"I had never learned about myself while making an album, but this was a really intimate experience," Brian Aubert tells SPIN. Check out our exclusive gallery of studio shots.

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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

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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

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Aubert says drummer Christopher Guanlao steals the show on Neck of the Woods. "We really wanted to play with drums as textures. We played around with drums coming in here and there and building atmosphere, which guitars usually do."

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The band took occasional breaks to hop on a skateboard or shoot hoops. "The beautiful thing about recording was Jacknife has this nice house and on the side of it is, I think, a guest house or garage that he turned into a nice studio. It really works for him. He's a mad scientist," Aubert says.

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Though the group grew to hate the commute from L.A., Aubert says they plan to return to the studio soon in a less official capacity. "Jacknife is working on a really big record right now and he called us and said, ‘Can I please meet you guys for a beer? I just really miss you guys.' "

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"I had never learned about myself while making an album, but this was a really intimate experience," Aubert tells SPIN.

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"I'm not going to let the others have all the fun. It's still a rock record," Aubert says. "There's big distorted guitar, but we also explore pretty, dreamy parts."

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"I think records are little time capsules of how you work with different people," he adds.

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Guanlao, kicking back in the studio.

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"Topanga is pretty isolated, especially where Jacknife is. We commuted there 45 minutes every day. You're sitting out there in traffic, it just gets your brain going," Aubert says. "I listened to more music than I had in a long time. Your car is kind like your living room studio."

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"We were in the studio making music, but [Jacknife's] family was there [in the house.] He has two beautiful daughters. We got along with them well. There were rare moments where the kids were playing basketball on the street and we just jumped in on it," Aubert says.

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The band ruled out a string section and instead decided to explore making unconventional sounds with the usual arsenal of instruments. "We love the idea of hearing sounds and we don't know what instrument is making what sound," Aubert says.

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"We wanted to have moments of explosions like we've done in the past, but we didn't want them to carry the whole song," he adds. "There's something a little bit psychotic sounding that we really like and we didn't want to fill it entirely with big guitars."