Out Now: Silversun Pickups Challenge Themselves Again with New Butch Vig-Produced LP ‘Physical Thrills’

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Los Angeles indie rockers Silversun Pickups have been a major player on the scene ever since breaking through with 2006’s “Lazy Eye,” a standout track on the band’s debut album, Carnavas. The years since have found the band expanding its sound and audience, becoming a live favorite around the world and pushing the parameters of its sound with each release.

The band’s new record, Physical Thrills, arrived today, Aug. 19. The sixth album to date and first since 2019’s Widow’s Weeds, it was previewed in recent weeks with songs like “Scared Together”:

Click here to pick up Physical Thrills on CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pick up Physical Thrills on 2-LP from our Rock Cellar Store

As seems inevitable with most acts these days, some of the inspiration behind Physical Thrills came about during the last few years of pandemic-influenced anxiety and restlessness.

Explained Silversun Pickups’ Brian Aubert of the new material:

“This record is alive. It sits somewhere in between a collection of songs and an imaginary friend. A friend that from March of 2020 to April of 2021 would not only introduce itself to me but keep me company through that time of intense isolation. A friend that would remind me that in this instance, the whole world was feeling the same way as well. A comforting, playful, sometimes frightened, often delighted friend. A friend that was finally introduced to Butch Vig, once we got vaccinated, and blew through his studio like a tornado made of cotton candy, leaving little pieces of residue everywhere. But most importantly, this friend REALLY doesn’t give a fuck. I know. That sounds brash. I just mean it’s a thing that is truly free. And now, this little living head space no longer visits me. I visit it through this album. I hope you like it. My friend wouldn’t care. Little rascal.”

One of the strongest, most lasting elements of Silversun Pickups’ music is an anxious urgency, and that comes across throughout the album. “Hereafter (Way After)” fits this bill, a piano-driven midtempo jam that could very well fit alongside the group’s notable indie radio hits from the past:

“Alone on a Hill” was another pre-release track, featuring lead vocals from bassist Nikki Monninger:

“This song exposes a side I didn’t know I had in me,” Monninger explained. “It felt freeing, especially with everything going on in the past couple of years. I’m grateful everyone gave me so much support during the recording process as I am a bit timid when it comes to hearing the sound of my own voice. Bri just kept telling me to channel my inner Kate Bush.”

That sentiment — how that track “exposes a side I didn’t know I had in me” — works as a thesis statement for the entirety of Physical Thrills, a record that finds Silversun Pickups looking inward, exploring the boundaries of their sound and being unafraid to go down paths previously untraveled.

“All of our records are designed for people who want to listen to them all the way through and hopefully stick around with it,” said Aubert in a statement. “After a while, maybe you’ll catch on to the little things—not just the [pattern of] the dream songs, but maybe you’ll hear that, and you’ll hear a melody from the first song in the last song. There are crossover things happening.”

Monninger added, “We’ve been together for 22 years; it’s really interesting that we still love doing this. We know that we’re fortunate to still be together after all these years, seeking out the silver lining. I feel like we still have many more things to say, and we’re so happy with how this album turned out.”

Give it a listen below:

Catch Silversun Pickups on the road in the weeks ahead:

8/19 – Denver, CO at Channel 93.3’s Big Gig
9/28 – San Diego, CA at Observatory North Park*
9/29 – Anaheim, CA at House of Blues*
10/1 – Rancho Mirage, CA at Agua Caliente Casino
10/2 – Ventura, CA at Ventura Theater*
10/3 – Los Angeles, CA at Orpheum Theatre*
10/6 – Oakland, CA at Fox Theatre*
10/7 – Monterey, CA at Golden State Theater*
10/8 – Stateline, NV at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe*
10/9 – Sacramento, CA at Ace of Spades*
10/15 – New Rock 104.1’s New Rock Brew Rock at Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co.^
11/2 – Boston, MA at House of Blues*
11/4 – New Haven, CT at College Street Music Hall*
11/5 – Montclair, NJ at Wellmont Theater*
11/6 – New York, NY at Webster Hall*
11/8 – Baltimore, MD at Rams Head Live!*
11/9 – Philadelphia, PA at Fillmore*
11/11 – Raleigh, NC at The Ritz*
11/12 – Charlotte, NC at The Fillmore*
11/14 – Orlando, FL at House of Blues*
11/15 – St. Petersburg, FL at Jannus Live*
11/17 – Atlanta, GA at Buckhead Theatre*
11/18 – Nashville, TN at Marathon Music Works*
*“Physical Thrills” Headlining Date w/ support from Eliza & The Delusionals
^Support TBA

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