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Interview: Blurring the punk rock lines with Ohio pop songsmiths The Sidekicks (playing The First Unitarian Church tonight)

the sidekicks smallerHad I heard last years Awkward Breeds LP without knowing anything about the people who created it, I would not have guessed that Columbus, Ohio four-piece The Sidekicks had such strong ties to the punk / hardcore world. The DIY group plays basements and house shows, releases split 7″ singles with bands like Tiger’s Jaw, makes the annual pilgrimage to Gainesville, Florida for Fest, and are generally scuzzy and raw performers. The album, on the other hand – polished production, total hooks, very poppy and infectious, connecting the dots between Weezer, The Replacements and Elvis Costello. (That split actually has a fantastic cover of the latter’s “Angel’s Wanna Wear My Red Shoes.”)

The band is currently on a late summer tour with Philly’s Hop Along – the two were also tourmates this spring on a run of European dates. Tonight they make their way through Philly to play the First Unitarian Church, and I swapped emails with singer-guitarist Steve Ciolek about Columbus, new music and The Sidekicks’ place in the punk rock world.

The Key: Tell me about the Columbus scene. The only other current band I know from there is the folk-ish group Saintseneca, which is also very DIY but with a totally different sound. Is there much cross-pollination between the different DIY players? Does OSU wind up being a hub?

Steve Ciolek: Columbus is great, there’s really a lot of different little scenes depending on what you’re into. But yeah, we definitely have existed more in the house-show DIY scene there until more recently when we’ve been playing a couple clubs and stuff. I’ve been playing with Saintseneca for the past couple years (as have a lot of other Columbus folks intermittently), so you’d be right about the cross-pollination. Our band has also had various players in the underground scene fill in at shows for us (including Saintseneca members actually). It’s pretty awesome how many different bands include members of other bands too. Ryan (Starinsky, bassist) plays in a band called Nasty Habit with the drummer of Tin Armor, and there’s lots of bands that offshoot from the pop punk band Delay, intermingling with all sorts of folks. OSU keeps things fresh and keeps the punk scene from being too samey and jaded. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hop Along / The Sidekicks at The First Unitarian Church, Future Islands at World Café Live Wilm

hop alongIndie rock outfits Hop Along (from Philly) and The Sidekicks (from Columbus, Ohio) play a double header show at The First Unitarian Church tonight. Don’t miss it because Hop Along has two new songs they plan to debut on this tour. Check out show details and get tickets here. Watch The Sidekicks perform “Grace” in their Vegas Stripped Down Session and Hop Along’s video for “Sister Cities” below.

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Watch videos of Waxahatchee at Pitchfork Festival (playing the First Unitarian Church on 9/29)

Photo by Allison Green | Chicago Reader

Last weekend Philly-based indie outfit Waxahatchee appeared at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, and turned in an impressive set. As WXPN’s Robert Drake reported from the festival last week, “Katie Crutchfield, the 24-year-old Alabama–born, Philadelphia–based musician who’s the creative force behind Waxahatchee is OWNING the Blue Stage at ‪#‎pitchforkmusicfest‬!” Today, Pitchfork.tv released two videos from their set. Watch “Peace and Quiet” and “Coast to Coast” below, and get info on Waxahatchee’s Sept. 29 show at the First Unitarian Church with Screaming Females here. (They also play a free show at Morgan’s Pier with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists next Wednesday; details on that here.)

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The Menzingers will kick off their headlining U.S. tour at The Church on 5/24; Restorations opening

Photo by Kenneth Smith | Glass Nail Records

After some plum opening spots on tour with Hot Water Music and The Gaslight Anthem, Philly punk powerhouse The Menzingers are hitting the road on a headlining tour in support of their 2012 LP On the Impossible Past. Like-minded local five-piece Restorations – the subject of this week’s Unlocked showcase – will be one of the support acts for the tour, which kicks off at The First Unitarian Church on May 24th; tickets go on sale this Friday, April 5th via R5 Productions. Below, download Key Studio Sessions performances of The Menzingers’ “Mexican Guitars” and Restorations’ “Non Locality.”

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hospitality at Johnny Brenda’s, Heavy Medical at The First Unitarian Church, Vintage Kicks at Kung Fu Necktie

Brooklyn’s Hospitality perform at Johnny Brenda’s tonight.  Led by Amber Papini, Hospitality are pure indie fun with math-rock subtleties.  Their head-bop-worthy major label debut came out on Merge Records at the start of 2012 and received praise from notable resources ranging from Pitchfork to The Deli NYC. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Conversations With Enemies and Tinmouth can be found here; below, watch Hospitality’s video for “Friends of Friends.”

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Listen to a new Titus Andronicus Track (playing First Unitarian Church 10/23)

Titus Andronicus, who just released the first single from their upcoming record Local Business two weeks ago, have followed it up with “Still Life with Hot Deuce and Silver Platter.” Local Business will be available October 22nd. Catch Titus Andronicus and Ceremony at First Unitarian Church on October 23rd; details here. Watch the new lyrics video for “Still Life” below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Far-Out Fangtooth and Mount Eerie at the First Unitarian Church, Amon Tobin at The Electric Factory, Tygerstrype at Johnny Brenda’s

Philly noisemakers Far-Out Fangtooth have a strong affinity for mood and ambiance, crafting dark pop songs with rattling rock underbellies. It’s music can be as dreamy as it is unsettling, making it a perfect fit with Mount Eerie, which a few albums ago released a song that drew heavily from the theme to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Both bands play the First Unitarian Church tonight; the all-ages show begins at 8 p.m., admission is $12, tickets and information are available here. Below, listen to The Thorns, a 7″ that Far-Out Fangtooth released earlier this year.

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