Silversun Pickups, Against Me!, The Henry Clay People

Rabid fans and nit-picky journalists can be a prickly lot—especially when it comes to what is perceived as selling out or simply echoing a rehashed sound from a previous period.

With that, it's rather fitting that Silversun Pickups and Against Me! are touring together.

Against Me! leader Tom Gabel could give a series of lectures on the obsessive double-edged sword of boasting passionate fans. When the Gainesville, Florida, punk band signed to Sire Records prior to the release of their breakthrough LP, New Wave, his band's faithful became vengeful. They professed that aligning with such a vested label was tantamount to indie-punk treason. In actuality, the larger platform did little to abate the venom that gushes from Gable's lyrics. The group's latest offering, White Crosses, continues to castigate various institutions while Gabel's band stretches their power chords with the en vogue Born To Run vibe that has become all the rage these days thanks to bands like Gaslight Anthem.

Los Angeles' Silversun Pickups, meanwhile, yes, sound a lot like Smashing Pumpkins. Hello, elephant. You've been acknowledged; now please scoot out of the way. With their 2009 record, Swoon, Brian Aubert and crew haven't gone out of their way to alter any of the impressions that they aren't exactly an inventive lot. Regardless, by choosing to nurture their catchy, hazy rock that looks to score on the strip, the quartet has bucked a prominent trend where many SoCal acts are interested in merely harmonizing the roof off of their sun-drenched canyon cottages.

Anyway, who ever said you had to be wildly original in order to possess an individual, distinctive identity?

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Kelly Dearmore