Category: Silversun Pickups

Adam Lambert's chart-topper 'Trespassing' is a high and a low

Adam Lambert
When Season 11 of "American Idol" comes to a close in a few hours, no one should feel too sorry for the runner-up. One need only to look to this week's pop charts for evidence that the "American Idol" crown isn't a requisite to cultivating a fanbase. The theatrical pop-rocker Adam Lambert finished second on "American Idol" during its eighth season, and this week he earned his first No. 1 album in "Trespassing." 

Lambert's "Trespassing," his second full-length since competing on the talent show, sold 77,000 copies in the U.S. in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The album's title track, meanwhile, has sold just north of 11,000 downloads. 

This chart-topper, however, isn't entirely a cause for celebration. Lambert's 2009 debut, "For Your Entertainment," opened with a much heartier 198,000 copies sold in its first week, when it arrived at No. 3 during the holiday season. "Trespassing" can boast that it is the lowest-selling No. 1 since Amos Lee's "Mission Bell" opened with 40,000 copies a little more than a year ago.

Just behind Lambert is U.K. singing sensation Adele, whose "21" has been in the top 10 now for an astonishing 65 weeks and sold an additional 63,000 copies this week. The title has sold more than 9 million copies. Carrie Underwood, another "Idol" vet, had last week's No. 1 with "Blown Away," which this week sold 54,000 copies. In three weeks, "Blown Away" has sold more than 440,000 copies.

Rock 'n' roll hucksters Tenacious D landed in the top 10 with their latest, "Rize of the Fenix." The duo of Jack Black and Kyle Glass sold a little more than 44,000 copies of their latest, their first since the movie-musical "The Pick of Destiny" in 2006. 

Sup Pop's elegant dream-pop act Beach House cracked the top 10 for the first time in its career. The indie duo's latest, "Bloom," entered at No. 7 with about 41,000 copies sold. The band's 2010 effort, "Teen Dream," was a career breakthrough, landing the act gigs at the Hollywood Bowl and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

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Album review: Silversun Pickups' revivalist 'Neck of the Woods'

Silversun Pickups
When critics call Silversun Pickups “ ’90s revivalists,” they usually mean the band sounds like Smashing Pumpkins, and they don’t usually mean it as a compliment. The L.A. quartet owns up to its Clinton-era influences on “Neck of the Woods,” but not in any of the ways you’d expect. The band’s third full-length hearkens back to the last decade when bands still played guitar riffs to stadiums -- but it also evokes the excitement of rock acts discovering how electronics and noise can upend expectations.

The band called in producer Jacknife Lee (known for his work with U2, R.E.M. and Bloc Party) to enliven its palette. The shake-up is immediate from the bomb-drill sirens and drum-’n’-bass percussion on “Skin Graph,” which sounds more like vintage Chemical Brothers than any rock ’n’ roll peer. “Busy Bees” puts a high-budget sheen on Fugazi’s spare, dancey post-punk; the drop-tuned guitar strut of “Mean Spirits” could make Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil pull off the road.

Sometimes its nicks are obvious -- “The Pit” is orthodox New Order down to the chorus-sodden guitars; “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)” continues the band’s My Bloody Valentine fixation. But its allusions all nod to the best stuff from a time when rock acts could be experimental, heavy and platinum-selling at once. If only more bands were so revivalist.

“Neck of the Woods”
Silversun Pickups
Dangerbird Records

Three stars (Out of four)


Album review: 'OFF!' by OFF!

Redd Kross survives the 'awkward' stage, readies new album

John Doe and Exene Cervenka 'Singing and Playing' on first duo album

-- August Brown

Photo: Silversun Pickups. Credit: From the band's official site.

Coldplay, Incubus, Silversun Pickups tapped for Weenie Roast

Those who missed out on tickets to Coldplay's three early May shows at the Hollywood Bowl will now have another chance to catch the British pop band. Coldplay will help anchor the annual day-long radio station festival in Irvine that is KROQ-FM's Weenie Roast y Fiesta. Joining Coldplay at the top of the May 5 bill at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater will be Southern California rock band Incubus, which last year released its first album in five years.

Like most KROQ (106.7) festivals, the Weenie Roast largely honors bands that have long been staples on the station's airwaves, and it does so while sprinkling in a newcomer or two that seem preordained for heavy rotation. Local punk bands Pennywise and Offspring are slated to appear, as are Blink-182 off-shoot Angels & Airwaves and technologically minded alt-rock act Garbage. The latter has a pair of sold-out dates at the El Rey on April 9 and April 10.

Silver Lake's Silversun Pickups will perform in advance of its May 8 album "Neck of the Woods," and peppy, fast-rising locals Grouplove will celebrate the success of debut album "Never Trust a Happy Song." Rounding out the bill will be electro-rockers Awolnation, reggae act the Dirty Heads, dancey power-pop band Walk the Moon and anthemic, Icelandic folk-rockers Of Monsters and Men. 

Those who sign up to be members of KROQ's street team mailing list will have first access to tickets Thursday at noon. Tickets will be available via and Tickets for last year's event ranged in price from $45 to $75, not including service fees. 


Los Angeles, get to know Grouplove

Goldenvoice's purchase of Coachella festival land applauded

Silversun Pickups debut new track 'Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)'

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Coldplay's Chris Martin performs at the MTV European Music Awards 2011 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on  Nov. 6, 2011. Credit: Joel Ryan / Associated Press

Silversun Pickups debut new track 'Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)'


The L.A. gauzy rock quartet Silversun Pickups has been lying low since its unexpected 2009 nomination for best new artist at the Grammys and high-profile 2010 follow-up tours in support of its second album, "Swoon." Fans of the band's redlining guitars and raspy vocals have waited for new songs ever since, and the band's new album "Neck of the Woods" is due out May 8 on local indie Dangerbird Records.

The band debuted a bit of music from it online Sunday, and the single "Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)" fits right in with its '90s-alt-rock inspired dynamics. The track starts with a flurry of synthesizer arpeggio and falsetto moans that suggest the band has taken cues from the epic electronic rock of peers like M83, before piling on its Pixies-inspired guitars and busy drumming.

It's not the most immediate or hook-driven single they've released, but as a sign of a mid-career band testing its palette, it's a compelling new use of the raw fuzz and ambient atmosphere that the band has long explored.


Silversun Pickups shift into overdrive

Live review: Silversun Pickups at the Greek

Silversun Pickups stunned at Grammy nomination

-- August Brown

Photo: Silversun Pickups at the Greek Theatre. Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

A Bob Dylan tribute album with 76 tracks and a 2012 mind-set

STORY: Bob Dylan tribute album honors Amnesty International too

The new  Bob Dylan tribute album, “Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International,” which is being released today, salutes both the songwriter and the human rights organization for half a century of their respective work.

But the album itself has been assembled and is being marketed with a very 2012 mind-set.

Veteran record industry executive Jeff Ayeroff, who is leading the charge for the benefit project, with proceeds going to Amnesty International, fully expects that few potential customers will be equally passionate about all 76 tracks by more than 80 artists appearing on the four-CD set.

Artists that participated constitute a diverse aasemblage spanning the pop music spectrum, and a bit beyond it, from young pop hit makers Adele, Miley Cyrus and Kesha to indie rockers the Silversun Pickups and the Belle Brigade to veteran folkies Joan Baez and Pete Seeger, alt-country musicians Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Brett Dennen and the Avett Brothers, mainstream rockers Dave Matthews, Joe Perry and Maroon 5, hard-edged  rock band Queens of the Stone Age, world music acts Ziggy Marley, Mariachi El Bronx and Somalian rapper K’naan and punk bands Bad Religion and Rise Against.
"Whatever I’ve learned in the evolution of the album, I know people who pay $20 for this are not going to like every song,” Ayeroff said. “But there are several records inside this album: There’s a country record, there’s an all female record of women interpreting Bob Dylan songs, which is probably the most significant part of the album for me. It shows that Bob speaks with many voices for many people.

“There’s an adult pop record, there’s a peer record, there’s an alternative rock album, and the rock record,” continued Ayeroff, adding that in the iTunes age he anticipates some people who buy the download version will pick and choose which parts of it they pull down.

In addition to the official four-CD version that’s going to all the usual online and physical music retailers, Starbucks has created a two-CD version.

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Live review: Silversun Pickups at the Greek Theatre

The indie act, whose sound has evolved and deepened, delivers highly charged modern guitar rock.


Not every rock act needs to change to play the big rooms. At the Greek Theatre on Friday, the Silversun Pickups looked as they always have, lost in a swirl of melody and noise, ecstatically doubled over their instruments on a stage barely decorated with a big sheet and flashing lights. None of it would have been out of place at their earliest shows at Spaceland or the Silverlake Lounge.

The band's fuzzy, explosive indie rock benefits from that direct approach, as hooks collide with sudden bursts of feedback, more My Bloody Valentine than pure pop. It was 90 minutes of highly charged modern guitar rock, ready for radio but too crisp to be called grunge, delivering relentless flash and spark over the rumbling bass lines of Nikki Monninger.

"Please excuse the glee that is … coming out of our pores," singer-guitarist Brian Aubert said early in the set, grinning at the huge hometown crowd. "We're a little excited."

It's a sentiment Aubert has voiced at other tour stops this summer, acknowledging the Pickups' accelerating rise from clubs to amphitheaters, though his band showed itself ready for the biggest spaces as early as a 2007 main-stage appearance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The distinctive Pickups sound is one-size-fits-all, even as it evolved and deepened with last year's ambitious "Swoon" album.

Early in the set, "Well Thought Out Twinkles" nearly came apart in spasms of chaos, as drummer Christopher Guanlao moved in perpetual circular motion, a perfect storm of beats. For "Little Lover's So Polite," Aubert's electric, joyful rasp was equal parts Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies and Lindsey Buckingham, and Monninger was cheered by fans during her soft, romantic vocal turn: "It's always the same way for me / Ending in the same way."

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Grammy countdown: The best new artist spotlight turns to Silver Lake and Brooklyn

The category: Best new artist

The field at a glance: Historically, best new artist has been one of the more puzzling Grammy categories. Just last year the Jonas Brothers contended for the prize despite having had a top-10 album in prior Grammy eligibility years. This year for late-blooming Grammy voters, Silver Lake's the Silversun Pickups are the artists of choice, having had their biggest hit single back in 2007 with "Lazy Eye." 

Easy jabs aside, best new artist remains one of the more exciting Grammy categories. Its range of artists is diverse -- this year all major pop genres but hip-hop are represented -- and expect it to be the only televised category on Jan. 31 with some non-household names. 

The biggest brands in this year's crop come from country and R&B. Producer/artist Keri Hilson went into 2009 as one of the year's most talked-about artists and had a top-10 debut with "In a Perfect World..." She's a singer who puts the rhythm first and can comfortably handle the type of backdrops seemingly more fit for a rapper. Meanwhile, the easy-going country boys of the Zac Brown Band have been quietly consistent -- their first major label album "The Foundation" is still in the top-30 after 60 weeks on the chart. 

The Silversun Pickups took a step up with its sophomore effort "Swoon," an album that proudly recalls the mid-'90s era of alterna-rock. English pop duo the Ting Tings were a breakout act at South by Southwest in 2008 and are still riding the success of snappy electro-rock singles "That's Not My Name" and "Great DJ." 

Brooklyn synth duo MGMT represents a somewhat surprising choice by Grammy voters, an underground band with an adventurous bent. MGMT should have been in the running a year ago, but then the act was still somewhat of an indie buzz band to Grammy voters. The success of "Kids" -- a sour, midtempo single -- changed that, and put MGMT and its danceable keyboard textures on the Grammys' radar. 

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Live review: KROQ's 2009 Weenie Roast goes outside the bun


KROQ's annual Weenie Roast bash typically reflects the core tenets of the radio station's musical ethos: The '90s were alternative rock's Gilded Age, skate punk moonlights as pop music and L.A. produces one good local band every year.

But this year's event, held Saturday at Irvine's Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, showed a surprising bit of daring from the station's tastemakers, who let the toothsome dance hall punks Rancid carry the headlining slot. No Wave weirdos Yeah Yeah Yeahs delivered a strong turn, and several young L.A. bands made the case that our local indie scene still snowballs into the nation's mainstream rock.

Excepting Weezer's always-welcome volley of power-pop, the titans of the '90s were nowhere in sight.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs are probably the strangest band to earn prime Weenie Roast real estate, though they do have one genuine smash hit ("Maps") and probably another in the synth-driven single "Zero." The trio's fractured art-pop translated unexpectedly well to KROQ's beer-and-board sport crowd.

Jimmy Eat World's workmanlike emo was a more traditional fit, as the Arizona quartet has a serious fix for anthemic guitar-pop sugar. Singles like "The Middle" and "Sweetness" made strangers hoist Coors Lights to the heavens, but the band satiated its loyal fans with deep cuts from its 1999 album, "Clarity."

Kings of Leon had a similar hugeness to its choruses, and even inescapable goofy love-god tunes like "Sex on Fire" and "Use Somebody" seemed refreshed by night breezes and a few thousand lighters in the air.

Rancid5_kjs332nc The grotty punk quartet Rancid has a long-anticipated new album coming out soon, but the band largely stuck to its considerable catalog of steel-toed hits like "Bloodclot" and "Roots Radicals." The band has only gained vitality with new drummer Branden Steineckert and its live set was like watching a gang of rowdy old sailors pulling into port -- singing gang-chant odes to their own longevity and spirit and maybe leaving a black eye or two in their wake.

The Airborne Toxic Event and Silversun Pickups illustrated different paths to fame (and whatever counts for fortune in today's music industry) for L.A. bands. Airborne, a new Island Def Jam acquisition, got there from its bleary Brit-rock earnestness. Silversun Pickups kicked around Silver Lake for years before striking gold with one of its oldest singles, the raspy crowd favorite "Lazy Eye." Each act was in good form at Weenie Roast, especially the Pickups, whose gauzy guitar thrash easily hit the cheap seats.

Weezer's early evening set was the one nod to the KROQ formula and while recent albums have indulged front man Rivers Cuomo's yearning to be a genuine codpiece-rock god, the band's brisk performance pleasantly reinforced why they get to play stadiums. "Say It Ain't So" and "The Good Life" still sound like nothing else on the radio.

This year's Weenie Roast, which closed out with TRV$DJ-AM offering up grindable exit music for the crowd, suggested that mainstream rock fans have broader tastes than KROQ sometimes gives them credit for. But it also proved that, sometimes, a dip in the status quo can be rather fulfilling.

-- August Brown

Photos: Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (top) and (bottom, from left to right) Lars Frederiksen, Branden Steineckert, and Tim Armstrong of Rancid peforming at KROQ’s Weenie Roast at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine. Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times

Weezer, Kings of Leon and Rancid will all roast weenies for KROQ

Rivers flowing

Maybe they'll call it the Weezer Roast? Or just a Rancid Picnic?

Weezer, Kings of Leon, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jimmy Eat World, Rancid and Silversun Pickups are among the headliners for the KROQ-FM (106.7) Weenie Roast Y Fiesta at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater on May 16.

Tickets go on sale at 5 p.m. Thursday (May 7).

The other announced acts on the bill: Cage the Elephant, Asher Roth, Anberlin, Hollywood Undead, White Lies, the Airborne Toxic Event, Big B.

The Weenie Roast began in 1993 with a show featuring Stone Temple Pilots, Dramarama, X, The The and Terence Trent D'Arby, believe it or not. Last year, Metallica, the Racontuers and the Offspring led the bill, one again reinforcing the show's Mad Libs approach to live-music booking.  

The concert is a fundraiser for a number of charities, including Heal the Bay, the Surfrider Foundation and the AIDS Services Foundation Orange County.

-- Geoff Boucher

Photo: Rivers Cuomo. Credit: Bryan Haraway / Getty Images

Live review: Silversun Pickups


Sometimes it takes more than just music to heal.

Last night, a slice of the Los Angeles music community visited the dark basement space of the Echoplex for a benefit concert intended to raise awareness and money for children with cancer. All proceeds from the sold-out Silversun Pickups show, which was announced only three days in advance, went to the Pablove Foundation, an organization supporting cancer research and arts, music and play programs for young cancer patients.

The show was dedicated to one child in particular, Pablo Castelaz, the 5-year-old son of Silver Lake-based Dangerbird Records co-founder Jeff Castelaz and his wife, Jo Ann Thrailkill. Pablo was diagnosed with a bilateral Wilms’ tumor nearly a year ago, and is receiving treatment at Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles.

Dangerbird Records is home to many rising stars of the Silver Lake scene, including The Dears, Darker My Love and last night’s headliners, Silversun Pickups.

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