Tag Archives: Silversun Pickups

Tunes Worth Hearing: May 2012

It’s official. My taste is turning solidly toward the folk and folk rock quarter. I still need dense enough instrumentation to keep me going (full-on acoustic singer-songwriter down-tempo on every song still doesn’t to it for me), but with nearly five months straight of my top album being in the folk/folk-rock/alt-country vein, it’s time to stop pretending it’s unusual for me to like this stuff. A couple of years ago, I didn’t really, which is why I keep being surprised. Tastes change. I’m learning to accept it.

One Little Plane – Into the Trees

I have a few different ways of finding new bands to listen to – friends recommendations, music blogs (though I’m bad at keeping up with them), Pitchfork reviews (I rarely agree with their reviews, but they turn me onto some good bands), NPR’s First Listen. Sometimes I just look up all the releases coming out in a week and randomly add albums to my Spotify playlists because I feel like I’ve vaguely heard of the band before, or just because I like the sound of their name. It’s a total crapshoot that sometimes pays off. That’s the case with this band. I have no idea why the name “One Little Plane” struck a chord with me, but I took the plunge and started up the first song and was in love within five seconds. Led by folk singer Kathryn Bint from Chicago (whose gorgeous voice easily slides into the same zone as Amy Millan or Emily Haines), this album is folk rock with just enough contemplation mixed with just enough rich orchestration to keep me enamored.

Garbage – Not Your Kind of People

I’ve been kind of a casual fan of Garbage for a while, enjoying the songs I heard, even owning an album here or there and listening once in a while, but I hesitate to claim any more fan-status than that. Still, when I heard they were coming out with a new album, I was pretty excited to get a chance to get into an album from scratch, as it were, rather than coming to it years later. And I wasn’t disappointed…I really like pretty much every song on this album, and it’s one of the few May albums I’ve really had on repeat.

Norah Jones – Little Broken Hearts

Norah Jones has always been someone on my radar who never quite hit my repeat playlist. I think her voice is lovely, often perfection in the right song. I won’t necessarily say that Little Broken Hearts is a better record than her previous ones; I don’t have the experience necessary to say that, but perhaps thanks to the Dangermouse influence as producer, it’s a big closer to my personal taste than her earlier, more straight jazz/folk leanings. There’s more going on in a lot of these songs (“Little Broken Hearts” sounds like a Southern gothic noir song straight off a Neko Case album by way of True Blood, and I love that), but then when she strips it down, like in “Miriam,” it’s some of the most beautiful and ethereal stuff I’ve heard this year.

Silversun Pickups – Neck of the Woods

I was a big fan of Silversun Pickups’ Carnavas (though I admit to being a bit behind the curve on getting into them), but was sort of meh on their follow-up Swoon, which had a few songs (“Panic Switch”) I really loved, but largely hit me as kind of repetitive. So far, they’re back on my good side with Neck of the Woods. There are a few samey-sounding songs, but by and large, I’ve been quite happy listening through this multiple times over the past month. And the songs that are on (“Bloody Mary,” “Skin Graph,” “Mean Spirits”) are very, very on.

Best Coast – The Only Place

Oh, Best Coast. I’m not sure I would enjoy them as much as I do if they weren’t such an unabashed Los Angeles band. I mean, the title track from this album is basically an ode to how awesome living in Southern California is, and that’s something I can’t really argue with myself (a lot of people could, but I can’t – I love it here). Bethany Cosantino’s lyrics aren’t any more deep than they were on their debut album, and the songwriting’s pretty similar in scope as well. But everything’s so gorram catchy.

Beach House – Bloom

I’m not quite sure what to do with Beach House, frankly. Every time one of their songs comes on or I listen through the album, I settle back and think “yeah, this is really great, I’m loving this.” And then the next one of their songs comes on, and it sounds the exact same. And then the record ends, and I can’t differentiate any of the songs apart or remember any of the melodies. The same thing is true of their previous album. So yeah. I really like listening to them, I like their sound, but I also find it highly unmemorable.

Violens – True

This was another random “let’s throw this on the Spotify and see how it is” band, and while it obviously didn’t hit me in quite the same way as One Little Plane, I really like the sound and enjoyed the album right the way through. I haven’t been back to it as often as many of the others this month, but I’ll definitely recommend it as worth a listen or two, and it could very well grow on me in the future.

May Mix

Featured Video: Silversun Pickups – Substitution

New Silversun Pickups video! And there was much rejoicing. “Substitution” is probably my second-favorite song off Swoon, after “Panic Switch” (so they’re releasing singles in order of my preference, yay!). And this video is far less seizure-inducing than the “Panic Switch” one. I just love to see them play. Also, those are some angry models. Someone order in some Subway before they start cutting everyone. (hat tip Stereogum)

Music Friday: LA Mix

This was going to be a Music Monday. But it kept getting bigger and finally turned into a full-fledged album-length mix full of LA-based bands. Consider this a love letter to LA and the fantastic music scene I’ve found here. It’s literally possible to go to a show nearly every day of the week and find bands you like. Even going much less often than that (two or three times a month), I’ve discovered many bands that keep me coming back for their shows, opening bands that I seek out everywhere they play, and seen what a great and supporting music culture exists here (if you look at the band line-ups below, you’ll find several people who are in multiple bands – nearly everyone is involved in multiple projects, creating really interesting cross-pollination). I’ve arranged them roughly from lesser known to better known (sort of an opening band – second opening band – headliner sort of thing), but that’s not completely accurate. Just a general rule of thumb.

LA Mix Cover

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You can stream the songs individually or as a playlist (starting the first one will play them all in order), or right-click-save any song to download it. Or you can grab the whole mix, including my hastily-thrown-together cover art based on a Silver Lake mural, with this zip file (a little under 100mb). If you like the bands, please support them.

You’re going to want to click through the jump – full mix details are under there, with info and photos for every band. And it took me all week to do. So please. Click through. :) Most photos are not mine. Promo-type photos obviously aren’t. Crappy iPhone-looking concert photos probably are.

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Coachella 2009: Heating Up the Desert

I‘ve never made it to a musical festival before (largely because I didn’t really get into festival-type music until a few years ago), but when this year’s Coachella featured several of my favorite bands I decided to spring for it, since it’s the biggest festival close enough for me to drive to rather than fly. And even though everything’s overpriced, it’s hotter than Hades, and I ended up only seeing full sets from seven bands rather then the eleven or twelve I wanted to see, it was worth it. The downside is I think I’ve caught the festival bug – I’m drooling over the Lollapalooza lineup Andrew posted the other day, and though I won’t make it Lolla this year, I’m seriously trying to work out getting to Austin for Austin City Limits.

Anyway, here’s a recap of my subset of Coachella, which woefully underrepresents the available audio overload. Especially since I skipped Sunday altogether – fewer bands I wanted to see meant I didn’t care to spend the money for the extra day and night.

Silversun Pickups @ Coachella 2009

Please go to Row Three: More Pop to read the rest of this entry. It has pictures and .mp3 files, so I promise it’ll be worth it!

Music Monday: 1st LA Edition – Army Navy and Silversun Pickups

I’ve been finding so much new music lately and not posting ANY Music Mondays. What’s that about? Probably because when I have too many choices I get overwhelmed and choose none of them – which is a positive trait when shopping and saves me a lot of money, but less positive when blogging. So let’s try to work on the music backlog, shall we?

Army Navy

I am officially an indie music fan now, because I went to see Army Navy open for another band. I’ve been to concerts before where I was a fan of an opening band as well as the headliner, but this is the first time I’ve been specifically to see the opener. However, I owe credit for that to my friend Lis, who called and convinced me to go, pointing out that Army Navy was on the Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist soundtrack and thus exactly our type of hipster sound. And she was not wrong. I’d only heard their album once before going to concert, and it didn’t matter at all – I might be biased, but they were way better than the headliner (The Shys, who were good, but too…polished, if that makes any sense). Anyway, they rock harder live than on the record, which is a bit more poppy. Both ways are good.

(The LAist has a photo gallery from the show here.)

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Army Navy (2008)
Amazon MP3
Amazon CD

Silversun Pickups

The Silversun Pickups are one of the more successful L.A.-Silverlake indie rock bands, and I must apologize to them for not liking them AT ALL when I saw them open for Snow Patrol last March. I did not know them then, and my tastes have apparently changed. Because now I love them, and I hope they finish working on their next record soon and start playing some shows which I can go to. And keep releasing songs on Rock Band. :)

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Carnavas (2006)
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Pikul (2005)
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3