This morning, Silversun Pickups premiere “Freakazoid,” the second song from their forthcoming 5th studio album Widow’s Weeds (June 7th, New Machine Recordings), via Consequence of Sound who say the song “presents itself as a smoldering examination of what it’s like to ‘believe you’re trying’ in the face of chaos. Steadily determined instruments bruise their way through warm, slow strings, an unflinching grit that finds powerful release on an alternatively heavy and spacey solo.” The band also provide a behind-the-scenes look at the making of and influences for the song in an interview with Consequence: “‘Freakazoid’ has been buzzing around my head for a few years now,” says lead singer and guitarist Brian Aubert. “It became our portal into what would become our record Widow's Weeds. Like a first step, leaving an imprint that would affect major aspects of the album. Thematically, it's coming from a very vulnerable place. Probably the most vulnerable on the album. It's loaded with insecurity and desire to mend broken things together, almost as if it's a last-ditch effort to do so. There is no pessimism. There is true hope that things will be better but trying to reach that place without the words and actions available to you to do so can feel quite destitute.” Listen to “Freakazoid” via Consequence of Sound here.
The band recently confirmed new tour dates in June and July and will perform in cities including Santa Barbara, Dana Point, CA (at KROQ’s Weenie Roast), Buffalo, Burlington and Portland, ME (full dates below). They have previously confirmed performances at X107.5’s OBC show in Las Vegas on June 6th and at Del Mar’s KAABOO festival in September. Tickets for all dates are on sale here.
Widow’s Weeds, Silversun Pickups’ 5th studio album will be released on June 7th via their own New Machine Recordings label. The band enlisted Butch Vig (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth) to produce their latest, an extroverted and open album about rebirth and renewal. Said lead singer Brian Aubert about Widow’s Weeds: “This was the first album where we were open. We were exposed. I see how that can be scary to people, but for us we really thrived on that.” Widow’s Weeds is now available to pre-order here, with lead single, “It Doesn’t Matter Why,” provided as an instant download. The band also shared the music video for “It Doesn’t Matter Why” which was directed by Suzie Vlcek. Watch it here. Watch behind the scenes footage of the band in the studio during the making of Widow’s Weeds here.
Bursting out of the Silverlake, CA music scene in the early 2000s, Silversun Pickups– lead singer Brian Aubert, bassist Nikki Monninger, drummer Christopher Guanlao and keyboardist Joe Lester– have maintained their independence throughout their storied career. They released their first three albums on the local label, Dangerbird Records, before founding their own label, New Machine Recordings, for the release of their most recent album, Better Nature. Now almost two decades into their career, they remain a vital and important rock band and have racked up ten Top 20 hits on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart, as well as over a million records sold in the US.
Silversun Pickups have always considered their sonic density a source of pride, their four studio albums revealing additional sonic gifts with each subsequent spin, and their fifth album, Widow's Weeds, is no exception. The band members were in agreement with the album's starting point (the urgent synth-rocker "Neon Wound") and closer (the aggressive, throttling "We Are Chameleons"). The band admitted that everything in between, including how the rest of Widow's Weeds was sequenced and how the album unfolded, often surprised them.
To make sense of these ideas, Silversun Pickups enlisted producer Butch Vig. Vig and mixer Billy Bush helped Silversun Pickups craft a confident, unrestrained album in which every instrument is clearly audible in the mix. Cure-like keyboards hold their own against riffs on "Neon Wound" and the spring-loaded "It Doesn't Matter Why." In the end, recording with Vig surpassed the band members' already-high expectations. "He really listens to each band member, and he puts a great value on each individual, and what they can add to the music," Monninger says. "It was very collaborative with him. He's such an easygoing person, and he put everybody at ease."
During this time, the band members were wrestling with challenges in their personal lives. Lester's father passed away. Aubert, meanwhile, found himself in an extremely dark place, for reasons he couldn't immediately explain. "I didn't know how to get out of it," Aubert says. "Finally, I was just like, something big has to happen." His solution was getting treatment and getting sober during the gap between recording sessions—a decision that immediately improved his mental health and creative outlook." The record does have a mourning vibe, but it's not sad," he says. "It's change. It's growing up and moving on and letting go of things. And it's okay to be sad about those things and mourn them. It's actually healthy to do so and take the time to do it. At the end of the day, it's going to be much better and much more fulfilling when you get through it."
Widow's Weeds ends up being about rebirth and renewal. For Aubert, moving forward involves staying connected to his own self (and remembering to prioritize self-care) and being attuned to creative impulses when they arise. If that means going outside of his comfort zone, so be it,” Aubert says. "This album feels the most naked out of all of them."
Silversun Pickups Tour
June 2 /// Santa Barbara, CA /// Velvet Jones
June 3 /// Fresno, CA /// Strummer’s
June 4 /// Bakersfield, CA /// 1933 Club
June 6 /// Las Vegas, NV /// The Cosmopolitan “X107.5’s OBC”
June 8 /// Dana Point, CA /// Doheny State Beach “KROQ Weenie Roast”
July 12 /// Baldwinsville, NY /// Papermill Island “95X Big-X-Cuse”*
July 13 /// Clifton Park, NY /// Upstate Concert Hall*
July 14 /// Buffalo, NY /// Buffalo Riverworks “103.3 The Edge CRNVL”*
July 16 /// Burlington, VT /// Higher Ground*
July 17 /// Portland, ME /// State Theatre*
July 19 /// Stroudsburg, PA /// Sherman Theater*
July 20 /// Sayreville, NJ /// Starland Ballroom*
Sept 13-15 /// Del Mar, CA /// Kaaboo Festival 2019
* w/ support from I Dont Know How But They Found Me
Widow’s Weeds tracklisting:
1. Neon Wound
2. It Doesn't Matter Why
4. Don't Know Yet
5. Straw Man
6. Bag Of Bones
7. Widow's Weeds
10. We Are Chameleons