jam happens at local San Francisco time noon to 3pm, which is 3pm to 6pm Jersey City time, today, and will be archived here.
[update: here's the playist & archive for Put the Needle of the Record w. more pics & video]