Friday, April 02, 2010

The Secret Identity of Silversun Pickups

I generally only post full interviews here if I've talked to a band I really like or have had a really good chat. I got both with Silversun Pickups.

If for some reason you haven't yet checked out this band, you're missing out.

Here are some places to start.

Lazy Eye
Panic Switch

Silversun Pickups
April 5, 2010
E Center

It would seem that attending your first Grammy Awards ceremony would be accompanied by any number of highlights -- mingling with celebrities, hanging out with great musicians or, you know, being recognized as one of the best band's in the world. Nah. For Silversun Pickups' singer and guitarist Brian Aubert, the best part of the evening was assuming a false identity at an afterparty and talking to Daft Punk about "Tron."

"The Grammys weren't even something we were romantic about," Aubert says. "I don't mean that in a snarky way, I just mean that it wasn't even on our radar." And the band certainly wasn't ready for the barrage of ridiculous interviews that came with it. "I think I was asked who my favorite Hollywood crush was." Though it was a tough call, Aubert chose Tina Fey.

"[The Grammys] were getting a little boring, but the Kings of Leon had a very wonderful afterparty that actually saved the entire night," Aubert sayss. "Daft Punk was there and I got to talk to them for a half hour. I realized halfway through that the reason they were talking to me for so long is that they thought I was Caleb from Kings of Leon."

He admits that he didn't do anything to correct their misconception. "[Instead], I talked to them about 'Tron' as much as I could," he says with a laugh. After continuous questions about the remake of the classic '80s sci-fi film, one half of the French electronic duo finally said, "You know we're not responsible for the movie. We're just responsible for the music, so I don't want you to be mad at us if the movie stinks." Aubert told them he was well aware of that fact and just kept asking questions.

"Finally, after a half an hour they asked me a question that only Caleb could answer. I kind of did the French exit and left." There's clearly no shame in Aubert's game.

In a way, The Grammys summed up in one night what Silversun Pickups have experiencing for the past three years. Despite having no aspirations beyond playing the music that they love, the L.A. four piece has garnered a whirlwind of critical acclaim and commercial success with their two full-length albums.

"We never thought we'd ever be on the radio," Aubert says. "So when things started getting on the radio for [our debut album] 'Carnavas,' we thought it was a fluke." The band thought the attention would quickly die off but their second album, "Swoon," has made an even bigger splash. (Their first single "Panic Switch" reached the top spot in Billboard's Alternative Songs category.)

"When bands ask for us advice about how to get on the radio we just don't have it," Aubert says, baffled. "The only advice is to think you're never going to do it."

"Swoon" is very much the anti-radio record. The songs are long, winding and filled with tension. The dark, shoegaze-y melodies are better suited for the Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine '90s than the Miley Cyrus 2000s. The record demands repeated listens and gets better with each one.

"The making of the record was such an intense period. From beginning to end, it took us about a year. We just racked our brains and scraped every metaphor until there were no more metaphors left," Aubert says of the Swoon sessions. "We didn't even think it was going to get done at one point -- it seemed like such a mountain. And then right when it was finished, it went to radio right away. Once that happened, it became a roller coaster. It's just been so fast, such a whirlwind. It's been amazing. We've been amazed that things have continued on so well and things have only gotten crazier."

The craziness has included worldwide touring, ranging from intimate club settings to massive arena rock ventures like their current outing with Muse. "Of course we really love doing our own shows where we can get into all the different dynamics of the records, but we also like opening shows like these because it's a whole other experience. It keeps us fresh because we're just part of this big circus. You don't think of it as trying to prove yourself. You just think, 'There are 18,000 people here, one of them's going to like us.'"

Despite the nonstop touring, the band is still enjoying the moment. "I think we're still having a love affair with 'Swoon.' In a weird way, it's still very new to us," Aubert says. When that newness wears off and the band begins to feel that they need to reinvent the record on stage, that's when they know it's time to start working on a new record. "That hasn't happened yet. When that happens, you shut down and go home for a while and live for a bit. When you have the chance to actually listen to yourself, when things are quiet and kind of mundane and normal, that's when your brain starts to speak. But here, it's hard to hear yourself." And then he adds, with another laugh, "There are a lot big amps."

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Monday, March 29, 2010

A Good Year for Punk Rock

Though it seems like they may have gone the way of the buffalo, there's still some pretty good punk rock coming out these days.

Alkaline Trio took a break from gothing-out on their new record This Addiction. Here's the title track:

Paige and I are both in love with this Motion City Soundtrack, despite listening to it thousands of times to together. Here's "A Lifeless Ordinary (Need a Little Help)":

And let's not forgot Bouncing Souls 20 year anniversary record Ghosts on the Boardwalk. So good.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Another Mopy Music Recommendation: Rocky Votolato

Despite never having heard his music, I decided to interview singer/songwriter Rocky Votolato for two reasons:

1. My friend Noah is a fan
2. He plays at the Velour in Provo a million times a year

The result was that I met a really nice fellow and I found out Noah (sometimes) has good taste in music .

Here's my article.

And here's the opening track from his highly recommended new album, True Devotion.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

This Week's Reviews: AA Bondy, Lights, Cub Country

Another decent week for music. I love this A.A. Bondy record. If you like the ultra-slow/quiet indie country stuff, you'll want to give it a listen.

Those hoping for a girl version of Owl City should check out Lights. She's from Canada. I'm sure you can guess how I feel about that.

And here are the links to my reviews:

A.A. Bondy - When the Devil's Loose
Lights - The Listening
Cub Country - Stretch That Skull Cover and Smile

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Alright, Jay-Z, You Got Me

So, lately I've been questioning Jay-Z's claim of being the greatest rapper alive. I finally checked out his "On to the Next" video and, though I am still not a huge fan of the song itself, I definitely have to give some props for the video.

Tonight, Hova earns from me the coveted "rapper with the creepiest, unrap rap video" award. Congratulations.

I fear that I will have nightmares about my sneakers bleeding milk tonight.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Paige's Video Pics

Here are some of Paige's recent YouTube favs:

The Raveonettes - Last Dance

Weezer - If You're Wondering

Yo Gabba Gabba - Party in My Tummy

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Good Kind of Snow

As predicted, the snow is falling in Salt Lake City today. I'm trying to cheer myself up with this ditty by a happier kind of Snow.

Miike Snow - Animal

And if that one doesn't do the trick, this one is sure to make you feel better.

Snow - Informer

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oh, Paige Will Love This

Streetlight Manifesto just released this video for "Would You Be Impressed?" (The song's like two years old, but whatever.) From the very first second I knew this would be a Paige favorite. But with the murdering and all, I may have to keep this one to myself.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Lesson Learned & Naked in New York

Speaking of censorship, Paige would probably be upset if she knew I wasn't sharing the new Matt & Kim video with her. I'm withholding it for two reasons:

1. The fact that the whole video is Matt & Kim walking naked through Manhattan.

2. Kim is so dang muscle-y.

I can barely handle watching the video myself due to reason #2. But if you decide to check it out, stick around for the ending.

I did put "Lessons Learned" on Paige's last mixtape, so she's happy enough.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Shocking News! Acting Debut Surfaces on Internet

It's just the price you have to paywhen you're famous--racy videos of you appearing on the internet. I am no exception. My acting debut recently found its way onto the world wide web. (Thanks, Ike.)

Back in the innocence of 2002, I had a video production class at the U. Our final project was to create a five minute video based on the theme "The Odd Couple." We split up into groups of five and started brainstorming. We went around the circle trying to figure out if anyone had anything cool to contribute.

Ike had access to a mailman hat, I had some hand puppets, Rashed had the fact that he was from Kuwait, Brett knew to handle the production, and Becca mentioned that she happened to live in the basement of a mortuary. Thus Rashed's Neighborhood was born.

The best part for me was Rashed trying to get the grasp on the whole thing. He was an exchange student and still working on his English. He'd obviously never seen Mr. Roger's Neighborhood before, but he watched a couple of episodes for research. His Mexican girlfriend was also an exchange student, learning English. Together, the two of them worked on learning the lyrics to the theme song. They tried their best, but usually here's the best they could come up with:

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, beautiful day neighbor...hood.

Ah, close enough.

So, with no further introduction, here's Rashed's Neighborhood. (Notice my lush, full head of hair.)

Here's Ike's (a.k.a. Speedy Delivery Guy) version of the story.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Endlessly Walking Through the Desert: Daft Punk's Electroma

From the human body/dog head awesomeness of Da Funk, to the anime-tastic to full-length Interstella 5555, Daft Punk has always had great visuals. Thus I eagerly anticipated the French duo's directorial debut.

It's no surpise that the movie is about two robots named Daft Punk. Though Electroma is an hour long, I can give you the whole script in 30 seconds. SPOILER ALERT!!!

Robots drive through desert (10 minutes).
Robots reach the equivalent of Burley, Idaho. All inhabitants look like Daft Punk (5 minutes).
Robots go to old rec center administration building to receive putty-based human faces (10 minutes).
Townsfolk don't appreciate the faux humans (5 minutes).
Putty faces melt off in the sun. The robots are very sad (5 minutes).
Robots walk endlessly back through the desert (10 minutes).
One robot is so sad that he is not a human that he chooses to self-destruct (5 minutes).
Other robot walks for a long time before he realizes he is sad, too. He chooses to set himself on fire and walk off into the distance. (10 minutes).

The film includes absolutely zero dialogue, extremely minimal ambiant sound and about 10 minutes of music (not Daft Punk music).

After I watched it the first time, I was a little disappointed. But after I sat back and thought about it, it turns out it was the best movie in the history of the world.

Here's a clip:

Thanks to Traci, you can't rent a copy down to the Murray Library.

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