Contest: Win Tickets to The Sidekicks In Toronto

The sidekicksTomorrow night, February 3rd, recent Epitaph Records signees The Sidekicks will be taking the stage at Sneaky Dees in Toronto, Ontario. Joining them will be Wayfarer, LVL UP and Liver.

Epitaph Records has been nice enough to give two lucky readers a pair of tickets to the show. Fill out the form below.,

The Sidekicks are currently touring in support of their critically acclaimed and recently released Epitaph debut, Runners in the Nerved World.

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Video: The Sidekicks – ‘Everything in Twos’

The SidekicksOhio alt-punks The Sidekicks have posted a video for their track, Everything in Twos. The song is taken from their just released full length (via Epitaph Records)Runners in the Nerved World (check out our review) which can also be streamed in it’s entirety, here

Check out the video below.

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The sidekicks runners in the nerved world cover art

The Sidekicks

Runners In The Nerved World

Epitaph Records

Rating: 4/5




Dayton, Ohio fun punks The Sidekicks have received one of the highest honours in the punk community: signing with Epitaph Records.  The jump came after three well-received outings through Red Scare Industries, from which the ambitious trio earned a reputation for challenging and expanding upon their sound with each subsequent release.  The pathway winding through each milestone leads listeners along the natural next step that is Runners In The Nerved World

Oddly enough though, landing in their new home isn’t without a dose of irony.  A perpetual underdog, the band has long since outgrown their ‘punk’ tag despite joining one of the punkest legacy labels of the past thirty years.  This isn’t an abandonment story of rushing into the mainstream, but rather one of the most successful coming of age stories since Against Me!.  If The Sidekicks had been trying on jackets for the past six years, then they would finally be heading to the checkout with a perfect fit.  Runners In The Nerved World now defines The Sidekicks as one the premiere 90’s alt rock revivalists.   

Experiencing The Sidekicks’ present incarnation is like sitting on a pebbly, overcast west-coast beach, looking upon a familiar childhood landscape for one last time.  The reality of departure hasn’t yet sunk in and the memories remain vivid.  There’s an overwhelming insight into life’s magnanimous scope for even the simplest of experiences.  Put less abstract, The Sidekicks come from a place of warmth and comfort, having smoothed over their sharper hooks in favour of a subtler, more intricate approach.  It’s the natural progression coming off of Awkward Breeds, drawing further inspiration from the Band Of Horses and Fleet Foxes school of indie.  In accordance, Steve Ciolek’s vocals are spot on this time around, having ironed out his previously nasally character in favour of a delightfully understated delivery that lives a full life amidst rich composition.  From high flung falsetto to graceful mid-tone harmonies, there’s little doubt that this is what Ciolek has been striving for all along.

As for the individual songs, Runners In The Nerved adheres to an overarching continuity.  Songs skirt defining themselves singularly through an applied unity.  It’s a long standing approach for The Sidekicks, but shines through like never before.  The album ebbs and flows between artful mid-tempo tunes “Jesus Christ Supermalls” and the playful bounce of “Everything In Twos” and “Blissfield, MI.”  Fans fearing the loss of the punk spirit from their early years should sleep easy during such uptempo shifts, although they shouldn’t be confused for the norm.  That honour is kept for the likes of the self-referencing, soul-warming highpoint, “The Kid Who Broke His Wrist.”  Like hovering chilled fingertips over cooling embers, the emanating warmth just feels so right.  

The Sidekicks compound success in their endeavours with mature lyricism.  Lively passages embrace symbolism as much as they project imagery.  For instance, Ciolek calls out, “call me deer, if I’m the one in the headlights, you’re on the side of the road,” smartly embracing the phonetic dual-meaning of track title, “Deer.”  Definitely geared for a more experienced audience, tracks like “Satellite Words And Me” speak to aging hipsters and punks that may be “feeling obsolete” in a world of rapidly progressing digital trends.   

The Sidekicks’ fourth outing furthers Epitaph’s reputation for taking some of the most humble punk bands and propelling them to their next big step (see: The Menzingers, Off With Their HeadsJoyce Manor).  Truthfully, the album is more successful than perhaps articulated above, and dances with overlapping genres that the band’s traditional audience wouldn’t necessarily seek out.  But Runners In The Nerved World is an eye-opening gateway for longtime fans to pass through, and one well worth celebrating as The Sidekicks’ mid-career rebirth.

The Sidekicks ‘Runners in the Nerved World’ Full Album Stream

The SidekicksAhead of the release of their new record, Runners In The Nerved World, Ohio punk band The Sidekicks are streaming the album in it’s entirety via Stereogum. The record will be the band’s debut for new label, Epitaph Records and it is due to drop on January 20th.

Check out the cover art and track list for Runners In The Nerved World below.

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The Sidekicks Full Album Stream

sidekicksColumbus, Ohio indie act The Sidekicks has premiered a full stream of their Epitaph Records debut, Runners in the Nerved World, which is due out on January 20, 2015.  The album was produced by Phil Ek (Band of HorsesFleet FoxesBuilt to Spill, and The Shins) in Seattle, WA.

Listen to the disc here courtesy Stereogum. 

Video: The Sidekicks – Summer Brings You Closer to Satan

sidekicksColumbus, Ohio indie act The Sidekicks has premiered a new music video.  The video features the song “Summer Brings You Closer to Satan” and will appear on their Epitaph Records debut, Runners in the Nerved World, which is due out on January 20, 2015.  The album was produced by Phil Ek (Band of HorsesFleet FoxesBuilt to Spill, and The Shins) in Seattle, WA.

Watch the video below. 

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The Sidekicks Discuss New Album; Reveal New Guitarist And Hint At Australian Tour

sidekicksOhio band The Sidekicks will release their new album Runners In The Nerved World on January 20, 2015. Australian podcast Jackknife caught up with the band’s singer/guitarist Steve Ciolek to get the inside word on the album.

It sounds like the most complete and well executed of all our albums… Awkward Breeds was about capturing us live in the studio, whereas with this album we were totally committed to making every single piece sound as good as it possibly could.”

Now signed to Epitaph Records, the band were afforded the luxury of working with producer Phil Ek (Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, Built to Spill) over six weeks in a Seattle studio, and it shows, particularly in the vocal department.

“The vocals were the most important part of this record… We wanted to make it like a pop record. That’s how all those old 70s pop records are. The vocals are way up front. You can hear exactly what they’re singing and exactly what the harmony is.”

Ciolek also reveals the band’s new guitarist, discusses how his relationship with Epitaph Records grew through his involvement with his other band Saintseneca, and hints at an Australian tour for September 2015.

Video: The Sidekicks – Jesus Christ Supermalls

sidekicksColumbus, Ohio indie act The Sidekicks has premiered a new music video.  The video features the song “Jesus Christ Supermalls” and will appear on their Epitaph Records debut, Runners in the Nerved World, which is due out on January 20, 2015.  The album was produced by Phil Ek (Band of HorsesFleet FoxesBuilt to Spill, and The Shins) in Seattle, WA.

Watch the video below.

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The Sidekicks Join Epitaph Records

sidekicksColumbus, Ohio indie act The Sidekicks has signed on with Epitaph Records.  The band will release a new album entitled Runners in the Nerved World on January 20, 2014.  The album was produced by Phil Ek (Band of HorsesFleet FoxesBuilt to Spill, and The Shins) in Seattle, WA.  Vocalist and guitarist Steve Ciolek comments on what to expect:

“At its core, Runners in the Nerved World is about getting past the excitement of growing up and finding new ways to simulate that movement… The point the record is supposed to make is that it’s often pretty arbitrary how that movement is simulated. Regardless of the situation, inevitably the characters in these songs just get stuck in those cycles. The record tries to deconstruct that inertia–that constant motivation to run.”

The first single, “Deer,” can be heard here. Pre-orders are now live.

Tours: The Sidekicks / Sundials / Dowsing

sidekicksOhio indie rockers The Sidekicks have announced that they will be embarking on a headlining tour this summer. The tour runs July 31st to August 24th and features support from Richmond, VA’s Sundials and Chicago, IL’s Dowsing.  The band released Awkward Breeds back in 2012 on Red Scare Industries.

Tour dates are below.

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Tour: Against Me!

Against Me!Gainsville, Fl punks Against Me! are heading out on the road for a series of dates across the US at the end of this month. The group are supporting the release of their upcoming full length Transgender Dysphoria Blues.

 The album, the band’s sixth, is due for release on January 21st via their own Total Treble Label. Just recently, they released a stream of FUCKMYLIFE666, which can be streamed here. 

Support on all dates will come from Cleveland punks The Sidekicks and Brooklyn politico punks The Shondes.

Full tour dates can be found below:

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The Sidekicks - So Long Soggy Dog

The Sidekicks

So Long Soggy Dog

Red Scare Industries

Rating: 3.5/5




The Sidekicks are going to blow up. I can see it now. They won’t make it into the mainstream and be splattered all over the radio – but that’s a good thing – instead they’ll be everyone’s favorite underground punk rock band. The explosion is really quite inevitable. Their debut, So Long Soggy Dog, is on a growing and highly respected independent label, Red Scare Industries. They are Brendan Kelly (The Lawrence Arms) current favorite band, he actually wrote their bio, so I’m sure he’ll be dropping their name every chance he gets. Oh, and the fact that So Long Soggy Dog is actually a damn good CD could help a bit too.

While not extremely innovative at its foundation, The Sidekicks‘ debut doesn’t need to be because it is, as Kelly so beautiful put it, fist-pumpingly, finger-pointingly kick ass. So Long Soggy Dog is eleven tracks of energetic, nasally, pop-punk in the vein of the classic Fat Wreck sound but with snottier edge to it. It sounds like the Re-inventing Axl Rose era Against Me! with a dash of Hot Water Musicintensity and grumbling vocals mixed in. A few of the songs have a more slowed down country vibe to them like Lucero but for the most part they just rip into every song with fist-pumping energy. Gang vocals are screamed out, power chords galore and driving drum beats, The Sidekicks deliver song after song of pop-punk goodness and once word picks up about them they will explode.

That’s not to say the record is life changing or perfect as there are a few areas that they could improve on. First is the sound quality as the record sounds somewhat muffled at times and you get the sense that the album would be better with a rawer edge and more distinct mixing. As it is, the sound sometimes sounds somewhat flat in a wall of sound void of a certain crispness that is hiding in the mix waiting to break out. Even though the album takes a slight knock because of it, it really elevates the excitement to hear the songs live.

The other obvious nit pick is the lack of diversity within the album; and at first glance that can hinder the enjoyment of the record but play it a few more times and the record starts to sink in. The gruff vocals stand out in Wife Swap > Sled Riding. The slower, softer “Chips Bring A Party Down” really cements the early AM! feel and the country twang sounds like The Lawrence Arms’ Warped Summer Extravaganza. They end it all with an acoustic ditty padded out with a soothing cello melody with Steve Smith, Coal Miner JR. On Tomboioi everything comes together for an explosive track that highlights not only the musical skill possessed by the quartet but also brings the lyrics into the limelight for the very first time which gets you flipping through the booklet to look at the rest of the words that were previously screamed at you.

It soon becomes clear that the lyrics are equally as impressive as the explosive sound and they become yet another point for why they will soon be “the next big thing”. “If I stand tall up on this platform and I scream out all my lungs, if I can reach anyone in anyplace, will that mean my work is done? If I can find something worth dying for or feel like dying from what I’ve become, will I finally find contentment? Will this mean anything at all?” is just a sample of the lyrics that adorn this record. Lyrics that constantly see them reaching out for something more, questioning the things around them, looking for some meaning and learning from failures.

So no, you may not know who The Sidekicks are right now, but you should and soon enough you will. So Long Soggy Dog is currently sitting at a mark of 3.5 but its very close to being a flat out 4; check it out so you can say you knew them before they were big.

The Sidekicks - Awkward Breeds

The Sidekicks

Awkward Breeds

Red Scare Industries

Rating: 3.5/5




I’ll never be able to scrub MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular from my mind entirely, and I suspect I’m not that album’s only permanent victim. As such the boldness of The Sidekicks’ Awkward Breeds, which begins with a sound clip similar to that of “Kids,” can’t be overstated. This is a gem of a sophomore-with-honors album such as Red Scare is becoming known for, and a powerful showing for a band carving out miles of new territory.

DMT” introduces a string of pop-punk victories held together by steady, driving beats that, say what one will of the early-90s infrastructure, have just as much in common with the kind of rich, playful rock sound that took echo the Black Keys’ strongest early moments. Aside from that the two groups are of different lyrical species and most of this album is rumination on mortality and mildly allegorical renderings of girl problems that call on a mid-career Say Anything.

The brakes come down in the delicate “1940s Jet Fighter,” that pouts like Brand New at their most pop, before settling into a strong rhythm that crescendos back to the heights akin to the album’s best, “Incandescent Days.” The recurrent use of the sounds of children doesn’t show up often enough to establish a strong theme to the album, but its tonal cohesion gives it strength beyond its subject matter.

Rumor has it this band has been performing together since high school and each track’s careful unity is emblematic of this bond. Singer Steve Ciolek’s style puts him in a context leading from Smoking Popesback to Weezer, with a focus on subject matter plainly referential to the latter but often wholly of its own, assembled with a straight rock sensibility that is the album’s lasting impact. “1940’s Fighter Jet” and ”Looker” both push Ciolek’s voice slightly beyond the register it was meant to inhabit, but on neither track does Sidekicks lose focus of its core strengths.

Awkward Breeds is anything but. It’s a strong, confident offering in a strain of punk that has  done very well over the past couple of years and has reinvigorated a genre often populated by pop bands going punk, not vice versa. The Sidekicks have laid the foundations of an exciting concept and with a little studio time could produce the next Giant Orange.

The Sidekicks / Hop Along / The Gaslight Anthem

TheSidekicksOhio’s own The Sidekicks have announced a that they will be kicking off a tour with Philadelphia’s Hop Along late this August. The and will also serve as an opening act for select dates with New Jersey’s much loved The Gaslight Anthem starting September 6th.  The band continues to support their latest full length, Awkward Breeds.

Full tour listings can be found below.

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Say Anything Announces 2012 Tour (U.S.)

Say AnythingSay Anything has announced the full U.S. ‘Say Anarchy Fall 2012’ tour, with support from Murder By Death, The Sidekicks, and Tallhart. The tour will kick off on October 4, 2012. In March, Say Anything released Anarchy, My Dear, their fourth studio album, which debuted at No. 17 on the Billboard Current Top 200 – the band’s best charting record to date. The album was recorded in Brooklyn, NY, with producer Tim O’Heir (Sebadoh, Superdrag).

Frontman Max Bemis has also announced that Song Shop will be opening again, at midnight (CT) on the early morning of August 15, 2012. Additional details about the process, price and mailing list info can be found HERE.

A limited number of Say Anything‘s advance pre-sale tickets are available exclusively through Ducat King, HERE. Premium bundle packages are also available, which include an exclusive t-shirt and silkscreen poster, a concert ticket and, in select markets, a meet and greet with the band on the day of the show. Tour dates can be found below.

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Tours: Say Anything / Murder By Death / Tallhart / The Sidekicks

Say AnythingSay Anything has announced tour details for their upcoming ‘Say Anarchy Fall 2012’ tour.  The band will be touring alongside Murder By Death, Tallhart, and The Sidekicks for the month of October.  Say Anything continues to support their fourth full length, Anarchy, My Dear, released this past march via Equal Vision Records.

Tour dates can be found below.

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Tours: The Sidekicks / Delay / Spraynard

Indie punkers The Sidekicks have announced that they will be hitting the road for a June tour kicking off in late May.  Delay and Spraynard will accompany them on most dates.  The Sidekicks released their third full length, Awkward Breeds, earlier this year on Red Scare Records.

Full listings can be found below.

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Video: The Sidekicks – Stripped Down Session

The Sidekicks are the latest band to appear on the Punks in Vegas Stripped Down Sessions.

Filmed on location at a train station in Pomona, CA, the band performed two songs: “Looker” and “Grace;” both of which are found on the band’s latest LP “Awkward Breeds,” out now on Red Scare Industries.

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Video: The Sidekicks – Baby, Baby

The Sidekicks have debuted a brand new music video.  The video features the song “Grace” and is from their freshly dropped full length, Awkward Breeds, released last month via Red Scare Industries.

Watch the video below.

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The Sidekicks – Grace

The Sidekicks have debuted a brand new song.  The track is titled “Grace” and is from their freshly dropped EP and upcoming full length, Awkward Breeds, which will be available as of February 21, 2012 via Red Scare Industries.

Give the tune a listen here courtesy AltPress.

The Sidekicks Announce New Full Length

The Sidekicks have announced that they will be releasing a new album in the coming months.  The album is titled Awkward Breeds and is due out February 21, 2012 on Red Scare Industries with a preview EP due out January 17th.  

The album follows Weight Of The Air, which was released back in 2009.

Weight Of The Sidekicks

Those looking to add to their material processions can enter a contest hosted by punk record label Red Scare Industries.  The contest is an interesting one, with the label asking participants to submit their best guess at the cumulative weight of Cleveland Ohio pop punk outfit The Sidekicks.  The band consists of four members ranging from husky to meek, so an accurate guess should push one to the edge of mathematical reason.

Winners will receive copies of all The Sidekick‘s releases, including their most recent release, Weight Of Air.  Those looking to enter the contest can find additional details here.