Album review: Spiral Stairs, “Doris and The Daggers”

by Jon E. Lynch

Spiral Stairs, “Doris and The Daggers”

Available: Friday March 24, via the Domino Recording Co. in various formats: digital download, compact disc, and standard black vinyl. There are a variety of deluxe vinyl bundles available that include the LP in a signed “to be determined” color, CD, T-shirt, posters, and other ephemera. Also available at your local independent record store. I personally recommend buying it there, wherever there may be.

I had begun to wonder what happened to Scott “Spiral Stairs” Kannberg. The co-founder of iconic ’90s guitar rock band Pavement had been noticeably off my radar. Pavement cohort Stephen Malkmus has a handful of more-than-solid releases with an adept group of musicians known as the Jicks, but S. Stairs has been relative quiet.

The last release under the Spiral Stairs, or any moniker for that matter, was in 2009. Since then, Spiral moved to Brisbane, started a family and began sketching the next album. The record was slated for a week of recording at Seattle’s Orbit Studios when tragedy struck. Longtime friend and drummer Darius Minwalla, who had played on the last album, as well as the Preston School of Industry records, died rather suddenly, just a month before recording. This understandably derailed things, not to mention the existing set of songs. Kelly Stoltz and a bevy of other friends including Justin Peroff and Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene) and Matt Berninger (The National) lent their talents to help cut over 30 tracks that were whittled down to the 10 that made the LP. There is a certain well-worn and familiar tone to the album with Stairs’ guitar style and vocal delivery honed as ever. Hopefully listeners won’t have to wait near as long for the next batch of tunes, especially if they’re this solid.

Recommended for fans of that classic indie sound, Pavement, Preston School of Industry, Guided By Voices, Pixies, or Wire.

Jon E. Lynch[email protected]

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