The New SP?

March 23, 2010 at 7:50 pm (Uncategorized)

The 90s are back.  This isn’t always a good thing (remember frosted tips) but, it rocks for those of us who love alternative rock. 

For example, at this year’s SXSW festival Stone Temple Pilots and Hole (minus all the original members except Courtney Love) made their comebacks, Jakob Dylan of Wallflowers’ One Headlight fame performed, and two out of three of the original Dixie Chicks returned.

However, the most exciting and frustrating 90s-inspired reincarnation is Sivlersun Pickups.  

Silversun Pickups opens for Muse, the big-band-with-three-people, on their 2010 tour.  After the Madison Square Garden show, Jon Pareles, music critic for the New York Times, wrote:

Just as Muse couldn’t exist without Queen, its opening act, Silversun Pickups, owes a lot to ’90s grunge and to Smashing Pumpkins in particular, as its songs climb from the sullen to the monumental. The bandleader, Brian Aubert, squeezes his voice down to a rasp before working up to howls, and his guitar parts begin with clear riffs and expand into echoing, feedback-fringed maelstroms.

It’s not the first time Siversun Pickups, an LA-based rock band, has been compared to the venerable Smashing Pumpkins.

The first thing that struck me was the band’s involvement in 90s influences, from The Smashing Pumpkins to My Bloody Valentine, the layers of sounds that Silversun Pickups demonstrate is quite unique for a band who formed only a year ago. —Obscure Sound


Silversun Pickups generated more Smashing Pumpkins comparisons than any band this side of Zwan with their 2006 debut Carnavas, and whether or not it was justifiable, it was certainly understandable. But in the manner in which these things usually work out, such hyperbolic comparisons helped the Silver Lake band way more than it hurt them. —Pitch Fork

However, the band originally played down any Pumpkins influence.

The band’s sound, often encompassing multiple overdubs of distorted guitars, is frequently compared to that of The Smashing Pumpkins, while the band members have said they are heavily influenced by artists such as My Bloody Valentine, the Velvet Underground, Elliott Smith, Sonic Youth, Sweet, Modest Mouse, and Secret Machines as well as numerous other artists with lesser publicity.

If the influence is not direct, why do the band’s initials imitate the popular “SP” and the 3-man, 1-female bassist formula? 

Listen for yourself to Silversun Pickups’ single Lazy Eye  compared to the pre-bald Corgan led Pumpkins in Drown


In a 2007 interview, Silversun Pickups’ Brian Aubert acknowledged the SP chatter.

 “I think it’s a cool comparison. I think it’s really, I understand it completely. When we were kind of swimming in the indie-er markets, the pool of what people knew about with bands was much larger. They really pulled out amazing things that I was like, ‘Yes, that is a Built To Spill rip-off right there.’ But with the bigger markets, they’re like, ‘Built to what?’ So the Pumpkins, that was, like, where we landed. We’re the new Pumpkins. There’s a lot worse things to be, I think.”  —Rock Radio

I’m sorry, “a lot worse things to be, I think?”  You were just compared to the Pumpkins not the Jonas Brothers!  I like the Siliversun Pickups album–and maybe they don’t like that.  Maybe I’m not the audience they want–ageing Pumpkins fan who adored Adore.  But, you don’t hear Matthew Bellamy brushing off Muse’s Queen comparisons.  They acknowledge it and have gotten positive feedback from Queen’s surviving members.  I like the new SP, but the cold shoulder is not attractive. In fact, it’s very Corganesque.


1 Comment

  1. No Dancing Allowed « ChaseAndBeenChased's Blog said,

    […] it’s not just because I have bad seats.  At a recent Silversun Pickups show even the front row at DAR seemed to barely bob their heads.  The pigeons in other cities rock […]

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