Bill Bentley is a guy who had an idea.
A former publicist at Warner Bros. Records who also put in a few years working for Neil Young, Bentley was a guy who saw a void that desperately needed filling. Like a lot of aging baby boomers not yet quite ready to hang up their rock and roll shoes, for Bentley the mind was still willing. It was just in sore need of a destination.
"Since the record stores all started going away," Bentley explained in a recent phone conversation, "I saw a need for a place where older people could just have fun discovering the music again."
To that end, Bentley started Sonic Boomers, a website tailored specifically to the needs of aging music fans. Enlisting a number of great rock journalists (like Creem Magazine vets Jaan Uhelski and Bud Scoppa), as well as several newer writers, Sonic Boomers serves as something like a one-stop source for news, reviews, streaming tracks, and more — all targeted towards those folks who just aren't yet ready to give up the rock.
Although Sonic Boomers does feed the need of its target audience with a steady diet of the sixties and seventies bands one would probably expect, classic rock is not the only item featured on the menu.
"There are plenty of artists and bands out there who consist of 20-year-olds, that are going to appeal to somebody who is, say, between 35 or 65," Bentley explained. "You just aren't going to always find them that easily in the environment of something like a Best Buy."
To that end, Sonic Boomers features a "Boom Tune," which is rotated on a daily basis. Often the Boom Tune is by a new and developing artist, as is currently the case with Louisiana songwriter/musician Mary Gauthier. At Sonic Boomers, you can listen to her song, "I Aint' Leavin'." If you like it, there is a link right there to buy it from iTunes.
Boom Tunes are archived for several days, and currently include an eclectic mixture of tracks by sixties bands 13th Floor Elevators and the Butterfield Blues Band, and a version of Nick Lowe's "(Whats So Funny Bout') Peace, Love And Understanding" by the Holmes Brothers. Each Boom Tune is also accompanied by insightful reviews from the aforementioned great mix of music writers.
The site also links current, up to the minute news stories to their original source via the Fresh Links page. This more often than not means a link directly to the artist's website, where you'll find all the latest details on things like the new David Gilmour live disc coming out this fall, or the just announced summer tour from Tom Waits.
There are also album reviews of recent releases like Tom Petty's Mudcrutch. Each review features a link to buy the disc at Amazon.
You'll also find all the latest concert reports — which currently include reviews from the New Orleans Jazz Festival and a Marianne Faithfull show — "on the corner", and book reviews of things like the new Roxy Music bio Re-Make Re-Model: Becoming Roxy Music in the Shelf Life area.
One of the coolest spots at Sonic Boomers, though, is Past Print, which reprints vintage articles from old rock magazines. Right now you can find an original, uncredited article about James Brown from Hullaballoo, as well as a Led Zeppelin piece from the seventies by Charles Shaar Murray. Great stuff.
This is a great site for Sonic Boomers who still like it loud.