“Its melodies are simple and near-perfect, its guitars jangly and unembellished. It’s distinctly West Coast in its feel, but it’s also the sound of a band that are increasingly their own.” – Noisey

Empty Cellar Records is stoked to announce the third full-length release by San Francisco’s Cool Ghouls, Animal Races. Fans of their self-titled debut and 2014’sA Swirling Fire Burning Through the Rye will be similarly stoked to hear how this band has continued to evolve. If the first album was a celebratory debut, and the second an earnest venture into deeper waters… this third album is like the crystal born of the murky womb that was the second, fertilized by the initial intention of the first. Not only have the ghouls reaped the crop they sowed; they’ve baked it into some new kind of bread!

For the uninitiated – Cool Ghouls play rock’n’roll. That’s about all there is to it. They’re California natives. They try to do a good job. They like to try to elevate and get far out. They also like to keep it real. They like to make friends and have a good time. They don’t like bullshit. They want to keep growing and learning how to become more powerful musicians. This record reflects the discoveries they’ve made over the last five years about live performance, themselves, and each other.

The eleven tracks, recorded to tape by Kelley Stoltz in his backyard studio, are first and foremost documents of the four-piece’s live performance of the tunes. Many of the songs were road-tested, but – unlike the prior records – a few of them were not. This opened the door for some new looks: an acoustic guitar, some synth, upright piano, a little pedal steel wizardry from Tom Heyman, etc. It’s Cool Ghouls doing what they’ve always done, but in more ways and better.

Animal Races will be available on LP/CD (8/19/16) in the US via Empty Cellar Records and the EU/UK via Melodic Records, and worldwide on cassette viaBurger Records. All versions feature full-color artwork painted by Shannon Shaw(Shannon and The Clams). Distributed by Revolver/Midheaven (USA).


Track Listing:

1. Animal Races
2. Sundial
3. Time Capsule
4. When You Were Gone
5. Days
6. Just Like Me
7. The Man
8. Brown Bag
9. Never You Mind
10. Material Love
11. Spectator

Cool Ghouls – 2016 Tour Dates
8/11 San Francisco, CA – The Chapel (Record Release Show)
8/16 Los Angeles, CA – The Resident
8/17 Tucson, AZ – TBA
8/18 El Paso, TX – Monarch
8/19 Austin, TX – Barracuda
8/20 San Antonio, TX – Limelight
8/22 Denver, CO – TBA
8/23 Salt Lake City, UT – TBA
8/24 Boise, ID – The Olympic
8/25 Portland, OR – Baker Ballroom
8/26 Seattle, WA – TBA
9/1 Zagreb, HR – Mochvara Club
9/3 Vienna, AT – Chelsea
9/4 Prague, CZ – Famu Club
9/6 Gent, BE – Cafe Video
9/8 Lille, FR – Le Biplan
9/9 Paris, FR – Espace B
9/10 Chatillon sur Seiche, FR – Rock on Noyal
9/11 Tilburg, NL – Incubate Festival
9/12 Antwerp, BE – TBA
9/13 Brussels, BE – Pin Pon
9/14 Dortmund, DE – Rekorder
9/15 Breda, NL – Electron
9/16 Berlin, DE – Bassy Club
9/17 Dresden, DE – Ostpol
9/20 Brighton, UK – Sticky Mike’s Frog
9/21 Northampton, UK – The Black Prince
9/22 London, UK – Birthday’s Dalston
9/23 Liverpool, UK – Liverpool Psych Fest
9/24 Sheffield, UK – Picture House Social
9/25 Manchester, UK – The Eagle Inn
9/27 Strausbourg, FR – Mudd Club
9/28 Geneva, CH – La Graviere
9/29 Heilbronn, DE – TBA
9/30 Lausanne, CH – Le Bourg
10/1 Florence, IT – Annibale Night
10/15 Oakland, CA – New Parish with The Sonics



Sonny Smith (Sonny & the Sunsets) has written a monologue, an hour long story, called SEES ALL KNOWS ALL. A tale of LOVE, SEX, DRUGS, SPACESHIPS, ROMANCE, HALLUCINATIONS, BITTER TEARS and CHAMPAGNE. A story set in a fast-disappearing San Francisco. A bohemian quarter-life crisis (in six parts) told by a man who never had anything to gamble with, but his life. As Sonny put it “Sort of a Spalding Gray typa thing if Spalding Gray had a band and wasn’t himself but was me.”

Sonny premiered SEES ALL KNOWS ALL live with a band at The Lost Church in San Francisco. The run lasted five nights and each night featured a different musical guest: Kelley Stoltz, Tim Cohen (Fresh & Onlys / Magic Trick), Kyle Field (Little Wings), Alexi Glickman (Sandy’s), & Sun Foot (Chris Johanson). It was very much a San Francisco thing. A nod, perhaps, to both Eggers and Ferlinghetti. Indeed, excerpts from this story have been published in San Francisco’s reknown literature, arts, and culture magazine, The Believer.

We made a little video trailer for the LP and you can check that out along with an album chapter all about an Ayahuaska trip to nowhere at FLOOD MAGAZINE.

Narrated by Smith, this audio recording of SEES ALL KNOWS ALL features sounds made by a talented group of local musicians including Kelley Stoltz, Shayde Sartin, Rusty Miller, James Finch, Germán Carracosca, Jordi Llobet, and Sonny himself. The result is a Joe Frank meets Michael Hurley meets R. Crumb production: a dry, witty, autobiographical look at the meaning(s) of life from an underdog with deep nostalgia for America’s lost folk culture and a kinship with the marginalized. Perhaps you saw one of the live performances; or maybe you are familiar with Sonny’s stories via the tiny comic books stashed in his early vinyl releases… but you probably have never heard him try to pronounce “Panaderia”. So, light a fire/joint, get comfortable and lose yourself in a man’s attempt to find himself; or at least, exert a shred of control over his own destiny.

SEES ALL KNOWS ALL is limited to 300 blue powder (the stuff of the universe) splattered LPs via Empty Cellar Records. Each LP is packaged in a deluxe old-style linen jacket and features artwork by Bay Area greats: Chris Johanson, Shayde Sartin, and Shannon Shaw (Shannon & The Clams).


The She’s “Cherry Red” b/w The Dry Spells “Heliotrope” Out Now!

Introducing a new split 45 via Empty Cellar Records featuring harmony-heavy San Francisco legacies The She’s and The Dry Spells. Tight vocal harmonies, ambitious musical arrangements, and diverse influences meet on both sides of this record in a pairing that won’t disappoint. A song for the party and one for the comedown.

Go ahead and throw a funeral for yourself because this song is both the party and the come down.” – Bryn Lovitt, Noisey (Vice)

The She’s light things up with their ever expanding range: the group that got its start while in middle school have brought their steadily amassed stylistic and dynamic breadth to the track, “Cherry Red,” produced by Patrick Brown at Different Fur. It bursts open with with a driving surf beat cut with the laser-guided vocal counterpoint The She’s are known for. Aggressive Go-Go’s, The Breeders at the beach, Shonen Knife in the Golden State. Call it what you want; It’s irresistible. After winding through a dizzying set of changes, the She’s pull the rug out from under, dropping you (along with the beat) into a half-time dream that would make the Shangri-La’s smile, but also calls to mind english guitar bands of the 90’s – a reference reinforced by singers Hannah and Samantha musing about painting their lips (the classic color that gives this track its name) in the same breath as reminding us that we will all die and ultimately be forgotten.

I feel like an old buddy came to town for the holidays. […] The vocal harmonies are still stellar and I’m now so happy” – Bob Boilen, All Songs Considered (NPR)

You’re gonna feel pumped after Side A, putting you in the perfect place to enter the restorative trance of the Dry Spells’ “Heliotrope” (members of Sonny & The Sunsets, Jonas Reinhardt, Citay), produced by Tim Cohen (The Fresh and Onlys / Magic Trick) and mixed by Mikey Young (Total Control / Eddy Current Suppression Ring). The track opens with delicate guitar lines reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane’s best slow-psych (think “Today”) spilling from a wash of cymbals. Aquarian? Yes. Wishy-washy? No way dude: A Fleetwood-McVie rhythm tightens this track, clean, warm and hypnotic under vocal harmonies that rise and rise and rise some more. Enter the guitar solo – nuanced, spacious and moody – it slides across a Fairport violin, risen from the mix to dabble in the sun-worshiping harmonies. This song is not, however, without its grittier influences. The bass line is biting as it is melodic. Sinewy and driving like a fretless Television, it coalesces with guitar and vocals into one final pitch-perfect exaltation before everything collapses into the fragile sustain of a tremolo’d guitar.

Yin Yang city

Take all this, and combine it with the fact that this split comes in a limited run of 500 copies of colored vinyl (250 cyan / 250 red) with artwork by The Fresh and Only’s / Sonny and the Sunsets’ Shayde Sartin rendered in anaglyphic 3D, and you can be sure that you won’t find a more spangled Yin meets Yang 45 this fall.

Order yours HERE

The Latter – Ivorics, Cassette OUT NOW!


Ivorics is a hip hop compilation featuring Tim Cohen (The Fresh and Onlys / Magic Trick) in his retired duo, The Latter. 100 cassettes dubbed with 14 tracks featuring a dozen off raps performed by Tim Cohen. Tim performed under the aliases Smif Carnivorous and Feller Quentin in groups The Latter and Forest Fires Collective during the late 90’s and early 00’s. They released two hard to find vinyl LPs and a handful of similarly obscure CDs. Fans have been curious about this part of his catalog since he materialized in the fog as someone to watch in the SF garage explosion. Tim (Feller) grew up on rap in Richmond, Virginia and was one of the hip hop czars at Amoeba Music (San Francisco) for the better part of a decade. You can read this brief interview from a few years ago to learn about his all-time favorite rap albums. He gave me over 50 tracks to work with and we managed to whittle the sequence down to this collection with the help of his partner Eddie Vic. Recorded between ’98 and ’03, we think that this tape represents the breadth and variety of The Latter’s history and are confident of the following three things: The beats are dope; The lyrics are fresh; and The styles are incomparable.

The Latter - Ivorics

Limited to 100 cassettes (no digital, no vinyl, no cd, no 8-track) for the completist and curious minds alike (NOTE: completists must also find his black metal output as AmocomA, his work with improvised space rock outfit 3 Leafs, and genre-free releases with Black Fiction and Window Twins).

Order yours while they last!

ON TOUR!!! The She’s, Cool Ghouls, The Cairo Gang, Sonny Smith…



The Cairo Gang:
7.31 – San Francisco, CA (solo) @ The Chapel %
8.3 – Felton, CA (solo) @ Don Quixote’s %
8.8 – Los Angeles, CA (solo) @ El Cid w/ Jessica Tonder, and Paz Lechantin
8.21 – Los Angeles, Ca (solo) @ Holy Grounds(el sereno) w/ Will Ivy, and Shannon Lay
9.05 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios $
9.07 – Vancouver BC @ Biltmore Cabaret $
9.10 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club $
9.11 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon $
9.12 – Ames, IA @ Maximum Ames Music Festival $
9.14 – Cleveland, OH @ Happy Dog #$
9.15 – Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place#
9.16 – Toronto, ON @ Adelaide Hall #$
9.17 – Montreal, QC @ Pop Montreal at Fairmount #$
9.18 – Allston MA @ Great Scott  #$
9.20 – Woodstock, NY @ Bearsville Theater  #$
9.22 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall #$
9.26 – Portsmouth, NH – 3S Artpsace $
9.27 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s $
10.2 – Jackson, MS (solo) @ Duling Hall $

% with Ty Segall
$ with Mikal Cronin
# with Calvin Love

Tim Cohen:
7.26 – Makeout Room, San Francisco, CA

Cool Ghouls:
7.27 – SF at GAMH, Social Studies Record Release
8.07 – Portland at SMMR BMMR Fest
8.09 – Reno at Holland Show Space at Rainshadow *
8.10 – SF at Rickshaw Stop *
8.11 – LA at the Echo *
8.12 – San Diego at TBA *
9.17 – Oakland at Leo’s ^
9.18 – SF at Brick & Mortar ^
9.23 – Los Angeles, CA El Rey +
9.24 – Pioneertown Pappy + Harriets +
9.25 – Santa Ana, CA Constellation Room +
9.26 – San Diego, CA The Casbah +
9.27 – Las Vegas, NV Beauty Bar +
9.29 – Denver, CO Larimer Lounge +
10.01 – Dallas, TX Three Links +
10.02 – Austin, TX Saengerrunde Hall +
10.03 – San Antonio, TX TBD +
10.04 – Houston, TX Rudyard’s +
10.05 – New Orleans, LA Siberia +
10.06 – Atlanta, GA The Earl +
10.07 – Durham, NC The Pinhook +
10.08 – Asheville, NC Mothlight +

* with La Luz
^ with Natural Child
+ with Shannon & The Clams

Magic Trick:
9.01 – The Chapel, San Francisco, CA w/ Ducktails

The She’s:
7.24 – The Crepe Place, Santa Cruz, CA w/ Pyromids,Emotional
7.25 – All-Star Lanes, Los Angeles, CA w/ The Memories, The Lentils, & Grape Room
7.26 – Whistle Stop Bar, San Diego, CA w/ Growwing Pains
7.28 – Redwood Bar, Downtown LA, CA w/ Dripmen,The Ugly Kids, Deadpanzies
7.29 – Burger Records Hump Night, Continental Room, Fullerton, CA w/ June Holiday, Grand Air
7.30 – Pappy and Harriet’s, Pioneertown, CA
7.31 – Duffy’s, Chico, CA w/ The She Things, Viking Skate Country
8.01 – Corner Haus (House), Portland, OR w/ Ladywolf, Makeout
8.02 – The Future (House), Seattle, WA w/ Mope Grooves, Mikey Nike
8.03 – The Hindenburg, Vancouver, BC Canada w/Jody Glenham, Plazas
8.05 – The National Hotel, Nevada City, CA w/ Dazeys
8.14 – The Chapel, San Francisco, CA w/ Swiftumz, Smiles, Air Surgeon

Sonny & The Sunsets:
7.25 – Quiet Music Festival – Seattle, WA
7.26 – Quiet Music Festival (solo Sonny Smith) – Portland, OR
7.02 – High Sierra Music Festival – Quincy, CA
7.11 – Phono del Sol Music & Food Festival – San Francisco, CA
7.17 – Haymarket Whiskey Bar – Louisville, KY $
7.18 – The Mothlight, Asheville – NC
7.19 – Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar – Carolina Beach, NC $
7.21 – Black Cat (backstage), Washington, DC $
7.22 – Baby’s All Right – Brooklyn NY $
7.23 – The Press Room – Portsmouth, NH $
7.24 – Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY $
7.25 – The Silver Dollar – Toronto, Canada
7.26 – Mo Pop Festival @ Riverside Park – Detroit, MI
7.27 – BEAT KITCHEN – Chicago, IL
7.31 – Pickathon Festival – Happy Valley, OR
8.01 – Pickathon Festival – Happy Valley, OR
8.02 – Pickathon Festival – Happy Valley, OR
9.02 – dB’s – Utrecht, Netherlands
9.03 – Merelyn – Nijmegen, Netherlands
9.04 – Misty Fields Festival – Heusden, Netherlands
9.05 – Into The Great Wide Open – Vlieland, Netherlands
9.06 – End of the Road – Salisbury, United Kingdom
9.07 – Shacklewell Arms – London, United Kingdom
9.08 – Espace B – Paris, France
9.09 – Le Troc Cafe – Strasbourg, France
9.10 – La Batie Festival @ La Parenthese – Nyon, Switzerland
9.11 – Treppenhaus – Rorschach, Switzerland
9.12 – City Club – Augsburg, Germany
9.14 – Basement Club – Prague, Czech Republic
9.15 – ACUD – Berlin, Germany
9.16 – Loppen – Copenhagen, Denmark
9.17 – Geronimos FGT – Stockholm, Sweden
9.18 – Revolver – Oslo, Norway
9.19 – Pustervik – Gothenburg, Sweden

$ with Sarah Bethe Nelson

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