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Silversun Pickups - Carnavas Silversun Pickups. Silversun Pickups. Say it with me, now. Silversun Pickups. This California band may have one the hardest names to remember out of the new crop of indie rockers, but I have a feeling their style and delivery will be remembered long after Modest Mouse becomes a household word. Besides, with the advent of simple web links to iTunes, MySpace, and YouTube, who cares about memory recall anyway?

This group has a deeply penetrating sound seemingly designed to eat away at the outer membranes of the para-sympathetic brain region. No shit, one listen will instantly leave the listener with one option and one option only–listen to the entire album again. And again. And again. And again it goes.

This is the kind of music that 90’s grunge and early Radiohead was dutifully working toward, until it got sidetracked by a world that decided not to think anymore. That is to say then that it comes off as progressively cerebral and artsy. But if pretentiousness is your biggest fear in life, than let front man Brian Aubert tear away your misconceptions with his frighteningly rough voice, which can only be described as a freaked-out banshee hooked on pain killers. Actually, he sounds like a cross between a female Billy Corgan and the lead singer for the Agents of Good Roots. The former’s ruspiness was rumored to be caused by a skiing accident. No word on what twist of fait gives the Pickups the perfect vocal accompaniment to their sonic feedback vibrations. My guess is it’s a clever gift from God, who obviously wants the world to rock like a bunch of smug bastards all over again. Or, if not smug, at least smelly.

Hey, I won’t complain.

While I’ve become accustomed to more forms of music over the years (except for the jingoistic crap on country stations), the bulk of my musical palette remains steadily with the art house crowd. That’s why new music by these guys and others, like the Secret Machines; guys who aren’t afraid to pick up where bands like the Smashing Pumpkins left off (when they were still good, of course), are starting to fuel a young and possibly resilient fire. The main difference between the new scene and its early predecessors seems to be its reliance on lyrical abstraction within large and flowing sound scapes. Beautiful with just a hint of danger. It was that kind of vibe that made music exciting years ago and it seems to be picking up once more with guys like these who appear every bit as eager to turn the world on its end.

Now, whether or not bands like the Silversun Pickups can outlive their reference points remains to be seen. All I can say is it feels really special and really good right now. I’ll be watching closely.

Album Stand Outs:


Ross M Karchner
5 December 2006 @ 8am

Their live show is good too– I caught them when I was in Portland in October, opening for Viva Voce (maybe worth checking out, as well).

5 December 2006 @ 8pm

I can only imagine their live shows.

No really, did I mention my 18 month old? 😉

Your my hero today, Ross. I’ll check out Viva Voce too. Thanks.