Sound Advice: Silversun Pickups with Foals and Joywave

Tuesday • Bogart’s

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click to enlarge Silversun Pickups
Silversun Pickups

Silversun Pickups’ 2015 album, Better Nature, is a slightly poppier, shinier version of the California quartet’s Indie Rock-meets-Shoegaze-at-the-Grunge-thrift-store ethic. But that doesn’t mean that the band has diverted a molecule of the energy of its core sound, which was in full evidence on its debut EP, 2005’s Pikul, and its subsequent breakthrough full-lengths — 2006’s scorching debut long-player, Carnavas, and 2009’s equally incendiary Swoon. The ennui-ridden and radio-friendly vibe of 2012’s Neck of the Woods set the stage for Better Nature’s upbeat melancholy and abrasive melodicism.

Longtime friends/Silver Lake, Calif. roommates Brian Aubert (guitars/vocals) and Nikki Monninger (bass/vocals) assembled the band in 2000 with their respective paramours. But when both relationships unraveled, current members Christopher Guanlao (drums) and Joe Lester (keyboards) joined just a couple of years into the band’s existence.

Silversun Pickups’ debut had critics citing similarities to Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine. Carnavas broke the group wide, while Swoon amplified all of Silversun Pickups’ most distinctive characteristics. Darker, moodier and more evocative, Swoon’s loud was louder and its quiet even more pronounced. The band’s growing, loyal fanbase helped the album reach No. 7 on Billboard’s album chart. Despite mixed reviews, Neck of the Woods was embraced by fans, who helped push it to No. 6 on the chart.

Last year’s Better Nature found Silversun Pickups entering several new territories. Besides being the quartet’s most electronically focused album to date, it was the band’s first to be financed through crowd-funding and the debut for its own label, New Machine Recordings, which the group created after spending its entire career on the indie imprint Dangerbird.

Silversun Pickups remain a fascinating example of how a band can evolve and advance while remaining true to its original vision.

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