Small Brown Bike - Nail Yourself To The Ground (Cover Artwork)

Small Brown Bike

Small Brown Bike: Nail Yourself To The GroundNail Yourself To The Ground (2003)
No Idea Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: maverickScott
(others by this writer | submit your own)

As the buzz around the band builds, Small Brown Bike continues to tease both fans and critics alike with yet another EP of material before their new full-length, due out this fall. Ironically, the band's career is taking almost the same path as Cursive's, take a look: 1. Put out a few low key al.
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As the buzz around the band builds, Small Brown Bike continues to tease both fans and critics alike with yet another EP of material before their new full-length, due out this fall. Ironically, the band's career is taking almost the same path as Cursive's, take a look:

1. Put out a few low key albums and get an incredibly loyal fanbase.
2. Tour their asses off.
3. Watch the glowing reviews pour in.
4. Watch more and more critics start to take notice, their last album [Dead Reckoning] making many critics' Top 10 of 2001 lists [including mine].
5. Tease people with a split CD and an EP - Cursive did Burst And Bloom and their split CD with Eastern Youth, whereas Small Brown Bike did a split CD with the Casket Lottery and now this EP.
6. Release new album in 2003 and watch the popularity skyrocket. Cursive's already done this, but look for the same to happen to this Michigan quartet when Lookout! puts out their new full-length.

But enough about all of that, you want to know about this EP, here and now. Well, it's a definite sign of maturity in the SBB camp. The songs are more developed musically, Ben's main vocals have caught up with the band's pace, and the whole feel of the group now is one of progression, not stagancy.

"Trains All Talk" is the opening track, and has been kicking around on the internet in demo forms for some time now. This version blows the old one away, with tempo changes scattered throughout the devastatingly heavy drum line. This sets the tone for the next 4 songs, minus one - "So I Fall."

"So I Fall" seems to be a song written strictly for the haters out there who claimed the band was a one trick pony. Like Nirvana went unplugged and shocked the world, Small Brown Bike goes country and shocks... well, not the whole world. Yet. But yes, it's true, the band wrote a country song, complete with slide guitar and all. It's nothing much to write home about in the grand scheme of things, but it's just the fact that a band this intense toned themselves down this much is impressive.

EP closer "A Table For Four" starts out with some guitar noises more akin to Radiohead than Hot Water Music, or any other of the group's contemporaries. This is the final proof I needed to declare the band's "progression over stagnancy" motto official. Sure, the song slides back into more comfortable territory for the band, but every little bit counts.

With this EP, Small Brown Bike has positioned themselves to be one of the major players in the independent scene for years to come. Now, we just wait - either the band will explode all over the scene, or they will implode all over themselves.

I, for one, hope it's the former.

Trains All Talk
Trains All Talk [demo]
So I Fall [demo]


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (August 8, 2003)

I am the biggest SBB fan and just love collections and thier full lengths and even the split with casket lottery, but this EP sucks. These guys toured with Cave In too long and now they sound like typical college rock that uses too many effects.Their songs used to be full of passion and feeling now they are just super boring.

And going country is not maturing, I admit that it's my favorite song on this album but the rest are so bad that it doesn't take much.

Anonymous (August 1, 2003)

that SBB/Casket Lottery record is beyond incredible. If you don't have it, you're dumb. Also, the newest CL record on Second Nature Records is definitly worth your money.

i've loved this band for years, and can't wait for the newest full length.

dignin (July 31, 2003)


Anonymous (July 31, 2003)

Ben Reed (bass player) does the artwork for their albums and some t-shirts.

dignin (July 30, 2003)

does anyone know who does sbb photography for this album cover and some of their t-shirts?

Anonymous (July 29, 2003)

Do yourself a favor and rally againt Manman!

Anonymous (July 29, 2003)

Punk? You kids are wicked stupid!

evildeadalive (July 29, 2003)

This score is for the GI Joe comment. Fucking hilarious.

Anonymous (July 28, 2003)

If you were too stupid to make a poptart why should anyone trust your opinion? They never said they were punk, not once have I heard them refered to as punk. So what are you talking about?

Anonymous (July 28, 2003)

Wow. It's too bad SBB isn't good at being "punk". At least they're amazing musicians. Just not "punk" though. Bummer.

Manman (July 28, 2003)

Small brown bike, nail yourself to the ground. What kind of kid dreams of making their bike nail itself to the ground? Seriously though, these guys should stop gourding themselves off of the public and learn to make real punk music. These guys are about as good at punk as I am at baking. Believe me, I burnt my G.I.Joe in the toaster trying to make a pop-tart from scratch. Do yourself a favor and rally against these guys.

Anonymous (July 28, 2003)

So when SBB gets bigger like Cursive will all you claim you're sick of hearing about them? Yeah, I'm sick of the new wave of Cursive scenesters but this isn't highschool, who gives a shit what a bunch of fucking trendy dipshits are doing. Cursive is doing nothing more than writing good music and unfortunetly attracking some shitheads. But like many trends they'll all move along to the next new thing and Cursive will go on. What I get sick of is stupid SBB sounds like HWM bullshit, that shit is annoying.

Anonymous (July 28, 2003)

So I Fall is an incredibly annoying song. People who like it must be idiots. Seriously. Why do indie rock bands think it's so fucking ingenious to write _A_ country song. Show us you've got some balls and either avoid this new country craze or give us a bunch of country songs, dicks. Show us that it's not just a fad. Like the Timversion. So I guess I'll just have to stick with Merle Haggard and the Byrds (Yeah, the Byrds. Remember when it was cool for rock bands to write country songs? They were better at it than indie rock bands.)

Anonymous (July 28, 2003)

At first listen you see a pretty big resemblance between the 2 bands, but after a while I didn't really notice any similarities. As time goes on SBB have gotten further and further from HWM and I think they're writing better songs than HWM right now. It's no surprise people think it's a rip off but if you even bother to really listen to it, they have a similar post hardcore style but that's about as far as it goes. Even the vocals are different now.

Anonymous (July 28, 2003)

Saying Small Brown Bike is like Hot Water Music is one of the most late-90s, unoriginal comparisons ever! Get over it dude! Times have changed...

Anonymous (July 28, 2003)

"Small Brown Bike = Hot Water Music Jr"

ive never gotten the thousand "there like HWM" references, and not just for SBB. It seems like the catch all generlization, cause besides having layers of thick guitars, i see no comparison, especcially in overall mood and feeling. Its fine to think that, its just usually i halfway see the other side, and I just dont hear HWM in many other bands, eh.



Anonymous (July 28, 2003)

Small Brown Bike = Hot Water Music Jr.

bing_crosby (July 28, 2003)

Actually the intro to 'A Table for Four' sounds more like new Deftones then anything Radiohead would do. This EP is very, very good. Looking forward to the new CD.

-Bing Crosby

dignin (July 27, 2003)

"Did you just say 'psyche'?"


evildeadalive (July 27, 2003)

Goddamnit. My comment just went and created a ton more Cursive comments...

And to the dude below me... Did you just say 'psyche'?

dignin (July 27, 2003)

wait now we have to hate cursive because a lot of people like them, shit why didn't someone tell me. My cursive shirt is now officially going into storage along with my thursday and afi shirts, pysche. SBB is good, but their nothing compared to cursive, their like a poor mans old school HWM.

Anonymous (July 27, 2003)

I want to go buy this but the record store next to my work doesn't have this, pfft.

- Scott
(I just sold a laptop, what did you do?)

Anonymous (July 27, 2003)

SBB is much better than Cursive. But then, that noise my dog makes when i accidently step on her tail is better than Cursive. Still, SBB rules.

Anonymous (July 27, 2003)

Hmmm... No one else has had the guts to go out and say it, so I will:

I'm sick of Cursive. The guy's voice is annoying. I bet you'd eat shit out of his asscrack, too, the way you asses talk about him like he's a genious.


Anonymous (July 27, 2003)

I'm sick of hearing about people sick of hearing about Cursive.

Christ, it's like you're one big army and if you don't say the same thing everyone else says, you're banished from the tree house.

Anonymous (July 26, 2003)

Ok, NOW i'm sick of hearing about Cursive, especially considering this review is of a SBB release, not one from the C-word.

Anonymous (July 26, 2003)

im also kinda sick hearing all the nu-cursive fans raving about this new band they found. but if one band deserves sucsess its cursive, the ugly organ is brilliant and should get all the attention its getting.

anyway, small brown bike is fucking amazing! this ep rocks and i cant wait for the lp.

funkisdead (July 26, 2003)

wyzo got it right.

Anonymous (July 26, 2003)

"Like it or not Cursive is an awesome band. Deal with it pussies."

if i was in a trite hybrid metal emo band, i'd so make that a clever song title for my band.

my only gripe is i liked cursive just fine before ugly organ, and now all the music must be high brow fuckers in the world talk about them like I didn't play them burst and bloom and they shrugged.


Anonymous (July 26, 2003)

I too am sick of hearing about cursive.

My thoughts on this album: It's good, too short of course, and it really makes me interested in hearing what the new lp will sound like. I'd pop in dead reckoning or our own wars before this though. I really need to get some of their older material.


Anonymous (July 25, 2003)

Like it or not Cursive is an awesome band. Deal with it pussies.

Anonymous (July 25, 2003)

"'God fucking damn I'm sick of hearing about Cursive.'

Alright, fine, go listen to something that's not gleefully entertaining, self-mocking, and yet completely clever and surprisingly complex. Cursive IS one of the most talented bands putting shit out right now, there's no way around that.

In other news, this CD kicks ass. But you knew that already."

Cursive may be talented and complex & everything. That doesn't mean that people don't talk about them too much. This is a review of the new Small Brown Bike EP. Not the new cursive album. This review would have been better if the reviewer had concentrated more on the music, and less on the coincidental similarities between the two bands.

By the way, how is two bands doing the same thing ironic? Explain.

Daegan (July 25, 2003)

"God fucking damn I'm sick of hearing about Cursive."

Alright, fine, go listen to something that's not gleefully entertaining, self-mocking, and yet completely clever and surprisingly complex. Cursive IS one of the most talented bands putting shit out right now, there's no way around that.

In other news, this CD kicks ass. But you knew that already.

Anonymous (July 25, 2003)

the new album is amazing, really depressing even for them, but amazing.


Anonymous (July 25, 2003)

"so i fall" is my favorite from this.


flocktothebeat (July 25, 2003)

"God fucking damn I'm sick of hearing about Cursive"

If you throw in bright eyes im with you also.

there cover of under pressure is a good way to start a fucking party.

again mambers of coalesce can do no wrong. all hail the almighty coalesce!!

Anonymous (July 25, 2003)

I love this band... and Cursive. Unfortunately, they, like Cursive, like to play non-all-ages venues when they come where I live, so that blows for me.

Anonymous (July 25, 2003)

'God fucking damn I'm sick of hearing about Cursive.'

I'm with you man.
oh yea and SBB rocks.

Anonymous (July 25, 2003)

The new full length is fucking awesome...the EP is good, but the LP blows it away.

fallingtopieces (July 25, 2003)

with all the talk about cursive you forgot to mention the Small Brown Bike/ Cursive split 7"

ramo (July 25, 2003)

damn you scott you reviewed this befor i had a chance. damn your pugginess!

anyway, here's my 2 cents: this ep heads off around the same direction they did with their split w/ casket lottery. the ep is more personal and more heartfelt that what you regularly expect from SBB. However, they pull it off like no other band can. "Trains All Talk" is a fantastic opener with a dynamic ending. "(Fami)liar to you" is an ode to the "Dead Recokning " sessions with a teaspoon of emo to wash it down. Travis should sing more often. anyway, "So I Fall" is more on the country side. Reminds me of armchair martian except with a better voice. "Table For Four" is their more heartfelt and emotional song from the ep and a long one to boot. don't get me wrong, it rocks. but in this track the band altogether sings/yells showing you unity. Great band, great ep, and if you know what's good for you pick up "the river bed" when it comes out.

(i'm outtie 5000)

evildeadalive (July 25, 2003)

God fucking damn I'm sick of hearing about Cursive.

timis (July 25, 2003)

its funny....because back in the day travis was an awesome singer (back in the LESC days) and mike was so-so....now the tides have turned...i think trav sings horribly now....however the shit is still DAMN GOOD.......

Shagin (July 25, 2003)

I remember hearing the track "Trains All Talk" they made available on their website before the EP was released, and at the end of the song it started building up to the next track and then just stopped. Such a tease.But after finally waiting for the album to reach my doorstep, my thrist was quenched. The next track Fami(liar) to You rocked. And so did the next, and the next, and the next.
Then the teaser track to their full length was posted on the website. Again blown away, i wasn't able to wait all the way until september 9th for the release, so i found the advance (i still plan to buy it).
i don't know why they have to wait so long, it's torture. Either they are trying to milk the EP sales, or Lookout is preparing a big push for the boys.
Anyways, the new album will not disapoint! What I love about these guys is that they aren't afraid to try new things. And how they pack such emotion into such intense songs.- Steve

hungryjoe (July 25, 2003)

I really like the direction they've taken with their sound. Who knew Mike Reed could actually sing? Plus, it sounds to me like Mike's doing his best Jeff Tweedy impression on "So I Fall".

This is also available through Smallman in Canada....they're also releasing the full length.

Anonymous (July 25, 2003)

Awesome band, one of my all time favorites. This EP is really good and I can't wait for the full length. Just thinking about it gets me all hot.

Anonymous (July 25, 2003)

I hope this is better than when I last saw them play live...

timis (July 25, 2003)

i got their new full length, and it is DAMN GOOD

Anonymous (July 25, 2003)


Anonymous (July 25, 2003)


funkisdead (July 25, 2003)

fuck yeah... this band makes me spooge.

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