Monday, November 30, 2009

Artist Spotlight: Silversun Pickups

There's nothing like hearing a good song for the first time. I thought it was a feeling that could not be replicated. I actually don't experience this feeling too much- at least the part of remembering where I was and how I felt when I heard it. I recently experienced this with the Silversun Pickups, who I now rank among my favorite bands. It was late October and I was in a good mood because school was still cancelled (we had a small electrical fire which apparently did big damage). I was in the car listening to 101.5X, a local alternative rock station, when I heard their song Panic Switch. The song grabbed me instantly, although I thought it was by Kill Hannah at first (similar voice and sound- looking back I don't know how I came to that conclusion) until I used my handy Shazam app on my iPhone. I was surprised because I had heard their name several times before, but they weren't really associated with bands that I listened to so I never gave them a chance (such a shame). The song hit me at a strange time in my life where I was just kind of lost and in dire need of a direction (I'm getting on the right track now).
When you see yourself in a crowded room
Do your fingers itch? Are you pistol whipped?
Will you step in line or release the glitch?
Can you fall asleep with a panic switch?
That night I downloaded their album Swoon and listened to it to go to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the song Draining and experienced that same good feeling all over again, although this time I got the chills from Brian Aubert's vocals which I find absolutely brilliant (I realize his voice can make or break the band for some people). Since then I've worn out that album as well as their first one Carnavas and the EP Pikul. I'm even thinking about writing a movie script and using the entirety of Swoon as the soundtrack. I regard Silversun Pickups as masters of creating multi-layered mood music. You just hear their songs, and whether you like them or not, they should evoke a strong emotion from you. For me, it's content, if with sadness. There's definitely a beauty in their distorted and often noisy sound- I guess kind of like the Smashing Pumpkins who they are frequently compared to (the similarities end with them both having a female bassist and the same initials- the Pixies might be a better comparison). Every time I listen to their songs I feel like I'm hearing them for the first time, or I pick up something I hadn't heard before. I'm sure seeing them live would be a surreal and unforgettable experience which I hope to have one day. If you're into slightly grungy and moody music, I would definitely give them a listen if you haven't already. I would start with the songs Kissing Families, Lazy Eye, Rusted Wheel, The Royal We and of course Panic Switch. They are best listened to on headphones (or really good speakers).

Panic Switch by Silversun Pickups

Edit #1, Dec. 4th: Silversun Pickups have received a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist! They're obviously not new, but I digress. Congratulations to them!
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