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Thursday, December 15

94.7FM Presents

Silversun Pickups

Cafuné

238697

6:30 pm doors, 8 pm show

All ages welcome

$38 advance, $43 day of show, $48 advance 21+ reserved balcony

Silversun Pickups

Silversun Pickups' sixth album Physical Thrills came together as a serendipitous accident during a dark time. The LA band began 2020 by touring in support of their record released the previous year, Widow's Weeds. But the pandemic halted those plans, with the members including guitarist and singer Brian Aubert, bassist Nikki Monninger, drummer Christopher Guanlao, and keyboardist Joe Lester, finding themselves stuck at home. In that resting period, Aubert wasn't focused on Silversun Pickups; instead, he channeled his energy into taking care of his son, Nico, while his wife Tracy worked.

But as much as his focus initially shifted from the band, he couldn't escape the new melodies germinating in his head. "I would sneak off and start writing these songs, and I didn't know what they're for because I didn't really think about Silversun on any level. I was just doing it to keep myself calm and keep myself company," says Aubert. The songs were so different from what he'd previously written for Silversun Pickups that he initially thought he was writing a musical. There were "dream shanties," gentler vocals, horror-inspired sounds, and other exciting new elements coming to mind.

The band finally was able to gather in person for a live-streamed acoustic performance on Halloween for The Dark Zone Network's virtual music festival Queen Mary, and it was there that Aubert revealed the new material to his bandmates. They readily embraced the new direction-and so did producer Butch Vig. The band reunited with Vig, who first worked with Silversun Pickups on Widow's Weeds, recording the record at the famed producer and Garbage member's home.

When Aubert first reached out to Vig, he wasn't sure if the band was making an EP or a full record; Widow's Weeds was still fresh for Silversun Pickups. But once Aubert made plans to visit Vig and play him what he had, the music began pouring out. He immediately began recording with Vig, later having the rest of the band join.

Once the band began working on Physical Thrills together, they made some of Silversun Pickups' most stunning songs yet. The record doesn't depart drastically from the sound the band's fans know and love, but rather enhances it with previously-unexplored fixtures at play.

Physical Thrills was colored by the pandemic, but isn't meant to be solemn; instead, Aubert explores his own comfort in the temporary, newfound isolation. There's a juxtaposition of playfulness with angst from having so much time to process untapped emotions. That's something that comes through in the album's instrumentation, too, with wide-ranging sounds that transform according to the weight of the lyrics.

There are tracks with shoegaze-infused distorted synths and guitar, like opener "Stillness (Way Beyond)"; bouncy, pop-tinged danceable tunes ("Empty Nest," "Hereafter (Way After)"); pared-down ballads ("Alone On A Hill"); and a collection of "dream shanties," as Aubert refers to them.

The titles of those shanties call back to "Dream At Tempo 119" off the band's 2006 debut record, Carnavas, tying the band's beginnings with the current, evolved iteration of Silversun Pickups. But, this time, the instrumentation matches the lyrics. Aubert forgoes the heavy guitars to instead create magical lullabies: "Dream At Tempo 050," "Dream At Tempo 310," and "Dream At Tempo 150." Each carries a secret code in the title with numbers personal to Aubert.

With such an exploratory record, the band members felt free to traverse new ground. Guanlao, who usually shies away from fills on drums, took inspiration from The Beatles documentary Get Back, throwing some into Physical Thrills, influenced by Ringo Starr's work on Let It Be. Whereas for Monninger, this record allowed her to showcase her vocals at the forefront more than in previous work. Joe also took a larger role in composition on this record, writing the piano part for "We Won't Come Out," which became the backbone for the song.

The making of Physical Thrills also allowed for whimsical moments, including Aubert creating a distinct tapping noise by incorporating the sound of drumsticks hitting Vig's Grammy in "Hidden Moon," and playfully pelting balloons at Monninger while she played "Hereafter (Way After)" on bass to create less tension.

While this record features such an eclectic mix of melodies, each song is interconnected with each other, meant to be experienced as a whole body of work. "All of our records are designed for people who want to listen to them all the way through and hopefully stick around with it," says Aubert. "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."

Lester says, "Physical Thrills is exactly the record that we wanted to make, which I'm really stoked about because sometimes you look back and think, ‘Well, that's maybe not exactly how we would have done it' when you go back and listen to it years later.' But I feel really proud of this one. I think the songs that Nikki sings on are like the best ones we've done for her to sing on. The lyrics are better than they've ever been."

Monninger adds, "We've been together for twenty-two 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."

 

website:
http://www.silversunpickups.com/

Spotify:
http://play.spotify.com/artist/6qyi8X6MdP1lu6B1K6yh3h

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/silversunpickups

Twitter:
http://twitter.com/sspu

YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/silversunpickups

Instagram:
http://instagram.com/sspu/

Cafuné

Running is the debut album from Cafuné. During the five years after Noah Yoo and Sedona Schat graduated from college together in the mid-2010s, the duo continued to write songs and play shows in New York as they worked around their day jobs. As they honed their live set, the band's sound evolved, and their audiences grew. By late 2019, they were graduating to larger venues in the city, ready to launch a new chapter. But then, the pandemic hit, putting those plans on hold.

It turned out that months in quarantine would be the catalyst Yoo and Schat needed to sit down and finish the first Cafuné album. Running isn't quite a quarantine record, but it also would never have come to be if the duo weren't forced into lockdown. The frustrations and anxieties of the chaotic city around them seeped into songs that had been written pre-COVID as they grappled with how to stay creative.

Self-produced and almost entirely recorded by the duo at their homes, mostly during the pandemic, Running is a record born in isolation that's also about what it means to spend large swaths of time alone. It peers out at a world that feels like it's on the precipice of disaster, considering what it means to get older, to carve out a future for yourself. In sound, the album pushes Cafuné's genre boundaries - from alternative pop and shoegaze to neo-noir soft rock.

Lead single "High" peers at depression from a perspective that Schat refers to as "a place of zen-like acceptance." The track flutters like birds surrounding a fountain, with its soft guitars and lilted vocal arrangements. It features Yoo on guitar, which he wrote and recorded more prominently with across all of these songs.

One of the reasons Running took so many years is because at times, tensions between Schat and Yoo were fraught. In the years leading up to the album, they sometimes went months without speaking to one another, and the future of Cafuné was up in the air. "Talk" is about the tension between feeling alone and alienated while also wanting to feel better and needing to open up to people. Improvised around the clanking pipes of Yoo's apartment, the atmosphere on the track is spectral, glowing with the distortion of an old heater and the digital haze of manipulated drum breaks.

Resonant album opener "Reconsider" feels like the final minutes of sunlight in the day, when the sky's pinks become bluish. It's another about the need to be profoundly alone-to feel like you bruise easily and need to take space from everyone around you. Another new song, "Everyone Knows," features Schat's most cutting lyrics to date in an indictment of abuse and undue power. The album closes with three brand-new songs: "Live It Back Down," "Empty Tricks," and the title track, "Running."

Cafuné cite decision paralysis as a deterrent from finishing music in the past. With so much time spent in isolation, the walls came down a bit. It became easier to pursue ideas freely. Running, then, is a labor of friendship, of doing the work and trying to figure out what the way forward is, even when it seems like there's no end in sight. It's a record of growing old and growing up, of making something you can move to-whether you're alone in a room, in a sweaty club with all of your friends, or driving away to someplace better.