Tic Tac Totally Singles Round-Up
by Ron Wadlinger

Chicago-based label Tic Tac Totally has been knocking about for a few years now, putting out quality vinyl that oftentimes veers more toward the poppier side of the modern underground-punk idiom. TTT may come across as a label that goes about its business outside of the hype waves, but it’s managed to compile a fairly impressive discography that includes releases from bands like Lost Sounds, Wavves and Thomas Function. It’s always interesting to see what’s new on the TTT front, so it was welcome news when three of the label’s latest 7-inchers showed up in the Primitive Futures mailbox.

The Girls at Dawn, “Back to You”
The Girls at Dawn are yet another product of the Brooklyn machine that seems to constantly churn out gritty pop-rock bands at maximum efficiency. The trio’s previous records—on labels like Hozac, Captured Tracks and Norton—set forth the band’s pedigree as purveyors of a sort of modern garage take on the ’60s girl group sound. While their live appearance in Columbus last summer was fairly unremarkable, “Back To You” is catchy enough in a Last Splash–outtakes run through a Wall of Sound effects processor kind of way. “WCK” fares better, leaving behind a bit of the unnecessary cuteness and mixing in rougher guitars and a bit of extra noise with the sugar to make the sound a bit more interesting, if familiar.

Andy Human, “Toy Man”
No one could accuse Oakland’s Andy Human of following anyone else too closely. “Toy Man” is an unabashed attempt at the classic ’80s British new wave sound, and it actually works really well, pairing a dynamic song structure with some catchy melodies. B-side “Center of Gravity” is more of a straightforward pop song, but it’s a bouncy romp that pulls off the rare feat of not overusing a good hook while managing to squeeze in multiple guitar solos without getting too cheesy. If there’s more where this came from, let’s hope we get to hear it soon.

OBN IIIs are fresh off an appearance on the second volume of the Casual Victim Pile compilations. Their self-titled debut EP provides further proof of the band’s ability to throw together top-notch, ballsy rock songs with seeming ease. “Runnin on Fumes” sounds like a classic from some early ’70s Detroit band that learned its craft at the feet of the Stooges.  “Do My Thing,” the leadoff track on that Casual Victim Pilecomp, breaks things down a bit, but it’s equally forceful and bombastic. “Mad” and “License Plate” are more of the same: dirty, overdriven rockers that hit hard and leave you bloody, but grinning. It appears that the band is a bit of a side project for some, if not all, of its five members, but this 7-inch is something that needs to be followed up on.