This is the band formed by former Pavement
guitarist and occasional vocalist Scott Kannberg (aka Spiral Stairs) after Pavement's demise at the end of the '90s, consisting of bassist Jon Erickson and drummer Andrew Borger alongside Mr Stairs himself.
After their formation, PSOI quickly released a debut EP and album and toured as far afield as Australia. Since then they have been keeping quiet but a new record is at least half-planned.
While Kannberg's former bandmate Stephen Malkmus
, with his band the Jicks
, recorded a debut album
that sounded pretty much like a Pavement record except more polished and less uptight, Preston School of Industry take the opposite approach and veer wildly between styles - punk
, even a foray into hip-hop.
OK, so that's a total lie. There is nothing in PSOI's songs so far that fans won't recognise from Kannberg's earlier contributions to Pavement - the low-key, almost bemused approach to performance; the earnest vocals; the off-centre lyrics ("I'm hoping you would pass the test / Thousand bricks, that's all that's left"); the country influence that never quite makes it into country.
The difference between PSOI-Kannberg and Pavement-Kannberg is one of scale, not style. Having been the secondary songwriter in his previous band for ten years (with no songs of his appearing on their final album, Terror Twilight), he understandably exerts more of his own personality on these records than he did on Pavement's. Preston School of Industry are not here to push back the frontiers of music, but they do make some pretty (good) tunes.
"Goodbye to the Edge City", "Falling Away" and "Monkey Heart and the Horses' Leg" are affecting little indie songs Kannberg could have written for Pavement, while other tracks ("A Treasure @ Silver Bank", "Where You Gonna Go?") introduce instruments (e.g. steel guitar, flügel horn) that he never got the chance to use in his old band. Kannberg's Pavement songs were mostly short and tightly-contained; with PSOI the tracks get longer and more adventurous, peaking with the eight-minute "Encyclopedic Knowledge of".
In case you were wondering, the name refers to a reform school in Kannberg's native California; if you're really indie, you spell it prestonschooLOFIndustry.
Bands in the family: Pavement