Silversun Pickups bask in the glow of a top-10 album

Silver Lake’s Silversun Pickups are now in the same league as superstars Miley Cyrus, Rascal Flatts and Lady GaGa -- or at least in the neighborhood. The independent rock quartet has scored its first-ever top-10 album, landing at No. 7 with “Swoon,” which places the fuzzy guitar rockers between Jadakiss and Lady GaGa on the U.S. pop chart.

It just goes to show what a little promotion can do. Saturday marked the second annual Record Store Day, an event established last year by independent music-store operators to encourage consumers to shop at mom-and-pop outlets.

Nielsen SoundScan reported that album sales for the independent retail sector shot up 21% over the previous week, the only retail segment with a boost. By comparison, sales at chain stores fell 14% and big-box mass retailers suffered a 34% decline as foot traffic fell off after the Easter holiday.


As for Silversun Pickups’ 10-song “Swoon,” the CD sold 43,000 copies, for the best sales week of the band’s career. The album’s release, not coincidentally, coincided with Silversun Pickups’ prime slot Friday night at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, appearing just before Paul McCartney on one of the fest’s two outdoor stages.

Performing at Coachella comes with a catch, however, as artists are subjected to “radius clauses,” which prevent them from performing in the Los Angeles market in the weeks preceding and following the three-day concert in Indio. By performing at Coachella, the band was betting on summer festival exposure as having a bigger long-term payoff than returning to the local market.

Early returns show that it’s working. Silversun Pickups’ latest single, “Panic Switch,” has sold 20,000 downloads in one week -- it was not made available before the April 14 release of “Swoon” -- and the song has breached the top 10 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart.

It still has a long way to go to catch up to the act’s breakthrough single, “Lazy Eye,” which has sold more than 433,000 downloads, having received wide exposure in a Volkswagen commercial in 2006.

Silversun Pickups’ album hit the top 10 the same week as the Cyrus soundtrack “Hannah Montana: The Movie” moved into first place. After debuting outside the top spot this month, the album took off once the film hit theaters. In four weeks, the soundtrack has sold 545,000 copies, moving 133,000 copies this week.