Small Reactions
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Small Reactions

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Indie




"Atlanta's 10 Best Albums of 2014"

Rife with distortion, alluring intensity, and disarmingly catchy choruses, Small Reactions' Similar Phantoms rides a raucous groove that speaks to the finest points of indie rock. It's a fascinating and promising debut by a still-young quartet. — BP - Creative Loafing Atlanta

"Small Reactions 7" Release Show"

Small Reactions recently had a show at 529 to celebrate the release of their 7" featuring the songs Cult Here Jonathan Lewin and Fat Zebra. I had never seen them live and had a feeling based on the 7" that it was going to be an amazing live show. Needless to say, it was stunning. Dancing exploded through the crowd as the band erupted into a pop filled electronic jam entrenched with synthesizer and rapid drum beasts… ahem…I mean beats; a perfect start to an amazing set…

The show was a ton of fun. Sorry No Ferrari followed by this amazing set; Small Reactions playing their first live set in a year and it was bangin. Electrifying energy being amplified through your skull and bones, forcing you to move like it was your puppeteer. Colossal sounds are being created by Small Reactions. I’m not sure when their next show is happening but I do know it will be in a few weeks or so…you should be there. We’ll make sure we have it up on the calendar so check back. - Be Atlanta

"Small Reactions 7" Release"

The 7" features the songs Cult Here Jonathan Lewin and Fat Zebra. Both songs are catchy lo-fi garage tunes reminiscent of a toned down Strokes and maybe some Pixies. Kinda post punk with a romantic twist. Its definitely worth picking up. The songs are pretty happy tunes and although summer is over, I believe they’re the perfect summer songs. Go to the show, its only $5 and you get Small Reactions and Sorry No Ferrari on the same stage…an eclectic night for sure. - Be Atlanta

"Stream: "Sudden Walks (single edit)""

Small Reactions are releasing a new 7" at 529 August 5th. It’s another small dose of accessible post-punky hooks and jams, an aesthetic that this band seems to pull off more successfully and effortlessly than any one else in Atlanta. - Ohmpark

"Review: "Cult Hero Jonathan Lewin b/w Fat Zebra""

Small Reactions make their recorded debut this month with a pair of dynamic ditties that work simple, repetitive, irresistible guitar/bass/drums grooves through dizzy peaks and breathing room valleys on their way to blissful ends. I hear echoes of sure-fire cross-generational predecessors like the Velvets, Feelies, and Pavement in their sound; not a bad way to start. - Stomp and Stammer

"People, People, the Small Reactions"

About a week ago Atlanta’s Gold-Bears let it be known via their Twitter feed that people should check out fellow Atlantans Small Reactions. I follow Gold Bears for a reason, so I clicked the link. Cue cracking songs with buzzing guitars and big hooks (I’m such a sucker for this kind of thing). I’m hooked and a nascent super-fan after one song.

Small Reactions have been around for a few years but only released their first single (self-released) late last year which you can download for free over at their Bandcamp. Single number two is set to be unleashed in August and it’s another corker. The A-side, Nerve Pop starts surfy and then gives way to jangle and then to a big payoff chorus. There’s no mistake, this is pop done right. On the B-side they let loose, starting out in a noisy maelstrom that morphs into a groove that would make the Eddy Current Suppression Ring sweat. Wow these guys can bring it. Line up at you local record shop (if you still have one) for this one. - Finest Kiss

"Small Reactions: Nerve Pop"

It was 20 years ago that the dogged fury of Dinosaur Jr (Green Mind), the casually classic rock of Teenage Fanclub (Bandwagonesque) and the incessant hooks of Stereolab (those first two eps) sowed the seeds for Small Reactions. They've made those influences their own and called it Nerve Pop. It's amazing. There's even some Duane Eddy in there. I don't know why. Like everything Small Reactions do, though, it feels right. - Did Not Chart

"Fresh Wax: Small Reactions"

Small Reactions could just as easily call themselves Small Surprises. At first listen, the four-piece plays solid, unassuming indie rock—the sort of dependably catchy, Pavement-esque stuff you’ve heard countless times before on your local college radio station. But then you listen a little closer and the details start to seep in—the clever interplay of the twin guitars; the artfully restrained vocals, simple but infectious; oh, and that fluttering guitar lead near the end of “Cult Hero Jonathon Lewis” is just a thing of beauty. The music is simple and repetitive, but it’s dynamic and patiently constructed—impressive traits for a band that may very well be mature beyond their years. And, yet, there’s also a snappy punk spirit to both of these songs, a youthful exuberance that cannot be faked or forced. It’s that pivotal dichotomy, the wrestling between the studied and the spontaneous, which could provide the key to Small Reactions’ future. Atlanta is a fickle scene, and there’s no telling how far these guys can carry this style, blanketed as it is in an unfortunate air of “been there, done that.” But those who take the time to sit with these songs will find a young band brimming with promise. - Lastest Disgrace

"MP3: Small Reactions - "Nerve Pop""

The most apt band name in Atlanta right now might just belong to Small Reactions. With every new show played, each new track made available, the group creates another tiny fissure in the the wall separating them from greater local appreciation and wider audiences. There’s also the matter of their songwriting, which has a calculated efficiency about it that never overwhelms you with how good it is, but instead strikes you repeatedly in small doses. With Small Reactions, I rarely get caught up in a singular moment or passage; the effect is always cumulative.

To date, however, their recorded output has been scarce with just a single 7? released. Fortunately, that said record happened to feature a pair of impressive tracks that were heavy on poppy hooks, fuzzy guitars and snappy punk spirit. You can download them both for free from the group’s Bandcamp page.

In August, the band will release a follow-up 7?, and judging from the surfy fuzz-pop exuberance of the A-side, “Nerve Pop,” this one is another keeper. What strikes me most about the track is how they disguise their somewhat sophisticated tonal and stylistic shifts in simple and accessible song structures. The song glides along smoothly and is catchy as all get out, but it’s the plethora of details that really leave the lasting impact. - Lastest Disgrace

"Review: "Nerve Pop b/w Teaser Trailer and Sudden Walks""

Small Reactions‘ second 7” further establishes them as perhaps the most affable band in Atlanta. The band distills post-punk, classic ’90s indie, a touch of surf rock, and even a bit of krautrock into something easily approachable that they call “nerve-pop.” That also happens to be what they call the song found on the A-side, a concise blast of surf-tinged guitar and sharp lyrics (killer chorus included) about “life and death and life again.” The B-side opens with the brief “Teaser Trailer,” a rousing instrumental that sounds like it was born to open shows. It crashes into “Sudden Walks,” which melds a taut kraut-groove with a refrain of “repetition” in a nice bit of form/content synergy. - Little Advances

"Review: "Cult Hero Jonathan Lewin b/w Fat Zebra""

Armed with guitars that are equally adept at being both jagged and jangly, Small Reactions play a daylight-friendly take on post-punk that wants to be your friend. Those dual guitars bounce around on A-side “Cult Hero Jonathan Lewin” until it sounds like the track’s wrapping itself up sometime before the four minute mark. But then the song hangs around for a couple minutes longer, and nobody really minds because the company is so good. The similarly unhurried “Fat Zebra” rocks some serious Peter Hook bass on the B-side, along with some solid kiss-off lyrics delivered in an endearingly imperfect yelp. It all sort of sounds like what might happen if Gang of Four got drunk, let their guard down, and stopped being so incensed about stuff. - Little Advances

"Review: "Nerve Pop b/w Teaser Trailer and Sudden Walks""

In one sweeping motion, "Nerve Pop" opens Small Reactions' second 7-inch with a gentle, melodic descent that spirals into heart-bursting proto-punk rhythms and yearning. But no matter how swiftly it moves along, the song sticks to the melodic phrase set in motion. It's a catchy number that illustrates how much the Atlanta band has grown since releasing its debut single, "Cult Hero Jonathan Lewin," in November 2010. Singer/guitarist Scotty Hoffman's fractured voice perfectly matches the guitar tones he summons throughout. On vinyl, the song isn't quite the heavy-hitter it is when played live, but there's enough kinetic energy here to make up for any minor shortcomings. On the B-side, "Teaser Trailer" and "Sudden Walks" become one with effortless grace as the drawn-out guitar cycles and Krautrock rhythms merge with style. With the group's ambitions and abilities balanced into a refined sound, Small Reactions has only sharpened its edge. (4 out of 5 stars) - Creative Loafing

"Hoping for a Big Reaction"

Small Reactions play art punk ala Television/Wire without ever coming across as pretentious, and write extremely catchy pop songs without ever sounding square. Normally, bands described as “fun” are either debaucherous or a bunch of dorks, but these guys are neither. They play with un-jaded enthusiasm and handle their instruments like gentlemen. And fairly new to the Atlanta scene they are already in high demand. Recently (and regrettably) having to turn down an opening slot with local heroes the all night drug prowling wolves to open for touring act Art Brut. - Dry Ink

"Another Year, Another List: Best of Albums 2014"

Another self-released record in this year’s count down. I have a feeling in another year of two the list will be a majority of self-releases. Atlanta’s Small Reactions conjure krautrock from the below the Mason Dixon line. Influenced by Can, Stereolab and probably the Wedding Present, which makes them strangers in a strange land. Similar Phantoms is the real deal with some amazing bass playing (I’m still in awe that it’s not machine). Tons of pulses and killer grooves that will vibrate and rattle your too comfortable existence. - Finest Kiss

"Similar Phantoms LP Review"

Somewhere in a shiny, glass fronted building there must be a ministry of muso jibber jabbery that sits with a focus group of pseudo Nathan Barley’s and is charged with devising puffed-up, nonsensical sub-genres, scenes and movements. It’s the only logical way to account for the steaming pile of Math Rock, Reggaeton, Yacht Rock, Freak Folk, Sophisti-pop, Screamo, Cowpunk, Nu Rave and most facile and vacant of them all Casiocore (a short-lived DIY, keyboard fad). Next from the school of “eerrrr… Monkey Tennis” ideas, US indie scamps Small Reactions give the world a concoction that they call ‘Nerve Pop’.

Frantic, jittery and rampant with metallic choppy guitars and a speccy awkwardness, the tag kind of makes sense despite its skin-crawling nature. Small Reactions debut album Similar Phantoms tours the lo-fi indie landmarks of new wave noise barons Wire, the shoegaze fuzz of My Bloody Valentine and Britpop’s more ragged edges, and through a pained blizzard of feedback and sprawl kicks out bouncy, pogoing, mosh starters. It’s probably more proof that everything in popular music has been done already and all that is left to do is regurgitate and repackage the past, but when the reference points are driving Krautrock, jangly Scottish indie and post punk grime, then the results are so gloriously scuzzy, it’s pretty easy to lose yourself and forgive.

Nineties, Anglo-French, cult favourites Stereolab is the other key influence, and the Atlanta four-piece pay homage to their ghostly dream pop melodies and shy, oddball insouciance on revved up, pace setters Hung From Wire and Mid Century Squall. Keepah too could easily have appeared on a cassette tape compilation given away free with a copy of Melody Maker in around 1989, whilst frontman Scotty Hoffman adopts a distorted, slightly more tuneful, Julian Casablancas drawl on Terrorangles. It’s one blasting exercise in fuzzy, roaring static that pits Small Reactions alongside contemporaries such as Deerhunter, Eagulls, Parquet Courts and Crocodiles.

What perhaps sets them apart is the lack of a slouching, outsider persona or any hipster posturing, just a nerdish love of indie obscurities and an unabashed flurry of pop melodies and dark romanticism that runs through their garage guitar dissonance. It’s a great mix that rages and swoons in equal measure on what is a barnstorming, chaotic, frazzled, rush of a debut album. - Live and Die in Music

"Review of "Saint in Robes" single"

When I reach Scotty Hoffman, vocalist for the Atlanta band Small Reactions, he’s driving down a Georgia highway, listening to the Japanese avant-garde band Les Rallizes Dénudés. “It’s more noisy and more freaky than than the craziest Velvet Underground live stuff,” he enthuses. “The song I’m listening to right now, the bassline sounds like the ’50s song ‘I Will Follow Him’” — he sings a few bars to illustrate — “but there’s just noisy guitar and feedback over it.” Hoffman’s always been this enthusiastic about music: when he was a teenager, he took a deep dive into the Stereolab catalog after Sam Jacobsen, the band’s organ player, introduced him to Dots & Loops. “We had a CD Warehouse near where we lived, so we just went there and bought all the Stereolab records we could find,” he says.

In truth, his own band Small Reactions sounds like a bit like hotwiring of Stereolab with some burlier, more ruthless noise outfit. At its best moments their excellent debut, Similar Phantoms, smothers stiff-jointed, locked-kneed rhythms with slashing guitars and weird wreaths of feedback. On “Saint in Robes,” though, which we’re premiering today, they table those influences in favor of a bright, ringing guitar pop song. Hoffman stretches out notes with the same kind of urgency and desperation as Hamilton Leithauser, and the song sports a wordless, lightweight, heavenbound chorus. “This song was just an instant song,” Hoffman recalls. “It was the first thing we played that day, and it was fun to watch how quickly it came together.” You can hear that feeling in the final product, the sense of discovery captured in every ringing note. - Wondering Sound

""Hung From Wire" EP review"

Chug-chug-chug-chug-chug; that’s the defining characteristic of “Hung From Wire,” the excellent second song on the latest EP from Atlanta, GA band Small Reactions. The drums lock into place and stay there, the kind of stiff-jointed rhythms that used to power songs by Can and Neu! It’s what’s on top of those rhythms that makes the magic: tight, bright slashes of guitar, a spindizzy bass line and Scotty Hoffman’s clear-eyed, conversational vocals. But for as sharp as the songs edges are, the band is not afraid of chaos. At roughly the midway point, a thick fog of sound swells up, threatening to envelop the song entirely and giving the whole affair a sudden, strange mirage-like sheen. And then, just as soon as it started, it evaporates, and the band emerges standing upright, jaws set, gazes fixed. - Wondering Sound

""Terrorangles" Music Video Review"

My roundup of amazing shit that happened while I was overseas continues with this killer new video from Small Reactions, who once again display a knack for pulling off simple but visually arresting ideas that are perfectly suited to their aesthetic (see also: last year’s video for “Michael J. Foxworthy”). I’ve never considered band’s music to be very psychedelic—it’s much too structured and streamlined—but then again there does seem to be a moment in a lot of their songs when it sounds like everything is coming unhinged and the bottom is about to drop out. Not tripped out, per se, but certainly “out there” in its own way. “Terrorangles” appears to be all wiry guitars and shout-along vocals, and yet it’s frenetic pace and abstract bent make it perfect fodder for directors Mike Morgan and Mitchell Hardage’s surreal assault on the senses. As drummer Sean Zearfoss explained to PureVolume:

The majority of the effects in the “Terrorangles” video are products of the feedback loop created by the filming itself. The idea isn’t new, but it is important to find that the idea is kind of an update on many of psych video tradition with bands like Black Sabbath simply playing in a room with weird projections behind them. This time, though, the projection and the film are one in the same. It’s video inception, really. - Latest Disgrace


7" Single: "Cult Hero Jonathan Lewin b/w Fat Zebra" (The Great Big, 2010)

7" Single: "Nerve Pop b/w Teaser Trailer and Sudden Walks" (Magic Marker Records, 2011)

Digital 7" Single: "Nerve Pop" (self released, 2013)

Digital EP: "Hung From Wire" (self released, 2014)

LP: "Similar Phantoms" (self released, 2014)



Small Reactions play situational pop songs. Relying on the minimal instrumentation of guitar, bass, vintage organs, and drums, the quartet is equal parts new wave and post-punk, drone and surf. 

Ultimately, however, genres are of little import. The band themselves prefer the term “nerve pop” to describe their music. The phrase comprises the frenetic energy of the late 70s new wavers and Bob Dylan’s shaky foot circa 1965. Sonically, they resemble equal parts “Chairs Missing”-period Wire and early Stereolab. Lyrically, they reside somewhere in the “new domestic” school.

Live shows, played to the absolute tipping point, express a sense of urgency, affectation, and a blur of electric noise. Songs refuse cadence naturally and the band will not stop moving. 

Atlanta, Georgia is their home.

Band Members