Many years ago, Scott Kannberg (a.k.a. Pavement guitarist Spiral Stairs) would drive north of his hometown of Stockton, California, to play golf with his father. From the first tee, he could see an imposing castle-like structure known as the Preston School of Industry. "Originally, it was a mining school in the late 1800s/early 1900s, and then they turned it into a reform school in the '30s," says Kannberg. "It's this kind of ominous place for kids who were bad in California. Merle Haggard went there. I think Charles Manson went there. It's abandoned now. I was driving home one day, and I saw this big 'for sale' sign out front, so I made up this song called 'For Sale: The Preston School of Industry.' I had that for a while, but I always thought it would be a good name for a band. I wanted a mysterious band name, where the initials spelled something out. Now I've got it. PSOI. It's perfect."
Kannberg's PSOI, the second post-Pavement project from the remains of the lamented indie superstars, serves up plenty of Pavement-flecked sonics with the addition of a rootsy Americana overlay on its debut, All This Sounds Gas. Kannberg was well aware of Pavement's shadow in his solo work, but the distraction was minimal. "The instrumentation on the record is different than what Pavement would do," he says. "I spent a lot of time on how songs should be more my style. Songs that I wrote in Pavement I would do really quickly, and I did the opposite this time. I spent a lot of time on the lyrics and making sure things sounded right. But there are elements of my style from Pavement in there as well. If I made an electronic album, it would probably sound like Pavement."