Preston School of Industry with Frontier Index and Nassau at the Horseshoe, April 1. Tickets: $10. Attendance: 160. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Preston School Of Industry is not Pavement. But PSI's notoriety is, let's face it, largely a side effect of its hallowed indie rock lineage. Front man Scott Kannberg was the guitarist for Pavement. Kannberg's Pavement days were mostly spent playing Ringo (or at best George) to Stephen Malkmus's John. That in itself doesn't mean anything. Many second fiddles have emerged as geniuses from the ashes of their former outfits. And, but for Malkmus swanning about all over the scene, Kannberg's efforts might seem pretty impressive. As it stands, though, Preston School of Industry is forever stuck playing poor cousin. You get the sense that they know it, too.
By the time PSI hit the Horseshoe stage last Thursday, the medium-sized crowd was already warmed up and waiting to be dazzled. The band didn't drop the ball. Kannberg and his gang of indie talents delivered song after song of pop-glorious nonsense rock. It was a generous set, with lots of chummy banter. The enthusiastic crowd beamed. The only thing missing was something more than just a hook to hang your hat on.
Preston School of Industry are just so much tinsel - glittery and distracting but pointless and light. Drivel lyrics like a mantra'd repetition of "Whale bones" and their deference to a Pavement-era fuzz/scratch sound don't go nearly far enough to keep PSI from sounding like they're threatening to define the sound of MOR for the indie rock generation (or adult alt-contemporary, if you prefer). Accept it or flee from it.
Frontier Index 's novel brand of countrified neo-garage has exactly the inspired quality PSI lack. Between singer/strummer Corey Hernden 's Buddy-Holly-meets-Willie-Nelson vocal stylings, Matt Francis 's sweeping bass lines, Mick Jackson 's Levon Helmesque dual turn singing and drumming and John Hunter 's atmospheric guitar leads, Frontier Index ply the weirdest of familiar sounds. It's a perfect cobbling together of today's influences, the bastard progeny of alt-new country, Lubbock roots rock and Disintegration-era Cure's guitar-induced galactic melancholy. email@example.com