Meet the Band: Steve Ciolek (vocals, guitar), Matt Climer (drums), Ryan Starinsky (bass)
Anti-everything: The band started about 10 years ago when Ciolek was a freshman in high school, learning to play guitar with his friends at Padua High School. He met Climer and the two formed the Sidekicks. "[The band] started through our mutual liking of punk rock and wanting to learn covers and writing our own pseudo-political songs you write when you're 15 and starting to go against what your parents teach you," says Ciolek. "That was us having fun and learning to play together." In 2007, the band delivered its full-length debut, So Long, Soggy Dog. "We realized more people than just our friends liked it," says Ciolek. "That made us want to keep doing it. There have been several line-up changes and artistic directional changes. The name is almost arbitrary."
A New Sound: The band has mellowed out some on its new album, the just-released Runners in the Nerved World. "With this record, we thought we were making a pop record," says Ciolek. "We're more aggressive live. I think of it as the way Elvis Costello or the Buzzcocks sounded on record. I never saw them live but they play the songs twice as fast. That's where they become a punk band. I love those records. I love Elvis Costello records. Even the Ramones sound bubbly and poppy in the studio. You see them and they look mean. We're more like indie rock of the '90s. They were pulling from the same pool of influences that we pull from, just '70s and '80s pop and punk rock records like the Replacements and Big Star."
Why You Should Hear Them: With Runners in the Nerved World, the Sidekicks sound more like the indie act Built to Spill than the punk band Green Day as the band trades in snooty vocals and aggressive guitars for mid-tempo melodies. It recorded the album with Phil Ek (Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, Built to Spill and the Shins). "We were up there for 23 days of tracking and then another 10 or so of mixing," says Ciolek. "There were days off lumped in there. It was awesome to spend so much time on it. We had usually been on such a time crunch. This gave us the ability to make sure every single thing sounded great. For the first time, it wasn't just us at the driver's seat. We just played our parts. Phil worried about capturing it. It was stressful from the standpoint that he's a demanding person in terms of the quality level. Our record sounded the way it did after we tracked it. It's not like he doctored it up. It's more of an old-school approach."
Where You Can Hear Them: sidekicksohio.tumblr.com.
Where You Can See Them: The Sidekicks perform with All Dogs, LVL Up and Heart Attack Man at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 30, at the Grog Shop.