This month’s featured record is Tom Waits eclectic sprawling 1985 masterpiece. The second album of…
When they were getting started, Silversun Pickups were known as one of the hardest working bands in Silverlake. Early on, taking any and every gig they could, even if it meant closing out bills and only playing to a small handful of people. They were mainstays at some of the coolest Los Angeles venues during the early 2000s, including Spaceland, Echo and the indie club that would become their second home Silverlake Lounge. They generated a lot of buzz in the Silverlake scene after the release of the debut EP Pikul, which cemented their reputation as one of the most promising new bands of 2005. The following year would see the release of their landmark debut album, Carnavas, drawing favorable comparisons to one of the most beloved bands of the 90s, Smashing Pumpkins. The album’s first single “Lazy Eye” was an international smash, as they went on to score two Billboard Top 10 Modern Rock Tracks in 2007. Over the course of their next 3 LPs, Silversun Pickups’ sound evolved, and explored new sonic territory, and began to incorporate more electronic elements.
Their most recent album, 2015’s Better Nature has become a fan favorite, and considered an underrated classic by indie rock aficionados. Better Nature was also the first LP released on their own independent imprint New Machine Records, and was fan funded with a Pledge Music campaign, allowing the band the freedom to make this record entirely on their own terms. The sonic pallet of this record was showcased with the lead single “Nightlight” with its grinding guitars and epic chorus, the song was an exciting introduction to a new era for the band’s sound. Retaining all of the classic trademarks of their debut, but with a darker mood and more complex arrangements.
Better Nature’s second single “Circadian Rhythm (Last Dance)” was an infectious entry into the band’s catalog, with one of the groups most memorable melodies, and swooning interplay between Nikki and Brian’s beautifully complementary vocals. Over the span of the album’s ten tracks, the band hit some major highs, with some of their most beautiful moments and engrossing arrangements to date. The record, helmed by the production skills of Garret “Jacknife” Lee who has worked with U2, R.E.M. and The Cars, delivers an incredible analog experience. The album packs a punch, with diamond sharp clarity, expert mastering and incredible use of dynamic range. The album has a wonderful sense of space and breath, and avoids the trappings that many over-polished modern rock records seem to fall into. An album that could easily be classified as a sleeper classic, that is finding a greater audience with each passing year. However, there is no substitute for hearing it for the first time in its full analog glory on a high quality stereo console.