Friday, July 31, 2009

Silversun Pickups - Swoon

Gosh, I must be just terrible. I found out about these guys by watching David Letterman. I didn't even stay up to see them perform. I just Youtubed them the next day. Isn't that nuts? What a way to live, man. Maybe if radio wasn't complete crap I could hear some new artists once in a while instead of seeing them being mentioned on TV.

I know, I know: "!!" But I don't like that website. Pandora,, etc. are the Google Ads of the music world. It almost makes me want to check "music" as my only interest on Stumbleupon and see what I come across.

Anyway, back to this band. Like lots and lots of bands, once I started listening to them I realized I had heard them before but could never figure out what the group was called. It took me months to realize that Lady Gaga sang not only "Pokerface" but "Just Dance". I still attribute every rock song I hear with a raspy male vocalist to Nickelback. But then again, no one should give a crap about Nickelback.

I always try to listen to a band's latest work when I first get into them. Silversun's 2009 release Swoon convinced me to keep digging. It wasn't until hearing their 2006 album, Carnavas, specifically "Lazy Eye", that I realized I had heard them somewhere before. I like having that kind of vague familiarity with a band. It's like finally getting to talk to someone you've seen only glimpses of. Satisfying.

I've always been meaning to get into heavier stuff, and I guess this is a step in that direction. Heaven forbid I say that I have a "high-brow" taste in music (I listen to Futuresex/Lovesounds every weekend), but anything harder than alt rock usually starts to sound a little banal in my opinion (see Linkin Park for an example of what I usually stay away from). I listen to Dragonforce once in a while for the lulz, but still.

However, Silversun Pickups are kind of becoming a favorite of mine. Maybe there really is better hard rock out there, and maybe someday I'll find it, but for now I really like these guys. It might be the fact that I've been listening to a lot of Pablo Honey recently, but the guitar tone here is scratching an itch I didn't know I'd been trying to scratch. The atmosphere is a little darker, a little more intense than what I usually put on, but I like it. What I really appreciate, though, is that there are some awesome melodies here. Like, awesome. There are orchestral elements, but they're not overused, which is nice. The vocals, while not exactly amazing, are as good as they need to be. No shrieking or screaming.

These guys are a bit outside my capacity to write about musically, but I felt I had to share my opinion here. It's important to not become rooted behind genre lines, e.g. "I like everything except country and rap." You've got to try everything.


  1. Silversun is a legit group, man. The first album struck w/ me because it had some similar characteristics as the best old Smashing Pumpkins stuff. Lots of loud, ethereal noise mixed with a singer who can go from soft and reserved to full on with ease.

  2. Josh Hungate, I am exceedingly glad to hear that you've taken to Silversun Pickups. They're without a doubt one of my favorite bands, and it's hard for me to go a day without listening to either Lazy Eye or Little Lover's So Polite. And yes, I agree with you, Swoon is definitely the dark counter to the more upbeat tunes of Carnavas. YARRGH! I'm so excited you wrote about Swoon!