Thursday, March 23, 2006

Band of the Week: The Silversun Pickups

For me, any discussion of music in LA begins and ends with The Silversun Pickups. They rule the school here, in much the same way that Naked Raygun owned Chicago when I was growing up there. Their shows are so genuinely explosive that they’re events instead of simple performances and their recorded work -- two EPs so far -- are treasures to be mined for your favorite mix cds.

I first saw them early last year at an Earlimart show at Spaceland with The Green and Yellow TV. I’d been raised to ignore or skip opening bands in the Midwest because, I don’t know, I guess they were usually pretty bad, but that night proved to me just how different the LA music scene really was (and is).

The Green and Yellow TV went on early, playing material from their recent album for the first time out, and won the crowd over easily. The Silversun Pickups went on next, and I think there was some technical problem that made them have a shaky start... but a few minutes in, it felt like it dawned on everyone in the place at once that, “Holy shit... These guys are really, really good.”

Lead singer Brian Aubert’s reedy voice led us along a quiet unsuspecting path and then, when we least expected it, the band opened up and pounced all over us. It was much like the first time you heard The Pixies play ("quiet, loud, quiet" references aside, but yes, implied)... you just never saw it coming at all.

And that was simply the first song that night. After seven or more equally strong tracks, we were all pretty crushed out.

A few months later, the band put out their Pikul EP on Dangerbird Records and played five Tuesdays (or Wednesdays?) in a row at Spaceland to support it. I caught every show and they were never disappointing. You just couldn't shake the feeling each time that you were lucky to see them in a venue that intimate with so few other people around and that it very likely would never happen again.

Since then, the band has played a few nights in town while finishing up work on their new album, which unconfirmed talk says should be out this summer. And tickets sold out quickly earlier this week for the Benefit for Rose Scharlin School at Spaceland on Sunday, April 2nd that they’re set to play with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, save for an allotment at the door the night of the event.

Suffice to say, I’m really looking forward to hearing the new material off that upcoming album that night. Because I've thought for quite awhile now that The Silversun Pickups are the best band currently operating in LA and can't imagine that changing any time soon.


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