Miami may be a dance music mecca, but just under the city’s tanned hide lurks the gnarled hopeful smile of an emerging sound. Really, it’s just re-emerging, because there’s nothing more classic than good old, garage-era rock ’n’ roll.
“If you could put fun in music, I think that would be [the sound],” said Plastic Pinks singer June Summer. He and his band recently wrapped recording its latest album, Sunnyside Rabbits, to be released in a matter of days via the Cali-based garage-pop leaders Burger Records.
Plastic Pinks recorded the album in Puerto Rico under the guidance of AJ Davilla of Davilla 666, one of Summer’s greatest influences. It’s a huge moment for the band, and the dudes are going big to support it, heading out on their “biggest tour ever” and kicking it off with a special album release party Saturday, July 11, at Sidebar.
“It’s really amazing, because there is a Miami scene, and it’s growing,” Summer says. “There are so many good bands that are happening right now. It makes you feel good that you’re doing this, because you have bands that have already opened the way, it’s just a matter of going out there and taking it.”
That’s an important lesson, and one the fearsome fivesome learned by experience when putting together this album. Summer is from Puerto Rico, and returning to those old stomping grounds was a huge influence on the band's explosive sound.
“I’ve always been a big fan of the scene there,” he says. “I used to follow Davilla 666.”
As luck would have it, Summer met his would-be producer in passing a few times playing shows and just milling about the same circles. Going into the recording process, the band said fuck it and reached out with their tunes. They didn’t expect much, but Davilla ended up digging the sound so much, he invited them to the island and asked to produce the album.
“We saw this as a really big step and obviously a great opportunity,” Summer says. “He welcomed us with open arms, and after that, he became an honorary Plastic Pinks member. He truly accepted us and saw a potential in us. He invested his time in us which also was a boost for us. It just makes you want it even more.”
Recording was a blur. As Summer describes it, “in a period of eight days and 16 Jack Daniels bottles, we created the album.”
Apparently, when Summer found his voice was hoarse, Davilla suggested the whiskey as a means of lubrication.
“It actually worked out, and it turned out beautifully,” he laughs. “I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone. It’s really unhealthy, but it was fun.”
But Jack Daniels aside, the work is far from over. Sunnyside Rabbits will be released on the same label as legendary outfits the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Hunx and His Punx, but that’s still not all it takes to promote your sound. If a band really wants to make it, they have to dig into their denim, squeeze into a van, pray for shelter (wanna let them crash?), and hit the road.
So for three months, Plastic Pinks will fight off insanity watching little white lines flash by their window on the way up the northeast, into Canada, through the Midwest, into California and eventually Mexico. They’ll play a special live radio performance for KEXP in Seattle. They’ll lay down some Daytrotter sessions, and they’ll perform on stage with Davilla and other friends from their Burger and Lolipop Records crews.
All this until they slowly snake their way back across the southern states and into the Florida grasslands, culminating in one helluva massive homecoming celebration in the main arena of this year’s III Points.
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“I think we’re going to destroy that stage,” Summer laughs. “We’re really excited to come back here and play for our fans and for our city and obviously for something as big as III Points, you can’t go wrong.”
All the while, Plastic Pinks take very seriously the idea that the band is representing Miami and the whole Florida scene. Everywhere they go, they’ll be spreading the word that they’re only a small part of a worthy movement that’s warming up and only getting hotter.
“This is the time to do stuff, and it’s not because we are saying it. It’s because people are paying attention,” Summer says. “We just have to be sure to help the scene out, be there for shows, listen to the music. The music scene in Miami is so big right now, it’s jut growing and it just needs everyone to acknowledge it.”
Plastic Pinks Sunnyside Rabbits all over tour kickoff party. Saturday, July 11, at Sidebar, 337 SW 8 St., Miami. Grab the album at the show or via iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and more. Doors open at 9 p.m. Call 786-703-6973 or visit facebook.com.