Category: Silversun Pickups

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

Silversun_pickups_coachella

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.

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Coachella preview: Silversun Pickups

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Pop & Hiss will be covering the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., on April 17-19. There are more than 120 acts on the bill, and in the days leading up to the festival, we'll be selecting some of the best bets -- some on the radar, some flying below.

Who: Silversun Pickups

Why Silver Lake’s latest mega-stars could make or break a long career at this show: Of all the scads of Silver Lake bands that have threatened to crack the national consciousness over the years (and there have been scads), the Pickups’ ascent made a lot of sense. Every song on their debut album “Carnavas” had at least one instant-anthem guitar hook, and despite Brian Aubert’s best efforts to rid himself of his larynx, singles such as “Lazy Eye” and “Well Thought Out Twinkles” stood out on mainstream rock radio while still playing by structures a casual KROQ-er could get behind.

“Swoon,” their much-awaited follow-up, will likely test the outer fringes of that formula -- kickoff single “Panic Switch” is almost six minutes long, with an intro of atonal guitar creaks and some of Aubert’s most idiosyncratically raspy singing yet. If the new tunes do gangbusters before Coachella’s home-field crowd, it’ll bode well for the follow-up’s chances to win the charts and minds of mainstream fans. This will be the first set in which those chips start falling.




--August Brown

Photo credit: Dangerbird Records

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

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The Silversun Pickups certainly lucked out Friday night in Austin, Texas, at the South by Southwest music festival and conference. Here's a way to guarantee that not only your show will be packed, but kids also will be watching from the parking garage rooftop across the street: Play the opening set on a not-so-secret show by Metallica.

Unveiling five of 10 songs from its forthcoming April disc "Swoon," the Silver Lake-based rockers more than held the attention of the crowd, arriving in Austin with a fiercer, more atmospheric sound. It was good news for the band when its hit 2007 single, "Lazy Eye," felt like the set's lightest, most undemanding cut, hopefully foreshadowing a bit of a growth spurt for the band.

New single "Panic Button" had more life on stage than it does on the radio, with Nikki Monninger's bass playing the steady but spirited counter to the swirl of fuzz-drenched guitars that threaten to engulf everything in sight. Brian Aubert's muted, scratched vocals are echoed by the guitar line, which seems to gradually drift from the melody, giving the band a grander, more spacious sound.

But even better was set closer "Growing Old is Getting Old," a murkier, slower and far more mysterious song. It's a cut that's all atmosphere, with a night-crawling bass that swamps its way through the keyboard mist, and a guitar riff that teasingly feels leashed in. It was an exercise in tension. More important, it revealed a band that isn't afraid to challenge itself.

More notes from Night 3 of South by Southwest:

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