Interview: Silversun Pickups discuss dancing, helicopter rides, and Carrie Underwood
Credit: Dangerbird Records

Interview: Silversun Pickups discuss dancing, helicopter rides, and Carrie Underwood

Latest album, 'Neck of the Woods' brings a new groove to band's sound

There’s not a lot in Silversun Pickups’ swirling, heavy music to indicate the Los Angeles  alternative rock band’s four members enjoy busting a move, but it turns out they do — often resulting in collateral damage.

“We love to have dance parties,” says drummer Christopher Guanlao. “When we’re on the road, one of the things to kill the boredom is to have a dance party on the bus. A lot of the times, they’re impromptu, but they go off. We’ve broken tables, lighting fixtures...Luckily our techs are amazing and fix it before we have to return the bus.”

Some of those dance vibes found their way onto SSPU’s third full-length album, “Neck of the Woods,” which came out Tuesday.  The album looks like it could debut in the top 5on the Billboard 200, making it the band’s highest charting set yet, topping 2009’s “Swoon,” which bowed at No. 7.

While the songs, including first single “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings),” are instantly recognizable as SSPU, there’s an added groove that is fully deliberate, whether on the propulsive, insistent blast of opening track “Skin Graph,” the machine-gun rat-a-tat on “Out of Breath,” or full-on dance tune  “The Pit.”  “We definitely wanted to have more of a groove to the songs,” Guanlao says. “For me, it was really fun to actually do it; to step away from the rock drumming for a bit and get into a groove” on some of the tracks.

In fact, Guanlao was kept very busy on the album, so much so that he’s still figuring out how to replicate the songs live. “There’s definitely a lot more drumming involved on this one and a lot more percussive drumming,” he says. “This was the first time I played a shaker on a song. I did a lot of drum stuff, extra drum rolls, extra drum accents, that goes throughout the songs. It definitely feels like there’s a lot more going on. It gets tricky when you think about it in the live aspect: All of a sudden I realize if I only had that extra arm, I could do everything perfectly.”

For “Neck Of the Woods,” the band, which also includes vocalist/guitarist Brian Aubert, bassist/background vocalist Nikki Monniger and keyboardist Joseph Lester— switched to a new producer, Jacknife Lee, best known for his work with R.E.M., Snow Patrol and Weezer.

“He took out a lot of the fat,” Guanlao says. “If we didn’t have Jacknife around, we might have been going into the prog rock world. We tend to kind of write a lot of parts for songs and I think it worked well with ‘Swoon,’ but we definitely didn’t want to continue in that route. We’d give him a song that had six or seven changes and he’d say we only need three or four and he was right. We didn’t need two choruses in a song, we need one good one.”

For a brief time after the album’s release on Tuesday, it was No. 1 on iTunes album chart, a moment captured by one of the group’s managers, who took a screen shot and sent it to the band. “I was like, that‘s crazy!,” Guanlao. “I was kind of saying, What a bizarre world where we’re above Carrie Underwood. It’s great. The support that we’ve gotten from all our fans, it means the world to us. That’s why I do it.”

The band remains signed to Los Angeles indie Dangerbird Records, long after majors came calling following the group’s success with “Swoon.”  Aubert recently told Billboard that there was nothing a major label could do for them, except, as he joked, offer them a helicopter ride.

Which, quite frankly, sounds pretty sweet to Guanlao. “I read that article, and I was like, ‘I want a helicopter ride...I don’t know what he’s talking about, that’s kind of cool’,” he says laughing. “It you put that on the offer, that’s something to consider, though it’s not a yacht.”

Seriously, Guanlao agrees with Aubert. “He’s absolutely right. What can a major label give us right now? The days of huge signing advances that you could live off for the rest of your life are gone and we wouldn’t really want to do that anyway. We’re happy where we are.”

SSPU’s touring dance card is full through the rest of the year, a prospect that intimidated Guanlao until the band nailed the songs on “Neck” live. “Two months ago, when we didn’t know how to play the songs, that’s daunting. Now, it’s like, ‘let’s bring it on!’”

Plus, Guanlao already has some ideas for early 2013. The Los Angeles Lakers fan is a basketball junkie who recently “freaked out” when he met the Orlando Magic’s JJ Redick, especially because Redick is a huge fan of SSPU’s and had even tweeted about listening to the band’s song, “Royal We,” to get pumped up before a game.

Guanlao shared his love for the Lakers with ESPN, hoping it might bring him a little love from his team. I [tweeted] the ESPN [article] to the Lakers, like, ‘Hey, check it out! If you have some tickets.. Do you need a mascot?” He’s heard nothing so far.

Hey Lakers, we hear he may have some spare time after December. 

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<p>&nbsp;Alanis Morissette</p>

 Alanis Morissette

Listen: Alanis Morissette's first single in four years, 'Guardian'

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She wants to be your 'angel on call'

Here’s the good news for Alanis Morissette fans: she has lost none of her earnestness. On her first new single in four years, “Guardian,” she positions herself at the front gate of your heart to protect and shield you.

Other than that, I don’t have a clue as to what the song is about.

The chorus, taken by itself, independent of the verses,  seems tailor-made for the new mom, who vows to watch over her beloved forever. “I’ll be your keeper for life as your guardian...I’ll be your angel on call... the greatest honor of all as your guardian.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Snow Patrol</p>

Snow Patrol

Concert Review: Snow Patrol takes over Hollywood's Palladium

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Bright lights, big city, and even bigger songs and ambitions

At one point a a number of years ago, it seemed like Snow Patrol could be the next U2, or,  if not quite that lofty, the next Coldplay. The Irish/Scottish quintet’s songs covered the same anthemic, sweeping themes and were aggressively melodic and commercial.

Plus, led by Gary Lightbody, they were a tremendous live act.  I first saw them in 2003 at a Fader-sponsored party at a club at South by Southwest in Austin. They were awkward, Lightbody acted as if he were totally bombed, and there were only glimpses of anything more than an average talent. Fast forward to exactly a year later, first U.S. album “Final Straw” had come out, sold very well, and they were playing the much bigger outdoor venue Stubbs at SXSW. To this day, I have never seen a band exhibit such improvement over such a short amount of time. Lightbody commanded the audience like a pro. His voice was resonant and clear and the whole band worked like a well-oiled machine far beyond its experience.

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Watch: Five questions from Maroon 5's new 'Payphone' video
Credit: A&M/Octone Records

Watch: Five questions from Maroon 5's new 'Payphone' video

The heat gets to be too much for Adam Levine

Maroon 5’s Adam Levine finds himself inadvertently on the wrong side of the law in the ambitious, yet headscratching, video for “Payphone" featuring Wiz Khalifa. The clip debuted on E! News tonight.

The video opens with a scene straight out of “Falling Down”: Levine is bruised, battered, and shirtless, but he, somehow, still has a quarter to use the phone. We jump back in time to earlier in the day to a suited Levine as a bank desk jockey who can’t get the attention of his dreamy co-worker.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Goyte</p>

Goyte

Credit: AP Photo

Gotye's 'Somebody That I Used To Know' gets used to the Billboard Hot 100 summit

What record did the song set this week?

Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” featuring Kimbra can definitely claim rights to the hit of Spring 2012 as it spends its fifth week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Not only that, it becomes the first song to ever top the Billboard’s Hot 100, Alternative Songs, Dance/Club Play Songs and Dance/Mix Show Airplay.  This week marks its 10th atop the Alternative Songs chart, making “Somebody” the longest reign at No. 1 on that chart by a solo artist in the chart’s 23-year history, according to Billboard.

For the last few weeks, the top 3 of the Billboard Hot 100 have remained static: fun.s’ “We Are Young” featuring Janelle Monae stays at No. 2 and Maroon 5’s “Payphone” featuring Wiz Khalifa hangs out at No. 3.
Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” continues its slow ascent, gaining one spot to No. 4. A number of other titles also creep up one: Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” featuring Sia rises to No. 5 and Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” lifts to No. 9.

In the rest of the Top 10: The Wanted’s “Glad You Came” falls from No. 4-No. 6 and Justin Bieber’s “Girlfriend” drops from No. 7 to No. 8. One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” stays at No. 9, while Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” holds at No. 10.

There are no new entries into the Top 10 this week: the highest debut, B.o.B.’s “Both of Us” featuring Taylor Swift, bows at No. 18.

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Jimmy Fallon's new album stars Justin Timberlake, Dave Matthews and more
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Jimmy Fallon's new album stars Justin Timberlake, Dave Matthews and more

'Blow Your Pants Off' features late night show's musical parodies

It was only a matter of time: Jimmy Fallon will release a new album full of the parodies he and such guests as Justin Timberlake, Dave Matthews, and Bruce Springsteen have made famous on NBC's “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

Out June 12, “Blow Your Pants Off” features no stand-up routines, just Fallon's own impressions on such tunes as “Tebowie” and “Bob Dylan Sings ‘Charles in Charge’,” as well as viral hits like his and Timberlake’s “History of Rap,” and “Balls In Your Mouth” featuring Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, according to Rolling Stone.

Fallon’s only previous album was 2002’s “The Bathroom Wall.”

What do you think? The fun of the videos is seeing them as much as hearing them as both Fallon and his musical guests struggle to keep from cracking up. Somehow, just hearing the song doesn’t sound like that great a deal, but it's no different than The Lonely Island releasing albums of their musical skits.

So when’s the DVD coming?

The complete listing is below. We guess they couldn't get clearance for President Obama's version of "Slow Jam the News." 

The album art for Jimmy Fallon's 'Blow Your Pants Off'

Track listing for "Blow Your Pants Off"

"Neil Young Sings 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'"
"History of Rap" (feat. Justin Timberlake)
"Tebowie"
"Scrambled Eggs" (feat. Paul McCartney)
"The Doors Sing 'Reading Rainbow'"
"Balls In Your Mouth" (feat. Eddie Vedder)
"My Upstairs Neighbors Are Having Sex (And Listening to the Black Eyed Peas)"
"Bob Dylan Sings 'Charles in Charge'"
"Walk of Shame" (feat. Dave Matthews)
"Slow Jam the News" (feat. Brian Williams)
"New French Girlfriend"
"Cougar Huntin’" (feat. Big & Rich)
"You Spit When You Talk"
"Friday" (feat. Stephen Colbert)
"Neil Young Sings 'Whip My Hair'" (feat. Bruce Springsteen)

 


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<p>Adam Lambert</p>

Adam Lambert

Credit: RCA/19

What does Adam Lambert think of Kris Allen's single 'The Vision of Love?'

Two 'American Idols' release new albums one week apart

After long breaks between their individual major label debuts, “American Idol” season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert and winner Kris Allen will square off once again: in the record stores at least.

Lambert’s second RCA album, “Trespassing,” comes out next Tuesday on May 15, while Allen’s RCA set “Thank You Camellia” hits streets a week later on May 22.

When he saw that the two were releasing sets back to back, Lambert says, “I was like ‘Wow! OK. Here we go!,” he told Hitfix with a good-natured, bemused tone.

Though the pair couldn’t be more different musically or stylistically, they have maintained a mutual respect and admiration society for each other since appearing on the show, so it comes as no surprise that Lambert has very positive things to say about Allen’s current single, the positive “The Vision of Love”: “I’m so excited for him. I heard his new single and I think it’s beautiful and I think his voice sounds great on it,” Lambert says. “It’s a great melody. I know he helped write it. He’s a really talented guy so I’m excited to hear how the rest of the album turns out.”

We’ll post our full interview with Lambert  this Friday and watch for our interview with Allen to run next week. In the meantime, here’s a teaser from our sit down with Allen that we ran a few weeks ago

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Nelly Furtado
Nelly Furtado

Watch: Nelly Furtado has a growth spurt in 'Big Hoops' music video

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She definitely believes the bigger, the better

Nelly Furtado is definitely taking the lyrics of her new song, “Big Hoops (Bigger The Better)” literally in the tune’s official video.

The attack of this 10 foot woman takes place as she strolls nonchalantly down the street, totally oblivious to her shorter minions gawking up at here in awe and/or terror.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Beastie Boys</p>

Beastie Boys

Adam 'Ad-Rock' Horovitz remembers fellow Beastie Boy Adam Yauch

He salutes Yauch in photo and words on the band's website

Beastie Boy Adam Yauch’s bandmate, Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock), took to the band’s website Sunday night to comment about the passing of his friend. Yauch (aka MCA) died May 4 from cancer at 47.

“As you can imagine, shit is just fkd up right now,” Horovitz write, “But I wanna say thank you to all our friends and family (which are kinda one in the same) for all the love and support. I’m glad to know that all the love that Yauch has put out into the world is coming right back at him. Thank you.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Nicki Minaj</p>

Nicki Minaj

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Is Nicki Minaj's Pepsi commercial a 'Moment 4 Life?'

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Will all the Barbies pick up a Pepsi now?

Nicki Minaj is the latest in a long line of musical acts to sign on to shill soda. Her Pepsi commercial bowed Monday morning and, in a word we never thought we’d use in association with Minaj, it is boring.

The extended version follows a young couple, who, upon opening a can of Pepsi, find themselves very alive in a sea of other people frozen in mid-activity, whether they be mid-skateboarding, mid-volleyball game, or, oddly, mid-tomato fight. There are also 30- and 60-second versions, in addition to this 90-second cut.

They go to the beach, walk the runway as part of a Betsey Johnson fashion show (clearly before Johnson filed for bankruptcy) and, ultimately to a Minaj concert, all while a remix of “Moment 4 Life” plays. They open up another can and unfreeze Minaj, whom we see performing the song in concert, and, thank goodness, the tomato fighters.

[More after the jump...]

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