Pavement Founder Spiral Stairs Returns with Doris and the Daggers
“It’s rare that you put on a record and it already feels like a classic.” Hit ****1/2
“…following 2009’s The Real Feel, Kannberg relocated to Brisbane and the Antipodean air clearly infused his work with a fresh perspective… it’s been a long journey, but Spiral Stairs has finally found his voice.” Mojo ****
“Backed by members of The National, Broken Social Scene, Oranger, and singer/songwriter Kelley Stoltz, the album patiently navigates middle age’s ups and downs, setting aside sprawl and fantasia aside to focus on succinctness and autobiography.” Pitchfork
It’s been a long time between drinks for Spiral Stairs – aka Scott Kannberg – the founding member of seminal ‘90s indie rock legends Pavement, whose brand new solo album Doris & The Daggers is his first new batch of music in over seven years.
During that time he participated in the vaunted 2010 Pavement world reunion tour and then spent a few years residing in Queensland, Australia having married an Aussie girl, before eventually relocating to the Northern Hemisphere to conduct work on the new project. And while the sonically lush Doris & The Daggers is an intensely personal listen – covering topics such as the loss of close friends and the wonders of starting a family – this time spent in Australia shines through on the album, whether indirectly in inflections of bands such as The Go-Betweens or more overtly such as in Melbourne paean Trams (Stole My Love).
And the limited edition Australian version of Doris & The Daggers – which comes out on March 24 through Brisbane indie Coolin’ By Sound – has even more of an Aussie flavour, arriving on St Kilda coloured vinyl (the AFL team Spiral has followed for years through good times and bad) and containing a bonus seven-inch single containing two songs written about his time spent in Australia’s Deep North, Pig City and Vultures Of Caboolture.
Some high profile friends helped put the album together – Matt Berninger (The National) and Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene) provide backing vocals and his good friend Kelley Stoltz aided with arrangements and added some guitar parts – but it’s that idiosyncratic Spiral Stairs worldview which shines through.
It’s a worldly and well-overdue return from one of indie rock’s shining lights, welcome Spiral Stairs back into your life with open arms as you embrace Doris & The Daggers.
Doris & The Daggers out through Coolin’ By Sound on March 24, 2017. Buy Now
Thigh Master Release Debut Album
“With the album’s majority — Ford’s angst-edged cynicism undercutting the catchy-as-f**k and perfectly unpretentious sharehouse guitar-pop” Rolling Stone Australia
“what shines through is surprisingly canny, intimately droll, and some of the most quintessentially Brisbane sounds on offer.” The Music
After years of toil building their reputation on the local and national scene, Brisbane guitar outfit Thigh Master are finally dropping their debut album Early Times this October though Brisbane label Coolin’ By Sounds, and are embarking on an extensive album launch tour to celebrate the occasion!
As the name suggests Early Times represents a sonic snapshot of a formative stage of the Thigh Master career arc, some songs pre-dating the band’s formation in mid-2012 and others written in the their first year of its existence when still a trio, current members Matthew Ford (guitar/vocals) and Patrick Byron (drums) then augmented by Ford’s brother Daniel on bass (Black Vacation).
The job of recording the batch of songs that the band had accumulated at this juncture was afforded to Blank Realm guitarist Luke Walsh, the band working around his schedule and recording wherever Walsh’s mobile set-up was found at the time. Laying down their parts in various rehearsal spaces (such as the much-missed Hangar) and share houses, the bulk of the album was tracked in late-2013. Some new songs were added to the mix shortly after second guitarist Dusty Anastassiou (Dag) joined the Thigh Master ranks in 2014, and he added his parts to most of Early Times’ original tracks as well, with Matthew adding further vocals and guitar overdubs in dribs and drabs until early-2016 when the project finally reached completion.
The result is a surprisingly cohesive collection of angsty, sun-dappled guitar-pop, the songs on Early Times urgent and hook-laden and etching their way into the listener’s consciousness with effortless abandon. Early outings have already gained solid traction, with lead single Company topping the Amrap Metro Chart for four weeks running and follow-up radio track Canned Opening sitting atop 4ZZZ’s Top 20 for a fortnight in September.
Of course Thigh Master had plenty of runs on the board before these recent achievements, having sold out the entire runs of their early singles Head Of The Witch (2014) and Songs To Wipe Your Mouth To (2015), toured Japan (including sold out headlining shows) and shared stages with friends The Clean, Guitar Wolf, Courtney Barnett, Ty Segall, Ariel Pink, Real Estate, The Coathangers and many more, as well as being selected to showcase at the 2016 BIGSOUND Festival.
And with Ford and Byron now joined by guitarist Innez Tulloch (Deafcult, Feathers, Roku Music) – who added parts to Canned Opening on the album – and bassist Hayden Knight in what has become the band’s most stable line-up to date, Thigh Master are embarking on a national album tour to celebrate the release of Early Times. The run will find them taking in Nambour, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, and sharing stages with a great assortment of like-minded Aussie bands including The Ocean Party, Wireheads, Lower Plenty, Tralala Blip, Dead Farmers and Martyr Privates.
This long-lauded live band now has a killer album to call their own, grab a copy of Thigh Master’s Early Times and then catch them in the flesh this October.
Early Times is available October 7 through Coolin’ By Sound Records (Australia & NZ)
Shrapnel Release Debut Album
Fresh from releasing their brand new single Another Year to radio a couple of weeks back, Sydney dream weavers Shrapnel now deliver the song’s film clip with little fuss nor fanfare. Filmed by frontman Sam Wilkinson in the streets around Sydney suburb Dulwich Hill on a budget of exactly zero dollars, it features the five members of the band (plus their good mate Shaun Donovan from Black Springs, who also played some guitar on the album) resolutely having a laugh as they wholeheartedly embrace the notion of absurdity.
Shrapnel burst into life a couple of years ago as the bedroom project of Wilkinson (Day Ravies, Mope City, Beef Jerk) but soon morphed into a full-blown band with the addition of like-minded souls from both his old projects as well as fellow indie outfits such as Miners, Weak Boys, Dollar Bar and Julia Why?, and will soon raise their profile exponentially with both the release of their thrilling opening gambit Tranceplanetsugarmouth (released on Brisbane label Coolin’ By Sound in October) and the accompanying national tour later in the year.
For now, however, you can catch the Shrapnel single launch shows – for Another Year – in Brisbane and Sydney in the coming weeks.
Tranceplanetsugarmouth out October 2016 through Coolin’ By Sound Records.