bestnom1000x50

Stepping up

Sorry, somehow we didn’t get the memo on the Stairs. But when we find the jackass who left us off the list, he’s getting a beatdown. A Dedham art-pop band that got a cable-access grant to finance its Yoshimi/Alien Lanes/Dusk at Cubist Castle-style pet sounds, pulled its own Pussy Galore by covering Silver Jews’ The Natural Bridge in its entirety, and released a free EP on the Web last year, they’re about to release On Sleep Lab (Access to Visions), quite simply and by a large margin the best local indie-pop album of the year. It’s also the Stairs’ swan song, since they’ll going off to grad school in the fall. Trying to describe this all-over-the-mapsterpiece would be as misleading as the blind man who feels up the Elephant Six, but suffice to say that the bitterness in “We’re So Underground We’re Practically in Japan” and “This Town Let Me Down” is definitely earned if they’ve been this good all along. And that they’ve still got enough of a sense of humor to lead the thing off with a song called “Don’t Abandon Your Band” is pretty glorious. With Ho-Ag, Aaron Perrino, and Morex Optimo at Great Scott.

The Stairs, "Escape Clause" (mp3)
The Stairs, "These Damn Hands" (mp3)
The Stairs, "Smoking Armada" (mp3)
The Stairs, "The Frontier Index" (mp3, Silver Jews cover)
Ho-Ag, "Golden All Night" (mp3)
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