Tiny Steps EP
It's all right to hate your friends' bands. It's all right to despise their Wednesday night gigs, to hate forking over $5 of blood money from your shit day job to stand in the back of the room and feel spilled beer soak through your shoes. It's all right to resent driving home half-drunk with ringing ears and cigarette smoke in every pore. It's all right to wake the next day with fingernail grime and splitting headaches. It's all right to hate it. It's all right because sooner or later one of your friends' band will turn out like Tiny Steps. Spinning their six songs of introduction on micro-indie Rhythmitus (a label that was literally born behind the bar at Detroit's Lager House) is like a payoff. There's something about the band's achey harmonies, revved-up backbeats and overdriven hooks. There's something about it that makes all that bullshit worth it.Even though the band has barely been solid for a full year, it could be said that the Tiny Steps EP, the band's debut, is four long years coming. Four years of singer/guitarist Eric Weir blowing through drummers, first dates, and ill-fated indie deals. Four years during which Michael Cianfarani matriculated from Dylan to distortion, bought his first electric guitar and still never saw Italy take the World Cup. Four years during which Ryan Allen watched bands come and go from the drum seat (Red Shirt Brigade) and took the microphone himself (Thunderbirds Are Now!). Four years of bassist Matt Hatch driving half broke-down vans from one bar's pinball machine to the next with a laundry list of Detroit underdogs (the Sights, the Go, etc.). And all this to make a record that amongst the cartoonish backdrop of Detroit's roller coaster rock scene that won't inspire anyone to utter the word 'garage.' It's pop music played by guys who play too loud to be a pop band. In these six songs Tiny Steps tries making sense of the blurry years between 18 and 23 in a testament to lesser lights of pop music - underrated gems like Teenage Fanclub, Sloan and Jason Falkner. And the stories themselves? Rich with lost glances, late nights and relationship hangovers, silly with big riffs and stick-in-your-head sing-a-longs. When you start singing along it becomes impossible not to see things their way - through the dysfunctional guise of too-smart 20-somethings coming up in a too-gone city. Think of the Tiny Steps EP like a guided tour those years and that city. Think of Tiny Steps as some new friends.