Small Steps: Lexington Outfit Straddles Pop-Punk & Melodic Hardcore Line on Debut LP

Photo: Brandon Turner @ Unsung Media

Small Steps straddle the line between '90s-style pop-punk and melodic hardcore. "As a group, we’re unusually well-attuned to each other, our writing styles, and have been able to take our love for punk and hardcore and merge it with pop sensibilities to create some really fun, upbeat, and melodic music with infectious melody and catchy hooks," guitarist Jon Endonino tells No Echo via email.

"Are we punk? Are we hardcore? I don’t really know. Both are a big part of our backgrounds, sensibilities, and approach to music. We have pretty far ranging influences generally, but some bands that influence(d) the music we make in the band are: Hüsker Dü, the Descendents, Gorilla Biscuits, Hot Water Music, Lifetime, Iron Chic, Dag Nasty, Menzingers, Hot Mulligan, and Farside, to name a few."

After inviting drummer Coty into the fold, Small Steps started began working together in late 2022 in their homebase of Lexington, Kentucky after Jon saw a social media posting that guitarist/vocalist Jeremiah posted looking for musicians to form a band. Jon brought in bassist/vocalist Jonathan since the pair had previously played together in hardcore bands Treason and X’d Up Hands. "I thought that he would fit perfectly, like a missing puzzle piece."

In late 2023, Small Steps released their debut album, Breakthroughs/Breakdowns:

"We are very pleased with how the album turned out. [Blind Rage Records co-owner] Gwen [Downing-Groth] has been very supportive and we’re grateful to her for putting out this release. You can order the vinyl version directly from Blind Rage, from us, and it’s available on all streaming platforms.

"We recorded the record with our friend Sam Ridenour at Shy Dog Studios. Sam is super talented, a friend, a super talented musician, and he really captured our sound true to form.

"Lyrically, the songs touch on topics of everyday life. Working dead-end jobs, betrayal of former friends, love, and growing into a better version of you."

Photo:  Josh Richter

No Echo has been there a few times on tour thoroughout the years, but what's up with the so-called Horse Capital of the World these days? "Lexington has an underappreciated but thriving music scene as far as hardcore. We are routinely overshadowed and overlooked considering what’s coming out of another city in Kentucky, but the DIY hardcore, punk, and metal scene is strong here.

"Although much heavier and unapologetically metallic than Small Steps, we have much love and respect for Retribution (Jonathan’s other band!), Age of Panic, Buried Truth, Raptured, Dismal, and Mook on the heavy metallic hardcore side of things. On the punk side of the scene, it was very thriving years ago but is definitely sprouting back. We are hoping that we start a revival of sorts of punk in Lexington alongside our friends The Went Wrongs, Vibrolas, SemperVivi, and Haiku Seppuku.

"But we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention our friends and kindred spirits from Ohio. Ohio has been very good to us and we appreciate our northern neighbors in Red Temple Pray, Lay Low, Suffocate Faster, Saboteur, and No Grave. Although we’re predominantly a regional band, we’re also super grateful for our good friends from Spark of Life coming out and trekking through Appalachia with us. They’re the best people."



Breakthroughs​/​Breakdowns is available now bia Blind Rage Records (vinyl/digital).

Hit the Small Steps Linktree to find all of their social media pages.


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