Spiral Stairs (Scott Kannberg) has been extremely busy since Pavement’s dissolution, running his own label (Amazing Grease) as well as putting out two albums with Preston School Of Industry. The first one, 'All This Sounds Gas,' was everything fans hoped for – an immensely tuneful, memorable album that Mojo called "an album of joyful, desperate and messy songs, as honest and delicious as any on Pavement's 1992 classic, 'Slanted And Enchanted.'"
'Monsoon' continues in the vein of many of Spiral’s classic songs, setting a confident, effortless beat to a literate and mischievous rock sound as informed by Echo and the Bunnymen, the Clean, and the Fall as by Neil Young, Lou Reed, and John Prine. But while 'All This Sounds Gas' was largely an assortment of songs he’d had laying around over time, these songs were written specifically for 'Monsoon', with no baggage or ghosts, and with all the looseness and confidence that suggests.
Each listen reveals a sneaky and brilliant touch that's easily overlooked amid the songs' hummability; Spiral’s abundance of ideas never bogs down the tunes. He gets help from Wilco on "Get Your Crayons Out!" and Scott McCaughey from Young Fresh Fellows and The Minus 5 on "Caught In The Rain" and "Tone It Down." Too $hort is not featured on any of these songs, but he’s an underrated Bay Area legend (just like Spiral) and we wish him nothing but the best.
PSOI will be touring the US throughout March and April, starting with an appearance at San Francisco’s Noise Pop convention on February 28, and including a SXSW appearance March 18. In addition, 'Monsoon' features two excellent videos on the CD, so put the thing in your computer and do click on the thing and watch the thing.
All hail Spiral Stairs!
ReviewsThese are amiable, humane songs given a touch of country decorum by Wilco, who make up his backing band. - Uncut