Best Drop (Rock Edition): Silversun Pickups
DJs didn't invent the drop, they just made it less messy. Leave it to L.A. shoegaze/indie-rock holdouts Silversun Pickups to vehemently drive that home via songs like "The Pit," where big swaths of cool sonics – steady rhythm, chilly synths, sustained guitar hits – suddenly exploded in fiery frays of shred, pound, crash and shout. The source of those controlled blasts was leading man Brian Aubert, whose fleet-but-beastly fretwork was central, and whose voice existed at two poles with precious little gradation between: from the high, genderless wisp that's earned him so many comparisons to Billy Corgan, to the Jeremy Enigk-like screech he unleashed at the end of "The Royal We." The crew's loud-quiet mastery owed as much to Nikki Monninger's meaty bass lines, drummer Chris Guanlao's steady hand (and flying hair) and Joe Lester's mad scientist sound manipulations. You don't get to groove and rip like a krautrock band – as they did on "Panic Switch" – without being almost psychically in sync.