The third album from Los Angeles fuzz-rockers Silversun Pickups, Neck of the Woods (due May 8) started with a chance meeting when the band stumbled across Grammy-winning producer Jacknife Lee (R.E.M., U2, Weezer) while recording guest vocals for a Snow Patrol track. But Pickups frontman Brian Aubert is quick to point out that pretty much everything about the album — from producer to studio location — has been serendipitous. "It's bizarre," the affable singer/guitarist tells SPIN, a day after hearing the record in full for the first time. "We can't take credit for any of it. It just accidentally happened."
For one example of a happy accident, Aubert was surprised to discover Lee's home studio was smack in the middle of the Topanga Canyon woods, minutes from where the singer grew up. "I hadn't been back in years," he recalls. "I thought it would be fun to walk down my old street. It was like playing with fire a little bit. So much came back that I had forgotten about and it was a really emotional experience. I just realized this place and the feelings I had are still ingrained in me."
Aubert says the songs sound "like a horror movie," all of them beginning to percolate while he was country-hopping and people-watching during a European vacation. "[2009's] Swoon was more about what I was feeling at that particular time," he says, "whereas with this one, I wanted to see what built me. It was learning why I am the way I am." — Alyssa Noel