Silversun Pickups Feature From The Inlander

Past Perfect

Silversun Pickups can’t get the past back. But they can sure try.

Sweltering clubs half-full with scenesters sipping smuggled drinks. Slivers of smoggy sunset cast shadows on palm trees. This is the Los Angeles of Silversun Pickups. It’s not just home — it’s the band’s identity.

As the group’s mid-tempo sound emerged from the Silver Lake area to gain national prominence, home has never left their consciousness. The name Silversun Pickups is derived from the corner of Silverlake and Sunset Boulevard, a very purposeful choice by the band. The Silver Lake music scene blossomed when artists moved there for the affordable housing at the time. And safety in numbers produced a creative class.

When groups like Rilo Kiley and Silversun Pickups began to thrive, the national spotlight was thrust on the LA niche. While Silversun’s drummer, Chris Guanlao, is glad their scene has been recognized, he says coverage of its “boom” never held a ton of weight. It seemed behind the times to the people living it.

“It’s just like any bohemian-type neighborhood,” he says. “When it gets a lot of press in magazines and newspapers and stuff like that, it’s always kind of a little late. Everyone was kind of talking about Seattle when it was already done — when the heyday was already over. Same with Williamsburg. Same with Silver Lake.” Continue reading

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Avett Brothers Feature From The Inlander

The Real Thing

The Avett Brothers refuse to be anything more than who they already are.

When the southern folk rock sound of the Avett Brothers seeps out of the speakers, the group’s influences come with it. Merle Haggard. Willie Nelson. Neil Young. Tom Waits. They all ring clear. And then, of course, there’s the huge hip-hop influence.

No, really. “The hip-hop would be an interesting choice for a lot of people because I don’t think it comes through when you’re speaking genres,” says front man Scott Avett. “But that’s definitely a huge inspiration.”

The idea of rigid divisions between genres strikes Scott as a ridiculous notion for someone who draws heavily from both Townes Van Zandt and the Pixies. While much of the Avett Brothers’ music reverberates with slow back-roads pacing and an easy molasses sweetness, occasionally the unexpected sounds buried deeper in the group’s psyche rise to the top.

An example: on the single “Slight Figure Of Speech” from the band’s latest record I and Love and You, the band creates a power-pop ode that’s structured around Scott’s love for ‘90s pop rock groups. Continue reading