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Silversun Pickups on Wikipedia
Silversun Pickups
Silversun Pickups at Coachella 2009.jpgSilversun Pickups at Coachella 2009.
Background information
OriginLos Angeles, California, United States
  • Alternative rock
  • indie rock
  • dream pop[1]
  • shoegaze[2]
Years active2002 (2002)–present
  • Dangerbird
  • New Machine Recordings
  • MapleMusic
MembersBrian Aubert
Christopher Guanlao
Joe Lester
Nikki Monninger
Past membersJack Kennedy
Elvira Gonzalez

Silversun Pickups is an alternative rock band from Los Angeles that was formed in 2000. The band is currently composed of Brian Aubert, Nikki Monninger, Christopher Guanlao and Joe Lester.

The band released their debut EP, Pikul, in July 2005, and their debut full-length album, Carnavas, on July 26, 2006. Their second full-length album, Swoon, was released on April 14, 2009. Neck of the Woods, the band's third full-length album, was released on May 8, 2012. The band released their fourth full-length album, Better Nature, on September 25, 2015.


  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Early years, Pikul EP (2000–2005)
    • 1.2 Carnavas (2006–2007)
    • 1.3 Swoon (2008–2010)
    • 1.4 Neck of the Woods (2011–2013)
    • 1.5 The Singles Collection and Better Nature (2014–present)
  • 2 Musical style and influences
  • 3 Equipment
  • 4 Band members
    • 4.1 Former members
    • 4.2 Former touring members
  • 5 Discography
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Early years, Pikul EP (2000–2005)

The band members are friends who had played together previously. They began their career in Los Angeles clubs, most often at Silverlake Lounge or nearby Spaceland, and began to draw a strong following upon the release of the Pikul EP.

The band originated in L.A.'s Silver Lake music scene, home of Rilo Kiley and others.[3]

The band has been repeatedly rumored to have been originally named A Couple of Couples, as the original lineup was composed of a pair of romantically involved couples — lead guitarist Brian Aubert was dating drummer Elvira Gonzales, while bassist Nikki Monninger was dating rhythm guitarist Jack Kennedy. However the band has stated that this is untrue.[4] The name Silversun Pickups was derived from a liquor store located across from Silverlake Lounge. One of the friends would often arrive at the store late at night to buy liquor, making a "Silversun Pickup." In interviews, the band has said its name is more of "a state of mind".[5]

Brian Aubert met Nikki Monninger in 1994 on a flight from Los Angeles to London. Both of them were headed to Cambridge for a school exchange program. Aubert noticed Monninger sitting across the aisle from him stealing alcohol from the drink cart by distracting the flight attendant.[6]

For the Pikul EP, fellow Silverlaker Tanya Haden was enlisted to play cello on the track "Kissing Families".[7]

Carnavas (2006–2007)

On July 25, 2006, the band released their debut full-length album Carnavas. Two of the album's four singles, "Lazy Eye" and "Well Thought Out Twinkles", made the top 10 of the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart in 2007. "Lazy Eye" is also featured in the video games Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero World Tour, one of only 13 songs to be featured in both games.[8] The songs "Melatonin" and "Well Thought Out Twinkles" from the Carnavas album are also available as downloadable content for the Rock Band series.[9] Forza Horizon, released in 2012, features "Lazy Eye" as a track played on "Horizon Rocks," one of three in-game radio stations. The band finished a three-week tour opening for Wolfmother on December 9, 2006, and later toured with OK Go and Snow Patrol on their U.S. spring tour, which ended on April 10, 2007. The band also played at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California, on April 27, 2007, and played various concerts for modern rock-formatted radio stations in the US throughout the year.

The band also toured Great Britain and Ireland while Carnavas was released there on May 28, 2007. They opened for Foo Fighters in Edinburgh and Dublin. They also opened for the Kaiser Chiefs during their European tour.

Carnavas peaked at No. 80 on the Billboard 200 and has sold 435,000 copies since its release.[10]

Swoon (2008–2010)

The band's second album Swoon[11] includes 10 tracks, and instead of having a straightforward mid-tempo sound, Aubert said: "Some songs are very quiet and delicate, others are just loud."[12]

The album was released on April 14, 2009, to positive reviews. It debuted at No. 7, selling approximately 43,000 copies in its first week.[13] Swoon has sold 285,000 copies.[citation needed]

The first single released was "Panic Switch", which aired on VH1 and MTV music video shows and radio stations worldwide. Silversun Pickups played the 2009 Voodoo Music Experience Festival over the Halloween weekend.[14] Panic Switch is also featured in the video games Rockband and Rocksmith.

In 2009, the band performed "Catch and Release", "Panic Switch", "Lazy Eye", "Well Thought Out Twinkles", "Growing Old is Getting Old", and "Kissing Families" for MTV Unplugged.

In early December 2009, the band was nominated in the Best New Artist category for the 52nd Grammy Awards. Their nomination drew some controversy, because the band was already moderately successful before the 2008-2009 nominating year, although this was mainly due to misunderstandings involving the selections of Best New Artist nominees.[15] They supported Placebo on their Winter 2009 European tour. Upon the release of Swoon, they toured with Manchester Orchestra as main support. In spring 2010 the band toured with Muse for their US tour.[16] They toured North America again in summer 2010 with Against Me! and The Henry Clay People.[17] They toured with Australian rock band Birds of Tokyo in September 2010 and ended an 18-month tour in support of Swoon at Austin City Limits.

The songs "Panic Switch" and "Sort Of" from the Swoon album are available as downloadable content for the Rock Band series.[9]

Neck of the Woods (2011–2013)

On May 8, 2012, the band's third album Neck of the Woods was released. It opened near the top of the iTunes top 100 albums and moved into the number one spot the following day.[18] Around the same time, they announced that they would be playing a number of high-profile summer music festivals.

The band released a three song 10" vinyl single for Record Store Day's "Back to Black Friday" event on November 25, 2011 titled "Seasick". It was composed of three previously unreleased songs; "Seasick", "Broken Bottles" and "Ribbons and Detours". They are songs left over from the Swoon sessions, and will not be put on their third studio album.

The band also contributed a cover of Bob Dylan's "Not Dark Yet" for the tribute album Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International.

On February 7, 2012, it was announced that the band would be playing the main stage at the 2012 Sasquatch! Music Festival.[19]

On March 7, 2012, Aubert confirmed via Twitter both the name of the album - Neck of the Woods[20] - as well as the release date - May 8, 2012.[21] Shortly afterward, the album artwork was posted to the band's Facebook account.[22]

On March 25, 2012, the first single from the new album, "Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)" was released. The pre-order for Neck of the Woods also started.[23]

On May 30, 2012, the video to "Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)" was released and announced on Twitter.[24]

On July 24, 2012 the band announced plans for a North American Tour beginning in September 2012. The tour took place on the West coast, midwest and western Canada with supporting acts including School of Seven Bells and Atlas Genius.[25] In August 2012, Sarah Negahdari, singer and guitarist for The Happy Hollows, temporarily replaced Monninger for live performances while she was on maternity leave.

The Singles Collection and Better Nature (2014–present)

On January 7, 2014 the band announced a compilation album entitled The Singles Collection, comprising 10 previously released songs, as well as a new song "Cannibal," which was also the lead-single. A video for the song aired in the middle of February and the band appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show while performing in-store at Amoeba Music (Hollywood).[26] The collection was released on February 25 and appeared in regular formats as well as a box of six 7" vinyl records that included the additional track 'Devil's Cup'.[27]

On October 7, 2014 the band announced that they have begun recording their next album.[28]

On July 15, 2015 the band announced their next album, Better Nature.[29] The album was released on September 25, 2015.

The band is included in Coachella's 2016 line-up, as well as the Live 105 BFD at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.

In 2017 the band will support Third Eye Blind on their 20th anniversary tour.

Musical style and influences

The band's sound, often encompassing multiple overdubs of distorted guitars, is frequently compared to that of The Smashing Pumpkins.[30] More recently, the band has also incorporated electronic elements into their music.


Aubert predominantly uses a 1994 Epiphone Sheraton II, 1965 Gibson Firebird, Gibson SG Custom, and a Gibson Midtown Custom.

Monninger plays Gibson Thunderbirds and is seen with a Fender Precision Bass in the video for "Well Thought Out Twinkles."

Guanlao mainly played Ludwig Vistalites until around the Swoon era where he switched to an acrylic C&C kit. He also uses Istanbul cymbals. [31]

Band members

  • Brian Aubert – vocals, guitar
  • Nikki Monninger – vocals, bass guitar
  • Chris Guanlao – drums, percussion
  • Joe Lester – keyboards, guitar, samples, sound manipulation

Former members

  • Jack Kennedy – rhythm guitar
  • Elvira Gonzalez – drums[32]

Former touring members

  • Sarah Negahdari - bass, vocals [33]


Main article: Silversun Pickups discography
Studio albums
  • 2006: Carnavas
  • 2009: Swoon
  • 2012: Neck of the Woods
  • 2015: Better Nature


  • 2005: Pikul
  • 2011: Seasick
  • 2013: Let It Decay


  1. ^ "Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2013-04-25. 
  2. ^ "Everything you need to know about the impending shoegaze revival". Altpress. Retrieved 2015-05-11. 
  3. ^ "The Watson Twins display their Southern Manners". 2006-09-28. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  4. ^ "Silversun Pickups: Riffing on band drama, 'Better Nature' and being old-school". 
  5. ^ Video on YouTube
  6. ^ "A Pickup to swoon over". Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  7. ^ "Pikul [EP]". Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  8. ^ hiudgfs. "13 Songs In Both 'Rock Band 2′ And 'Guitar Hero: World Tour'". Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  9. ^ a b "Rock Band 4 | Harmonix Music Systems, Inc". Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  10. ^ Silversun Pickups - Chart History
  11. ^ Alternative Press Issue No. 243
  12. ^ Garland, Max (2010-04-21). "Silversun Pickups make the crowd 'swoon'". The Pendulum - Elon University's News Organization. Archived from the original on 2012-02-29. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  13. ^ Todd Martens (2009-04-23). "Silversun Pickups' album 'Swoon' hits No. 7 on pop chart - latimes". Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  14. ^ "Eminem, Kiss, Flaming Lips To Headline Voodoo Experience". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  15. ^ "Pop & Hiss". Los Angeles Times. December 4, 2009. 
  16. ^ [1] Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "Silversun Pickups". Silversun Pickups. 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  18. ^ "iTunes - Browse the top album downloads - Apple". Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. Retrieved 2015-09-06. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  19. ^ "S! 2015". 2015-02-03. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  20. ^ [2][dead link]
  21. ^ [3][dead link]
  22. ^ "Profile Pictures - Silversun Pickups". Facebook. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  23. ^ "Silversun Pickups". Silversun Pickups. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  24. ^ "Silversun Pickups on Twitter: "Bloody Mary..._b "". 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  25. ^ [4] Archived August 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  26. ^ "Stereogum Newsitem"" Tom Breihan, 'Silversun Pickups - "Cannibal" video & Kimmel performance' Stereogum, February 18, 2014.
  27. ^ "Second Disc article Mike Duquette, 'Silversun Pickups to Release “Singles Collection” on CD, Vinyl Box', Second Disc, January 22, 2014
  28. ^ [5] Archived October 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  29. ^ "Silversun Pickups". Silversun Pickups. 2015-07-15. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  30. ^ Rolling Stone Review by Evan Serpick. "...things take off with 'Well Thought Out Twinkles,' a surge of guitar squalls and male-female vocals that sounds like what might have happened if the Smashing Pumpkins had driven their ice cream cart out West." NPR Song of the Day. Review by John Richards. "Silversun Pickups brings to mind a sort of alternate-universe Smashing Pumpkins." McGonigal, Mike. "Carnavas Editorial Review". Their music updates the anthemic but gauzy heavy rock sound that Veruca Salt and the Smashing Pumpkins had down pat.  Pitchfork Media review of Carnavas Archived July 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. by Rachel Khong Archived July 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.. "Those nostalgic for Smashing Pumpkins tunes of yesteryear will find them nestled inside the minutes (and there are so many minutes) of 'Lazy Eye'."
  31. ^ "'We Like When The Guitar Is Used As A Texture'". Guitar World. 
  32. ^ "Silversun Pickups". Silversun Pickups. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  33. ^ Archived from the original on August 24, 2012. Retrieved February 19, 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links

  • Silversun Pickups official website
  • Silversun Pickups on Fuse: Best of Lollapalooza 2009
  • Silversun Pickups Interview at REDEFINE Magazine, August 2006
  • Silversun Pickups interview on
  • Interview with Nikki Monninger at Three Imaginary Girls
  • Podcast of the Silversun Pickups live at SXSW 2006 (link to another page)
  • Silversun Pickups Interview on Risers - presented by Axe
  • Silversun Pickups Video Interview in Toronto
  • The band interviewed by Aisha Tyler on her podcast
  • the band track by track history, describe loosely forming in 2000

Upcoming Live Shows

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Silversun Pickups has 27 upcoming shows:

Sunshine Theater (Albuquerque, NM)Buy Tickets
Brooklyn Bowl (Las Vegas, NV)Buy Tickets
Het Depot (Leuven, Belgium)Buy Tickets
London Calling Festival (Amsterdam, Netherlands)Buy Tickets
Jovel (Münster, Germany)Buy Tickets
New Fall Festival (Dusseldorf, Germany)Buy Tickets
Pumphuset (Copenhagen, Denmark)Buy Tickets
Columbiatheatre (Berlin, Germany)Buy Tickets
Flex (Wien, Austria)Buy Tickets
Theatrefabrik (Munich, Germany)Buy Tickets
Wardrobe (Leeds, United Kingdom)Buy Tickets
Academy2 (Birmingham, United Kingdom)Buy Tickets
Club Academy (Manchester, United Kingdom)Buy Tickets
Electric Ballroom (London, United Kingdom)Buy Tickets
Thekla (Bristol, United Kingdom)Buy Tickets

Further Reading

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