Call it the Easter hangover: after a few action-packed weeks, it’s awfully slow out there in your local record store this Tuesday. Consider it a blessing, because if you’re like me, there’s a huge stack of CDs near your stereo awaiting your attention, and you’ll have plenty of time this week to attack it.


Their much-buzzed-about 2007 debut Carnavas produced the rock radio smash “Lazy Eye,” but I must confess that, heretofore, the moody, grungy work of Silversun Pickups has only succeeded in going right over my head. (Listening to Nikki Monninger’s affected vocals on that album, all I found myself thinking was, “Hole and Veruca Salt really did this kind of stuff much, much better in the ’90s.”) The Pickups take a second stab at winning me over this week with their sophomore effort Swoon, which is led by the frenetic first single “Panic Switch,” which is kinda fun for the first sixty seconds or so but quickly devolves into a sad, pallid facsimile of Machina-era Smashing Pumpkins (which itself was a sad, pallid facsimile of Siamese Dream-era Smashing Pumpkins).

They had the world on a string a decade ago, with a breakout platinum smash album (the infectious All the Pain Money Can Buy) and a trifecta of radio hits (“Out of My Head,” “Fire Escape,” and the Grammy-nominated instant classic “The Way”), but it all disappeared as quickly as it had arrived: despite a huge push from Hollywood Records and a rollicking assist from legendary pianist Billy Preston on the album’s brilliant lead single “You’re an Ocean,” the band’s follow-up effort The Harsh Light of Day proved to have an eerily prophetic title, because with fewer than 100,000 copies sold, it seemed as though Austin-based heroes Fastball were commercially cooked. Since top 40 fame left them behind, the band has settled into a much quieter existence of touring and recording and more touring, and this week brings their fifth album, Little White Lies.

Big doin’s for the gang from everybody’s favorite cul-de-sac, as the arrival of soon-to-be-legendary bitch-on-wheels Donna Mills, cameos from “Dallas” stars Larry Hagman, Mary Crosby, and Patrick Duffy, and a classic cliffhanger which signals the imminent departure of Don Murray mark the long-delayed DVD debut of
Knots Landing: The Complete Second Season. The first season set was released in the spring of 2006, but lower-than-expected sales made it seem unlikely that future sets would see the light of day, so kudos to Warner Home Video for giving the unqualified finest of the ’80s primetime soaps a second shot at finding a whole new audience, and for giving the audience the show already had a second shot to enjoy this brilliance anew.

Also noteworthy this week:


  • The Open Door, a companion EP for Death Cab for Cutie‘s best-selling 2008 album Narrow Stairs.


5 responses to “drunk behind the wheel of possibility,
however it may roll
(or: april 14 — a thumbnail sketch)”

  1. the buzz from Sherry Ann:

    Last week you pissed off the claymates, this week it is me who is offended. You know that I LOVE Silversun Pickups! Lazy Eye and Rusted Wheel are absolutely brilliant. How dare you compare them to the Pumpkins dark days?!? Maybe this isn’t their second stab at winning you over, it is a gift to those that appreciate their genius! Oh yeah that’s right it is planet Brandon, we all just live here!!

  2. the buzz from brandon:

    Honey pie, you know I adore you, but to steal a brilliant quote from Morgan Freeman in Lean On Me (which I recently watched for, like, the thousandth time), “This is not a damn democracy.” When you get your own blog at the top of which your own name is perched big and shiny — may I suggest, say, “Sherry Ann’s Plans”? — then the Silversun Pickups can be brilliant and genius and whatever else you decide to call them. But, baby, this is Brandon’s Buzz, and over here, the Pickups are irritating, annoying, and not even terribly bright for their obvious, boldfaced intent to pilfer wholesale moods, textures, and even entire chord structures from that ridiculous doofus Billy Corgan at his utter and inarguable creative nadir. (What would have been wrong with using, say, “Disarm” or even “1979” as a musical template?!)

  3. the buzz from jj:

    SSPU don’t need you. Based on your taste (Veruca Salt??) they would be fools to care about your tiny little ass.

  4. the buzz from jj:

    erm, I meant “fools”. The sentiment is the same. I’m sure you can figure it out, as you seem to be superior.

    Have a nice life in Mom’s basement.

  5. the buzz from brandon:

    I’m gonna take a wild stab and wager that the gang behind Silversun could give a damn what either of us think and/or say about them, jj. So since it’s just you and me and the widgets, forgive me if I take the fact that you cared enough to throw in your own two cents — twice, at that! — as a signal that I’m doing something absolutely right here. A hearty and sincere thanks for that.

    (PS: I corrected your error. Sherry Ann will attest that if there’s one thing I can’t abide — a pale and howlingly awful imitation of bad Smashing Pumpkins crossed with so-so Sneaker Pimps wholly notwithstanding — it’s bad spelling.)