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April Smith and the Great Picture Show Release Stunning 'Songs for a Sinking Ship'

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It's hard to translate the energy and fun of a live show into a polished studio recording, but April Smith and the Great Picture Show have done just that. Their fan-funded debut album, Songs for a Sinking Ship, is chock full of toe-tapping retro pop with a decidedly modern spin. Smith's voice is a force to be reckoned with, and comparisons have already been made with everyone from Ann Wilson to Gwen Stefani.

As of late, the Brooklyn-based quintet has been everywhere—from winning A Prairie Home Companion's Battle of the Bands to having their music featured in Paste Magazine and on Showtime.

LAist caught up with Smith earlier this week to learn about some of the band's unique instruments, their history of cursed tour buses, and their gig Thursday night at the Hotel Cafe.

LAist: According to your website, you've been soliciting auditions for people to "play the suitcase" on this tour. How long have you personally been playing the Samsonite?

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April Smith: A couple years ago, I'd just written "Colors" and really wanted to record it—just so I could capture the idea of the song and let people hear it. Unfortunately, I didn't have a drum set or any other percussion, so I just looked around my apartment and saw the suitcase. It sounded surprisingly good, and I really liked the tone. In addition to the demo, we ended up using it as the kick beat on the studio version of "Colors."

April Smith and the Great Picture Show - "Colors"