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Silversun Pickups to co-headline Spring Fling 2016

| Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 9:00 p.m.
The Silversun Pickups will perform during Spring Fling 2016 at the Petersen Events Center in Oakland.
Claire Marie Vogel
The Silversun Pickups will perform during Spring Fling 2016 at the Petersen Events Center in Oakland.

The Los Angeles-based, four-piece Silversun Pickups have existed in some form since the turn of the century. In 2015, they released their fourth full-length album, “Better Nature.” Even including the additional smattering of EPs, it could be argued that Silversun Pickups' discography is rather short relative to their longevity.

Relativity does not hold much weight in the Pickups' view. The band members move at their own pace, plot their own trajectory and keep their own counsel. It has served them well.

On March 25, that trajectory will deliver the alternative-rock band to Spring Fling 2016 at the Petersen Events Center, where they will co-headline with Bear Hands, Cage the Elephant and Foals.

“Usually, the albums kind of come in three-year cycles. We'll put the album out, tour for a year-and-a-half, at least, then we'll take a little bit of time off, and then start getting together,” says bassist Nikki Monninger.

Consistent reinvention is the through-line of the Pickups' career, which spans a wide spectrum of sounds. Fifteen years on, their early sound, which frequently prompted comparisons to the Smashing Pumpkins and shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine, is barely perceptible on their latest work. “Better Nature” is driven by synth-heavy electronic elements and given to soaring, anthemic heights more appropriate to arena venues.

Part of the Silversun Pickups' appeal is their willingness to be yanked out of their comfort zone. On their last two albums, that disruptive force came in the form of producer Garret “Jacknife” Lee, whose disparate resume includes production stints with the likes of One Direction, Coldplay and R.E.M.

“Jacknife kind of shakes it up a little bit, but at the core, it's the same song that we had started with,“ Monninger says.

Lee built a comfortable rapport with the band that freed them up to experiment with more dance-friendly elements, while staying true to themselves. The band's sound is naturally likable and radio-friendly. Ultimately, though, the musicians are driven by their artistic ambitions.

“We never really think about what other people think,“ Monninger says. “It's always just as long as we're happy; then, to us it was a success. We always feel like we want to keep growing, and I feel like with this album we all took risks and it seems to us have paid off.”

Ian Thomas is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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