Mar 6, 2013 10:38 AM WV Sound
Keeping a beat in the Mountain State
WV Native Keeps the Beat for San Francisco’s The Spyrals
After a few cold brews, Elliott Kiger took the advice of a friend and left West Virginia. The Morgantown native held nothing against his home; he just wasn’t content with staying, either. “I wanted to at least try to do something outside of West Virginia,” Elliott says. “Someday I’ll make my way back. It’s home, but it was worth leaving.”
Elliott lives in San Francisco and drums for The Spyrals, a psych-rock band that’s slowly gaining recognition in the indie scene. The band’s sound channels a simpler time. Guitar strings and symbols act as their main tools of expression, and sweet, hypnotic melodies follow. The Spyrals are a little 1960s in tone and identity, and listening would suggest that a San Francisco influence softly swirls around the band’s core, digging up images, sounds, and attitudes of the city’s past.
The Dry House, now 123 Pleasant Street in Morgantown, became Elliott’s hangout throughout high school and college. Many of his friends started bands, and he picked up the guitar to play when he could. Elliott says there’s always been a central punk and hardcore scene in Morgantown, even though he wasn’t necessarily involved with it. Bands like 63 Eyes, Rasta Rafiki, and Pittsburgh’s Rusted Root were more his style, and he found the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center as an epicenter for budding musicians who were interested in aggressively pursuing projects.
He graduated from West Virginia University in 2001 and moved out to the city by the bay for grad school at the University of San Francisco. The move was a bit of an adjustment, but Elliott found it easy to meet other musicians. Craigslist had just become a viable option for hungry artists, which led him to fellow Spyrals members Jeff Lewis and Brandon Wurtz. “There is a level of pretentiousness in San Francisco that didn’t necessarily exist in Morgantown,” Elliott says. “There’s a ‘hipster elite,’ but that’s really a small section of what’s going on here.” There’s something for every musician in San Francisco, according to Elliott, making the city all the more exciting and engrossing.
Elliott hopes to eventually bring the band to Morgantown, but he says it’s too expensive at the moment to fly the act across the country. For now, the Spyrals plan to release a follow up to their self-titled debut soon. You can purchase The Spyrals from the band’s Bandcamp page.
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