Silversun Pickups
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Silversun Pickups


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Tripwire Newly Discovered 7.6.05"

Have you ever been witness to one of thes bands in your hometown taht were on the verge of greatness? You know the feeling, watching them live, humming their songs when you left the show, feeling like you are in on a secret because the rest of the world doesn't know what they are missing. Then there is the waiting... waiting... waiting for that self release cd that was handmade. Well, take that and multiply it times 100 because that is exactly what I felt when I saw the Silversun Pickups almost three years ago in Los Angeles. The kids had it, right down from the cool vibe to the original noises that came from their instruments. I knew that there was something greater for them, and waited patiently for something to hold me over until the next show. Now, that wait is no more. Los Angeles' Dangerbird Records has picked up the four-piece and are unleashing their debut EP, titled Pikul, on July 26th with a full length to follow next year. The six-song (plus one secret track) EP is a great introduction to the band for those that are unfamiliar. Yes, they have toured with everyone from Secret Machines and Autolux to Earlimart and Midnight Movies, but to pigeonhole them into sounding like these bands would not do them justice. Granted Silversun Pickups have that lo-fi crunch that bands like Autolux posses, but what is important is that they manage to create their own sound and are full of originality. The band says it best on their Myspace profile, "We get loud, we get quiet, we get ugly, and we get pretty, that's what we sounds like". Silversun Pickups deliver their songs with great intensity, pure ease, and with raw emotion. Singer Brian Aubert's voice teeters with being on the verge of the harmony styling of Brian Molko, but at the same time can be just as lound and angry as Frank Black on a bad day. "Kissing Families" kicks off the album in an energetic way and nicely blends into the electronic "Comeback Kid". The swirling guitars and beat driven drums in "The Fuzz" are enough to get any hipster nodding their head in approval. "Booksmart Devil" and "Creation Lake" feature the down tempo treats that SSPU (as the kiddies call them) are so good at creating, and "All The Go Inbetweens" is the perfect way to finish off the debut EP. Be sure to listen to the secret track, "Sci Fi Lullaby", a dreamy space rock song that is sure to please. These guys (and a girl) have plenty more up their sleeves for 2006 and beyond. Apparently the old saying is true in Silversun Pickups' case; good things do come to those who wait.

- reviewed by Erin Chandler -


Pikul - EP - Released July 26, 2005
Silversun Pickups - Self Titled - Released 2004


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Tumbleweed Effect. Brian Aubert attributes the formation of his band, Silversun Pickups, and the tight-knit musical community surrounding it to this phenomenon. “It just blows along and people stick,” he says. Aubert, bassist-singer Nikki Monninger, keyboardist Joe Lester and drummer Christopher Guanlao will unveil a new EP, entitled Pikul (Dangerbird Records), July 26.

The tumbleweed began blowing along even before Silversun Pickups started playing together. “I met Nikki on a flight to England about 10 years ago,” Aubert explains. “That’s also where I met Ariana, from Earlimart [another of the east side Los Angeles bands in this scene], and that relationship spawned the meeting of Joe later on. Everybody just knew everybody in a roundabout way. Christopher was also a friend of a friend. Again, the tumbleweed rolls.”

A similar mechanism was at play as the band built their following. “We were thrust into playing live before we really knew what the hell we were doing,” Aubert says. “We started getting gigs at Spaceland and the Silverlake Lounge right away – to a painful degree. Before Christopher, we had a drummer we were teaching how to play drums five minutes before the show. I wouldn’t even go to the mic – I was singing way far away from it – because I was so shy onstage. But even though we were a mess, people would be there somehow. They understood it, and more and more of them came.”

What these people understood was a mercurial creature born of distorted guitars, delicate melodies, hypnotic, left-of-center rhythms and Aubert’s unvarnished vocals. “We like loud, growly guitar, but we use it in a way I think is pretty,” says the singer-guitarist. “The guitars hum. They’re big but warm, not something that’s gonna make your ears freak out. We like melodies a lot, and when the guitars are going nuts, those can get lost. We love bands like Can and NEU! and My Bloody Valentine and white noise and these really long, bizarre things, but we also love listening to oldies and singing in the car. As much as we love that cool, avant-garde stuff, we can’t help but have a song somewhere in there that you can hum along to.”

The six-song EP Pikul – its title is a tribute to a dear friend who died – covers a range of emotional territory, though that terrain is not always clearly mapped. Asked about “Kissing Families,” the record’s lead track, Aubert says, “It communicates a certain emotional tone more than anything else.” He points out a “positive melancholy,” then reiterates, “Even though the lyrics are abstract, people tend to get the tone right.”

Aubert calls “Comeback Kid,” another highlight of Pikul, “as to-the-point-rock as we will ever get.” “Booksmart Devil,” which also name-checks “streetwise angels,” is a “haiku kind of song” about people not being what they seem. “All the Go In Betweens” speaks to Aubert’s fear that apathy is genetic, that “people pass on their failures and the things that make them miserable and alienated.”

Silversun Pickups are endlessly inspired by the bands they play with, hang out with, live with. This is evidenced by the lovely, haunting cover of The Movies’ “Creation Lake” and the prominent appearance of Pine Marten’s Mark Wooten on “The Fuzz.” Many of these groups are part of a loose collective known as The Ship. They go to each other’s shows, play shows together, play on each other’s records, support each other through the vagaries of being independent musicians in Los Angeles.

Asked why this group is called The Ship, Aubert notes: “It’s from a house the Earlimart kids lived in. It was actually called The Filthy Whore. The people who lived there collected ship stuff, and then when they all started recording bands, they built a studio in [the northeast L.A. enclave of] Glassell Park, and they called that The Ship, too.” He’s never understood why bands become competitive. “When we did our residency at The Echo, we set up a table for local bands to sell their stuff,” he says. “We figure, if you like us, you’re gonna love them. We’re into the idea of holding hands with a bunch of people. How else are you gonna get by?”

Silversun Pickups have recorded several tracks and parts of tracks at The Ship. The group had its beginnings when Aubert quit the band he’d been playing bass in (“a favor that went on too long”) and he and Monninger – who’d just picked up the bass – started “tinkering” together. He says of their inaugural recording session: “It was just a tape running in the middle of the room; it sounded like crap. I was only sort of singing. I’d never sung in a band before. I was an accidental singer.” Still, that introductory recording sparked the band’s first performances and their ongoing streak as a must-see local live act.

Silversun Pickups’ other recording adventures have included a track on 2003’s The Fold Compilation. It moved no less than the New York Times’ Neil Strauss to report: “Thus, the boon of this compi