For the past half-decade, Silversun Pickups have brought their brand of fuzzed out, droned guitar rock to the masses. The quartet has been one of the best new bands to come from the indie hotbed of Silver Lake in Los Angeles. They’ve garnered legions of fans across the globe with by doing what they do best: writing catchy tunes while remaining true to their core sound.
For those of you who don’t know, the band has sold over 1 million records worldwide. Their first EP, Pikul, was released in 2005. While it hinted at great things to come, no one was quite prepared for the explosion of the band’s debut LP, Carnavas. Released in 2006, the record peaked at #81 on the Billboard Top 200 and was the #1 Alternative and Independent record for four consecutive weeks. Their big single from that record, “Lazy Eye,” peaked at #4 on the Modern Rock charts. In 2009, the band followed up with their breakthrough album, Swoon. That record debuted at #7 on the Billboard Top 200 and was in that chart for over 22 weeks on the strength of “Panic Switch,” which was on #1 on the Modern Rock charts,
Their latest album, Neck of the Woods, is a step forward for the band. After working with producer Dave Cooley on their first two albums, the band took the short trip from their home of Silver Lake to Topanga Canyon to work with Jacknife Lee, whose credits include U2, Weezer and R.E.M. on their new album. On their earlier albums where they’d spend months preparing by writing and working on pre-production for the songs they were going to record, this time around things were a bit different.
“Usually, we as the band would work on the songs for six months or so on our own,” bassist/backing vocalist Nikki Monninger says. “Jacknife’s way of doing things is not to have pre-pro and just to dive right in. Everything felt more spontaneous. We would move forward with things in a certain way and he would introduce new ideas or subtle changes.”
Changes helped the group, but that didn’t necessarily things weren’t a bit tough on the band.
“Working spontaneously was definitely a new thing since I’m the type of person that likes to take things home, take notes and study what we’ve done,” Monninger explains. “And Jacknife literally threw my notes on the ground on the first or second day and said let’s try it more from instinct. And I liked that change.”
Working with L.A.’s Dangerbird Records has provided a refuge for the band. Rather than worrying about the band cranking hits from their first EP, the label was more concerned with the band’s longevity and ability to build a career, which is what makes their relationship a fluid and fruitful one.
The biggest difference between the band’s new album versus their earlier material is the introduction of a degree of electronica. Have no fear, the drone guitars that defined them are still prevalent, but the Silversun Pickups have added another element to their already catchy sound that will not only introduce them to a new audience, but demonstrates their fearlessness and ability to take chances when other bands in their positions would have been complacent and unwilling to evolve.On their first album in three years, the Silversun Pickups prove why they’re considered one of the pioneering bands in the ever-growing L.A. indie alt rock scene. With a slew of tour dates to be announced, though Monninger says the band will be on the road for an extensive, headlining tour in the States and Canada beginning in September, fans should be excited on what the future holds for this exciting band.