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Miley, Lady Gaga and the Silversun Pickups: Silver Lake band breaks the top 10*

April 22, 2009 |  2:26 pm


Silver Lake’s Silversun Pickups are now in the same league as superstars Miley Cyrus, Rascal Flatts and Lady Gaga -- or at least in the neighborhood. The indie quartet has scored its first-ever top 10 album, landing at No. 7 with “Swoon," placing the fuzzy guitar rockers between Jadakiss and Lady Gaga.

It was a good week for independents overall. Saturday was a quasi-holiday for independent retailers, as it marked the second edition of Record Store Day, which was established last year by music-store operators to encourage consumers to shop at mom-and-pop outlets. A host of labels – major and indie alike – released exclusive or early product on Saturday.

Nielsen SoundScan reports that album sales at the independent retail sector were up 21% over the previous week, the only segment with a boost. By comparison, sales at chains dipped 14%, and big-box mass retailers suffered a 34% decline as mainstream retailers readjusted to non-Easter foot traffic.

As for the Silversun Pickups’ 10-song “Swoon,” the set sold 43,000 copies in its first week of release giving the group the best sales week of its career. The band’s intentions with “Swoon” were clear early on. The Silversun Pickups performed in a prime slot Friday night at the 10th edition of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, appearing just before Paul McCartney on one of the fest’s two outdoor stages.

Performing at Coachella comes with a catch, as artists are subjected to well-known, but rarely discussed, radius clauses, preventing acts from performing in the Los Angeles market for weeks before and after the three-day concert in Indio. While the Silversun Pickups, who will also appear at Lollapalooza in Chicago in August, were cleared to play a Coachella warm-up in Pomona in early April, the booking hinted that the band was betting on summer festival exposure as having a bigger long-term payoff than returning to the local market.

Early returns show that it’s working. Latest single “Panic Switch” has sold 20,000 digital copies since its release last week -- the cut wasn't available at major digital outlets in advance of "Swoon" -- and the song has breached the top 10 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart.

It still has a long way to go to catch up to the act’s breakthrough single, “Lazy Eye,” which has sold more than 433,000 copies, and which was helped along the way by a car manufacturer. The tune, in fact, has outsold the album from whence it came, as 2006’s “Carnavas” has scanned 339,000 copies since its release.

The Silversun Pickups hit the top 10 the same week as the Cyrus vehicle “Hannah Montana: The Movie” moves into the pole position. After debuting outside the top spot earlier this month, the album took off once the film hit theaters. In four weeks, the soundtrack has sold 545,000 copies, moving 133,000 copies this week.

-- Todd Martens

Related: Coachella 2009: Silversun Pickups -- When Silver Lake fame goes global

Related: Album review: Silversun Pickups' 'Swoon'

Related: SXSW Day 3 report: Silversun Pickups, Metallica and an unexpected discovery

Photo: Getty Images

*Updated to add stats from Record Store Day.