Preston School of Industry

Full Discography

  • All This Sounds Gas - - 2001-08-28
  • Monsoon - ole-599 - 2004-02-17



February 17, 2004

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!




All This Sounds Gas
August 28, 2001

In 1989, after a mushroom-laden camping trip to the family farm in Montana, Scott Kannberg and a childhood friend record a few songs at Gary Young’s studio/garage in Stockton, CA. Scott borrows $800 from his father and begins pressing up a little record, calling it Slay Tracks. As his friend (mysteriously) disappears with backpack into post-graduation Europe, Scott toils half-heartedly as a clerk/punk-rock-record-buyer at a tiny Stockton record store. The young Kannberg begins to distribute the little record to friends, fanzines and small record labels. He even gives one to his dad. He christens the band Pavement, after a short-lived group he’d started in college, and decides to change his name, at least in print, to Spiral Stairs. 

While meandering through Eastern Europe and Western Asia, spending more than his share of Deutschmarks and speaking indecipherable Farsi to unsuspecting natives, the childhood friend discovers an imported version of Slay Tracks at a record shop in Berlin. Meanwhile, back in the States, Spiral and a new drummer/roommate record more tracks for Pavement. Luckily the childhood friend, Slay Tracks in hand, returns to Stockton in time to lend some vocals to the new tracks, resulting in a second 7" for the humble garage band. Spiral and friend title second release Demolition Plot J-7 as Pavement make the transition from one-off fluke to a bona fide "band." As they say, two down, and many more to go... 

Flash forward eleven years--after adding three band-mates/ friends and losing one stalwart inspiration, and with five albums and many singles under their belt, a tour that barely misses Tanzania, a few college radio hits and a nice legion of loyal fans firmly intact, Pavement quietly disband in the Summer of 2000. Some say there was strife, some say the split was compelled by boredom. Finally and most reasonably, some simply say it’s better to fade away and quit your whining anyway. 

Pre/post Pavement-demise Spiral continues writing music and starts Amazing Grease Records with friends, Ben Lutch and Mike Drake (Oranger, Overwhelming Colorfast). Amazing Grease releases records from the likes of Oranger, Carlos, Sunless Day, Cole Marquis, Aaron Nudelman, and the Moore Brothers. Then, after uncovering a four-track player full of tunes written for Pavement’s last record, Terror Twilight, and armed with an ankle-deep record collection reflecting his punk-rock and post-rock fanaticism, newly and firmly inspired Spiral steps to the mic. Rising from the dust, flack and emotional debris, Spiral decides that the post-Pavement lore has only just begun. Spiral gets intimate with his acoustic and spends early 2000 recording more melodic fucked-up songs than you could twitch your ear at. He aspires to a hum-under-your-breath and tap-your-toes while bobbing-your-head-incessantly-to-the-music sort of sound and decides he may even use two (instead of Pavement’s customary one) takes. He dusts off his Tascam and upgrades his drum-machine with a couple of dried-out coconuts. He decides, "it’s time the music in my head met the sound of an electronic beat." Or was at least put to tape. (Yeah.) 

Now, and with hardly a metallic flutter, his new project Preston School of Industry is born. PSOI taps into Spiral’s enthusiasm for all things Echo and the Bunnymen, Fall, Kinks and Clean--filtered through his Central Valley Americana roots. The results? Spiral puts down over twenty songs and in June 2001 Amazing Grease Records releases a small taste of things to come with Goodbye to the Edge City CDEP and 10" with grand ALBUM to ensue... 

PSOI provides Spiral with the perfect environment and--most importantly--his first opportunity to combine his influences into a full-length release of his own. And with its layers that reveal themselves gradually and its penchant to let things lie, sometimes magically and imperfectly, we find All This Sounds Gas one of the most refreshing and original albums we’ve heard in a long time. 

We all know that Spiral’s songs in Pavement were the anthems (think "Forklift," "Two States," and "Kennel District"), songs whose hooks and heart made them among the most loved of the Pavement canon. And from the first notes of PSOI’s "Whalebones" you’ll know you’re in that old familiar Pavement territory, surrounded by all your favorite guitar licks that threaten to momentarily fall apart just as they arabesque briefly, almost imperceptively. Spiral steps into uncharted territory by adding fluegelhorns and cello, not to mention actually letting us hear his voice. "Whalebones" (along with "Encyclopedic Knowledge of" and "Idea of Fires"--all pilfered from previously-mentioned pre-Terror Twilight recordings) was recorded in the Summer/ Fall of 2000 at Gary Young’s studio--maybe you’ll hear it in the drums. The remainder of the songs were written Spring of 2000 after the last Pavement tour (recorded Winter 2000) and, without trying to sell you on every song, we must say that with "Falling Away" Spiral has created another anthem that could’ve been the Cure’s next great video hit (picture a cliff, a pair of floppy New Balances and a tube of Ruby-Red lipstick). The normally taciturn Spiral even delivers a seven-and-a-half minute rock odyssey that tells the tale of Icarus and Daedulus, who flew too close to the sun. 

The album’s theme, you ask? "California after the rush," we say. Somewhere between the Orange Groves and suburbs, or lying beneath the PCs and Palm Pilots, Spiral questions whether anything (?) is truly lost forever. With "Solitaire" he resuscitates Lou Reed’s classic "Kill Your Sons" through €80s dance floor iconography whilst-while reviving the spirit of post-hip-hop Prince via Moog. Who would’ve thought? He closes the album with the Lennon/Lips collision "Take a Stand." 

Finally, Preston School of Industry--with Andrew Borger (Tom Waits, Moore Bros.) on drums and Jon Erickson (Moore Bros.) on bass plus various talented and inspired Bay Area musicians--sets fire to all of George’s lawn gnomes as Spiral sidesteps all comparisons to previous incarnations to begin building the foundations of a whole new dynasty of his own.

News From The Matablog

Cop a Feel

While we're still about a week away from the October 20th release date of the new Spiral Stairs album "The Real Feel" you can hop over to the ThinkIndie site and stream the album in its entirety right now.

For those who don't know ThinkIndie is a digital music store run by a bunch of real record stores.

Just click HERE

Coming October 20 : Spiral Stairs' 'The Real Feel'


After a pair of albums under the group nom de plume Preston School Of Industry, Pavement co-founder Scott Kannberg, aka Spiral Stairs, makes his bona fide solo debut with an October 20 LP/CD/digital album release of 'The Real Feel' (OLE 858).  Following an extended sojourn in Melbourne, Spiral returned to Seattle rejuvenated at the end of '08, and commenced recording with a collection of pals including members of PSOI, the Posies, guitarist Ian Moore, Gersey, and Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew.  Mixed by the Posies' Jon Auer, this album is by far the most crafted and introspective of Spiral's post-Pavement works.

In the words of associate Parker Gibbs, 'The Real Feel', "has a vibe similar to classic 70's albums by Fleetwood Mac ('Then Play On'), Captain Beefhart ('Safe As Milk'), and guitar god Richard Thompson, not to mention Aussie psych rock icons Died Pretty. Comparisons aside, this is 100% Spiral Stairs rock, the same rock that made Pavement the most influential band of the 90"s (take that Hoobastank!) and the same strange, dischordant, playful and melodic Spiral Stairs rock that your parents loved."

"This is indie rock at its best and brightest," continues Gibbs,  "with Spiral Stairs getting back to the basics that have made him a legend in his own mind and to all of the children willing to enter his home."  And on that somewhat troubling note, we'll add the vinyl edition of 'The Real Feel' features a different running order and a limited edition bonus 7".   Live activity throughout the continent of North America is planned for this Autumn, and we'll surely be letting you know more about that in the days and weeks ahead.

The first track we've seen fit to leak from 'The Real Feel' is "Maltese Terrier" (MP3).  Please note no raccoons were harmed during the making of the album artwork.  Not by us, anyway.

The Return Of Preston School Of Industry

hello there. for quite awhile, all has been quiet on the psoi front... until now! a new record is in the works, hopefully done by the end of spring, a new website (still working on it), and the most exciting of all... we're playing shows again!  we've been asked to support the posies for their 20th anniversary show in seattle may 17th. we're excited, since we still like the posies very much (even if the drummer is a rush fan). we're also playing a bunch of new songs... as well as some old family favorites. if you're up in the northwest, come on down. i've also been asked to be a guest curator for the sled island music fest up in calgary, alberta, canada june 25-28. very excited about this! i've picked a few of my favorite bands, old and new, to play. psoi will also be performing, but what is really gonna be special is that we're doing a collaboration with the lads in broken social scene. most of it will be new material made up just for sled island!  ok, thanks for listening and hopefully see you soon. spiral....

seattle, wa.
psoi/posies 20th anniversary

calgary alberta, canada
sled island festival

Pre-blog News

08/22/06 — Discography Updated 
Preston School Of Industry's discography page has received an extensive overhaul. Check out the changes here, and let us know if we're missing anything. 

09/03/04 — Unreleased track on 'Matador At Fifteen'
The new 'Matador At Fifteen' compilation features the previously unreleased Pablo Wong remix of "Tone It Down," in addition to the previously released "Caught In The Rain."

06/01/04 — On the road, upcoming EP plans
PSOI just completed another string of shows across the North, Midwest and Northwest, including the Sasquatch! Festival at the Gorge. Late April saw some rocking European dates and the release of "Caught In The Rain" as a CDEP through Domino in the UK, including some non album stuff (no word yet from Mark E. Smith about Spiral's version of "Mere Psued Mag Ed", but we're not holding our breath, either).

03/29/04 — Hear the band perform on WFMU
Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 30th, you will be able to hear Preston School Of Industry perform live on WFMU at 1 PM EST. Tune into 91.1 FM in the New York City area, 90.1 FM upstate, or if you're outside the region. The performance should be archived on the station's website for some time after the broadcast.

03/25/04 — Exclusive live album on iTunes

Matador's first Internet Album is Preston School Of Industry's 'Live at the Riviera - Chicago 2003', currently available exclusively on the iTunes Music Store.  

03/10/04 — Small mindedness and thinking big 
The 2nd album from Spiral Stairs' PSOI, 'Monsoon' is out now and the band are making their way across the country in support of this intelligent pop masterpiece. 

There's a couple of small-minded individuals whose names we've already forgotten that insist on viewing Preston School Of Industry solely in the context of Scott's old band (The Tygers of Pan Tang). And that's unfortunate --- I mean, we could give a flying fuck if someone with extremely limited musical range passes on 'Monsoon' because he or she has issues about what sort of person they were in 1995 compared to now. But for the rest of you, the folks capable of appreciating well-crafted, funny and inspiring rock'n'roll with zero artifice, this is a CD that needs to be in your car stereo, iPod, brain, whatever. And speaking of iPods, there's an exclusive batch of PSOI tracks available now from the iTunes Music Store, recorded live at the Rivera Club in Chicago last year.

Preston School of Industry on tour:

Wed - Mar 10 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
Sat - Mar 13 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
Sun - Mar 14 - Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland
Mon - Mar 15 - Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room
Wed - Mar 17 - Norman, OK - Opolis
Thu - Mar 18 - Austin, TX - Schuba's Presents, Yard Dog Art Gallery, 5 PM
Thu - Mar 18 - Austin, TX - La Zona Rosa - Matador Showcase, 10 PM
Sat - Mar 20 - Austin, TX - Urban Outfitters, 3 PM
Sat - Mar 20 - Austin TX - Porchlight Pop Fest, Tillery St. Theater, 5 PM
Sun - Mar 21 - Houston, TX - Rudyard's
Tue - Mar 23 - Atlanta, GA - Echo Lounge
Wed - Mar 24 - Athens, GA - Tasty World
Thu - Mar 25 - Carrboro, NC - Room Four
Fri - Mar 26 - Baltimore, MD - Ottobar
Sat - Mar 27 - Philadelphia, PA - Khyber Pass
Sun - Mar 28 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
Tue - Mar 30 - Cambridge, MA - T.T. The Bear's
Thu - Apr 01 - Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern
Fri - Apr 02 - Detroit, MI - Lager House
Sat - Apr 03 - Chicago, IL - Schuba's

02/24/04 — E-card
We present a Preston School Of Industry e-card for your delectation. Send it to friends, family, and your MoveOn palz.

02/11/04 — 2 new videos posted on site; new tour dates up
You can now stream the brand-new videos for "Caught In The Rain" and "Line It Up" from the music and video page. Also see the tours page for new tour dates: more to be confirmed shortly. 

02/02/04 — 3 videos on the CD, tour info
The new CD/LP 'Monsoon' is coming out next week, with three quicktime videos on the CD version (not 2 as the title sticker says). You can catch Spiral & band at Seattle's Sonic Boom (Ballard store) playing live on the evening of release, Monday, February 17 at 8pm.


In addition to a full US tour starting on March 10, PSOI will be playing the Noise Pop festival in San Francisco on February 29 [not February 28 as previously reported], and they'll be playing live on Seattle's KEXP on March 9. Along with their slot on the Matador gig during SXSW, Preston School Of Industry are playing a free show at Austin's Urban Outfitters (2406 Guadalupe) on Saturday, March 20 at 3pm.

Preston School Of Industry will be touring the US and Canada coast-to-coast in March and April.

01/12/04 — Second MP3 posted 
The second MP3 from 'Monsoon' has been posted; it's called "Caught In The Rain" and is available on the music page

Look for 2 new videos, coming soon on the site. 

11/17/03 — Release date changed
'Monsoon' has been pushed back to February 17th.

11/12/03 — First MP3 posted
The first MP3 from 'Monsoon' has been posted. It's entitled "Get Your Crayons Out" and features some special guests. Download it from the music page.

10/09/03 — The Monsoon is coming...
The new Preston School of Industry record, Monsoon, is completed with a worldwide release date set for January 20th, 2004 (Matador/Domino/Trifekta).

The Furnace Sun
Walk of a Gurl
Caught in the Rain
Line it up
So Many Ways

If the Straits of Magellan should ever run dry
Her Estuary Twang (Warm Medicine)
Escalation breeds Escalation
Get your Crayons Out!
Tone it Down 

Written and produced by Spiral Stairs with valuable assistance from Preston School alum Dan Carr, Chris Heinrich, and Mathew Zeek Harris (not to mention a few surprise special guests), all tracks were recorded and mixed this past summer in sunny Seattle, Washington. Also check the re-launched website with new audio, photos, merch, and upcoming tour dates. 

Meanwhile, a new split single with the Australian band Gersey will be released on October 13th. The record includes a pre-mixed version of the Monsoon track, “Caught in the Rain,” along with Gersey’s, “Roll out the Heartbreaker”. Order now.

CMJ Showcase:
October, 25 Arlene’s Grocery NYC 9pm—21 and over OK*
*(Spiral, playing the part of Will Sargent, joins Kelley Stoltz, Shayde Sartin, and Jon Hofer to cover Echo and the Bunnymen’s classic first record,“Crocodiles,” in its entirety. This is part of the Amazing Grease/Jackpine Social Club night for CMJ. Also appearing are Canoe, Panty Lions, Kelley Stoltz, Sonny Smith, and Oranger.)

Spiral Solo Dates—American Northeast (Opening for the Starlight Mints)
Oct. 26 Middle East Café Cambridge, MA 
Oct. 27 Webster Theatre Hartford, CT
Oct. 28 Asylum Portland, ME

Spiral Solo Dates—Australia (In support of split-single release. Opening for Gersey.)
Nov. 20 The Evelyn, Melbourne 
Nov. 21 The Evelyn, Melbourne 
Nov. 27 The Gaelic Club, Sydney 
Nov. 28 The Great Northern, Byron Bay 
Nov. 29 The Zoo, Brisbane 
Dec. 4 Settlers, Margaret River 
Dec. 5 The Rosemount, Perth 
Dec. 6 The Basement, Fremantle

 — Spiral writes.
"Hello from Seattle. It's cold, but everyone up here keeps saying oh, it's a El Nino year, at least it wont rain that much. I hit the North late September to follow my beautiful wife in her quest to be a lifelong student. Ha, tried the student route once, dropped out instead to follow the Bunnymen, but that's another story altogether. Besides helping out with the wife's homework, I'll be working on a new Preston School of Industry record, which I'm hoping will be done by the end of the year, that's if the drywall in the basement gets finished. Speaking of PSOI, we're all still buzzing from that Wilco tour we recently did. Hopefully it'll translate into something as good for us as that Wilco record is. Hey, maybe we'll get Tweedy to play harmonica on it, that's if he still likes us, especially after my sorry Iggy Pop imitation at the last Wilco show, my naked chest is in no way and will never be as hard as Iggy's. Seriously, I'd like to thank all who bought the record and came to see us this past year. 

"Speaking of my nakedness, you all have to check out the new Pavement Slow Century DVD just released. It has all of the Pavement videos and non-videos on there. Plus there's a 60 minute documentary with lots of cool live footage, interviews, commentary from the band and directors, and of course me getting naked at the West Virginia Lollapalooza. Not to be missed. Speaking of the Pavies and since this is the 10th anniversary of Slanted and Enchanted, Matador Records are releasing a deluxe re-issue cd which includes Slanted, Watery Domestic, singles, b-sides and rarities (an unreleased Spiral song), compilation tracks, a live show from '92 and 2 Peel sessions that were recorded around this time. It all comes in a beautiful 2 cd package with extensive liner notes and photos from the vaults (my garage). Worth it dude. Another thing that's worth it is the new Panty Lions record we just released on Amazing Grease Records. Panty Lions is Ashod and Arianna from the band Earlimart. We put out So Dang Rad a few months ago and it's still sounding good. They even recorded an old Pavie song. SO CHECK IT OUT. Anyway, thanks for listening and I hope to talk to you again when 1. it rains, 2. my basement gets finished, or 3. Wilco ask me to be their permanent bell soloist.


 — Scott Kannberg writes: 
Bon Jour Y'all. We've got more breaking news for all you Preston people. The August 2nd show in CHICAGO with WILCO is now sold out. The tix were gone in 30 seconds we are told. So, if you didn't get your tix you are in luck... they've added a second show the very next night... August 3rd. Check out for ticket info. Please note that there is a Milwaukee show on July 27th as well... sorry, we forgot to list it in the earlier email. And for those who can't make it to Chicago or Milwaukee, PSOI will be playing... with ourselves, not Wilco... at the HIGH DIVE in CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS on Monday, July 22nd. Sorry, it's 19 and over.

 — touring continues with Summer dates accompanying WILCO: following a series of successful UK gigs supporting Wilco, Preston School Of Industry have been invited to supported the Chicago quartet on 2 weeks of US dates this July. Check the tour dates section for more information.

04/26/02 — More tour action, this time from Scott Kannberg and comrades. Following UK dates supporting Wilco, they will be coming to your town or one near it in May and June, all the while keeping a tour diary on their website. Keep your eye on the Matador website for constantly updated tour info as it rolls in. Here’s a message from far away you might be interested in: 

“Tom from Trifekta Records in Melbourne here. I put out PSOI here. Thanks for mentioning their Aussie dates in your newsletter. I’m releasing ‘The Idea of Fires’ as a CD single to co-incide with the tour with b-sides ‘Walls of Grain,’ ‘Suddenly Stable’ and ’Save Our Happiness.’ It comes in a super swish digi pack too. Any chance of you please mentioning the release on your next newsletter?”

Tom, consider it done. 

03/21/02 — Forthcoming dates for your friends and relatives that live in Australia (US and Euro dates next time). 

Thursday 2nd May
Corner Hotel, Melbourne with Gersey & Friendly Injun 
Tickets $28 + b/f available from Corner Hotel, Gaslight, Polyester, Missing Link and credit card sales on 03 9427 9198 

Friday 3rd May
Annandale Hotel, Sydney with Gersey & Rebel Astronauts 
Saturday 4th May
Annandale Hotel, Sydney with Gersey & Ukiyo-e 
Tickets $28 + b/f available from Red Eye and Fish Newtown, 
Annadale - Bar and phone 02 9550 1078 

Sunday 5th May
Zoo, Brisbane with Gersey & Giants of Science 
Tickets $24 + b/f available from Butterbeats, Skinnys & Rockinghorse 

Tuesday 7th May
Enigma, Adelaide with Gersey & Career Girls 
Tickets $24 + b/f available from CIB ticket outlets or phone 08 8232 1484

PSOI can be heard on a new compilation celebrating the best of SF’s ongoing Noise Pop festivals, alongside GBV, Oranger and other popsters-that-bring-the-noise (so to speak). You can find it on the wonderful Amazing Grease label. 

02/12/02 — Preston School of Industry (On a Mission From God)
Scott and Co. have a couple shows upcoming with our good friends Guided By Voices....

March 1 at House of Blues in Anaheim, CA
March 3 at Bimbos 365 in San Francisco, CA

PSOI’s recent webcast from House Of Blues may or may not be archived. If not, you can probably find an excellent Everclear set on the House Of Blues site, or maybe some good pictures of Dan Ackroyd. 

 — House of Blues Webcast
The Preston show from New Orleans last fall will be webcast on the Hosue of Blues website on Jan 23, starting at 3pm Eastern Time. The cast will last for 24 hours. After that they will archive it and it will be available again once that is completed (time frame TBD).

 — All tour dates confirmed
The entire PSOI tour, with support from The Shins, has been confirmed.

 — Preston School Of Industry 
PSOI are currently making new friends in the UK as they play their first shows in that territory. There’s a new, non-album EP coming on Amazing Grease sometime this month, followed by a 7"/CD5 of "Whalebones" on Domino UK. The Matador (U.S./Canada) release of ‘All This Sounds Gas’ (LP/CD) hits the shelves in August. 

Preston School Of Industry — Rumoriffic
We’re very pleased to announce that later in 2001, Matador will be releasing a new full-length album by the Bay Area rock ‘n’ roll band known as the Preston School Of Industry. Those of you who have been lucky enough to catch their recent performances around the US opening for the likes of Mogwai, the White Stripes and others, know better than we do that this band have great songs, charisma and style literally dripping from every pore. Led by Pavement founder Spiral Stairs, PSOI will have a new 10"/CD EP on Spiral’s Amazing Grease label very soon, followed not long afterwards by the Matador full-length.

Music & Video