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Video of the Moment #2372: Surfer Blood

 
By on Friday, 2nd June 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

For a while, we were going through a period where practically every promo video I received was shot as a live performance video at a band’s show. Now oddly, they’re all coming in as animated shorts. Florida surf rockers Surfer Blood released ‘Snowdonia’, their fourth album, back in February. Read up on my review of the long player through here. For their latest video for ‘Taking Care of Eddy’, they’ve worked with co-director Niko Guardia, which says of the promo:

The main idea with the Taking Care of Eddy video was to match the intense energy in parts of the song, juxtaposed with the pretty and soothing melodies. We wanted the world within music video to be full of strange pretty lights and ominous settings, yet our main characters are not deterred from roaming and squashing the creatures known as ‘Eddys’.

Yeah, there’s a lot of weird stuff in this video, but you can’t turn away from the vibrant colours and the sunniness of the track. Check out the promo for ‘Taking Care of Eddy’ below. To reacquaint yourself with the rest of our archive on Surfer Blood, come right through here.

 

Surfer Blood / March 2017 UK Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 7th March 2017 at 9:00 am
 

Florida rockers Surfer Blood will be touring this month in the UK. They will be over in blighty to support latest album ‘Snowdonia’, out now on Joyful Noise / Secretly Canadian. You can read my review of the album through this link. Tickets for the show below are on sale now. Watch the new video for ‘Six Flags in F or G’, which frontman J.P. Pitts has said was inspired by his friend and late bandmate Thomas Fekete, at the bottom of this post.

Thursday 16th March 2017 – Birmingham Mama Roux’s
Friday 17th March 2017 – Bournemouth Winchester
Saturday 18th March 2017 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Sunday 19th March 2017 – Manchester Soup Kitchen
Monday 20nd March 2017 – Glasgow Broadcast
Tuesday 21st March 2017 – Leicester Cookie
Thursday 23rd March 2017 – London Oslo
Friday 24th March 2017 – Cardiff Club Ifor Bach
Saturday 25th March 2017 – Brighton Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar

 

Album Review: Surfer Blood – Snowdonia

 
By on Thursday, 2nd February 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

Surfer Blood Snowdonia album coverIt’s hard to believe that Surfer Blood’s debut single ‘Swim’ came out in 2009. You remember the song. I didn’t get the hype. I witnessed the crazy reception the band got in 2010 at the 9:30 Club when they co-headlined a tour with another hot indie American band at the time, the Drums. It was there that I started to understand that the feeling of the music and how it moved them meant more to the fans than the actual lyrics. I think. If any band in the last 10 years should be given an award for keeping the interest up in noodley guitar rock, Surfer Blood would be on the short list. Their established sound has soundtracked countless college frat parties, the relaxed, feel good guitars providing a pleasing background music that earth-shatteringly exceptional, but comfortable.

On their latest album ‘Snowdonia’, the proceedings begin with upbeat foot-stomper ‘Matter of Time’. Doesn’t conjure up images of the snowy Welsh national park for you, does it? Perhaps the name is intended to be representative of strength in rocky, rough adversity? Diplomatic negotiations are the order of the day in ‘Frozen’ – “after some concessions, the deal was done” aren’t exactly pop lyrics, are they? – but both songs seem to be confronting the problems of growing up and how life gets all the more difficult the older you get.

But don’t worry. Things don’t stay that serious for long. With a killer guitar solo, suspiciously single length ‘Dino Jay’ is a love song: “then at the pier, with the moon on your face / I knew I can love you for the rest of my days”. The added harmonising backing vocals are courtesy of current bassist Lindsey Mills, another one of Pitts’ mates from high school. Her addition to the band should be interesting going forward on Surfer Blood’s future pursuits. Even with an instrumental intro going over a minute, long title track ‘Snowdonia’ isn’t serious or pretentious either. It’s more of an experiment with some unusual guitar and percussion moments at the conclusion.

Change is inevitable in the life cycle of a band, and this is certainly true for a band like them who has soldiered on for so many years. Sadly, they’ve suffered two major losses in the 18 months. Longtime bassist Kevin Williams quit the band in October 2015. More crushing was the death of original guitarist Thomas Fekete who, after a valiant battle with cancer, sadly passed away in May 2016. Anyone including myself will acknowledge that his passing will be felt in their live performances; he was genuinely such a happy soul and it was obvious at gigs that he let himself get lost in his guitar playing. As a nice nod to his fallen bandmate, Pitts has admitted that the effects on the guitars on ‘Six Flags in F and G’ were those that Fekete himself had impressed on him. The result is an oddly cool mélange of old and new, the increasingly washy guitars towards the end giving a ‘70s psychedelic feel.

It’s often said that life gives us trials when we’re ready for them. In addition to Fekete’s cancer diagnosis, singer J.P. Pitts’ own mother was also diagnosed with breast cancer. This caused the singer/songwriter to take a step back and use music to convey his most personal thoughts to date in ‘Carrier Pigeon’. It’s another brief step back in time, as his bandmates bolster the main vocal line with Beach Boys-esque doo wop backing harmonies. Thanking his mother for everything she’s done for him and his sister, it’s a surprisingly sweet way for a surf rock band to close the record.

It’s unclear from ‘Snowdonia’ if Surfer Blood plan to stay the course in indie guitar rock, or if they’re planning on changing things up with an increased emphasis on vocal harmonies or perhaps taking a cue from the late Fekete on guitar effects. However, the cheerful sound of this record that should please longtime fans suggests Pitts and co. weren’t going to crawl up in a ball following Fekete’s death. While the band didn’t reinvent the wheel on this album, sometimes you don’t need to.

7/10

‘Snowdonia’, the fourth studio album from Florida indie surf rock band Surfer Blood, is out tomorrow, the 3rd of February, on Joyful Noise /Secretly Canadian. To catch up on all of TGTF’s coverage of Surfer Blood in the past, go here.

 

Video of the Moment #2246: Surfer Blood

 
By on Thursday, 15th December 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

J.P. Pitts’ band Surfer Blood has announced that their newest album will be released at the start of February 2017. ‘Snowdonia’ will see the light of day on the 3rd of February on Joyful Noise/Secretly Canadian. To preview the upcoming long player, they’ve unleashed ‘Matter of Time’. As has been true for the band’s past releases, it has a sunny sound. The music video accompanying it has a high school yearbook theme, which is completely appropriate, as the band’s current four members all went to the same high school in West Palm Beach, Florida. Watch it below.

Surfer Blood has revealed details of an American tour from late January through to the middle of February of next year. A headline date at London Hackney Oslo has also been announced and confirmed for the 23rd of March. For more on Surfer Blood on TGTF, go here.

 

Live Review: We Are Scientists and Surfer Blood with Eternal Summers at U Street Music Hall, Washington DC – 3rd October 2014

 
By on Tuesday, 7th October 2014 at 2:00 pm
 

American bands We Are Scientists and Surfer Blood are currently in the midst of their current Spatter Analysis tour and last Friday night, they stopped into Washington, only the second date of 10 on their East Coast and Midwest journey. It was truly a Yank fest, as the opening band were Roanoke’s Eternal Summers, who I’d caught as support for Maximo Park back in May (review here). The Virginia-based band shares labels with Surfer Blood (their third album ‘The Drop Beneath’ was released on Brooklyn indie Kanine back in March), so there’s yet another connection linking the bands on this bill.

I hesitate to say that Eternal Summers have a completely laid back vibe, as drummer Daniel Cundiff was really beating the hell out of his skins for several of their songs. But like Surfer Blood’s music, there seems to be this underlying slacker feeling like you should be laying out on a beach somewhere listening to their songs but counterintuitively, both bands are technically proficient. At times, guitarist Nicole Yun’s voice seemed to be fighting with the loudness of her bandmates’ instruments, but that could be more to blame with the venue than the band themselves. From their current album, check out energetic numbers ‘Never Enough’ and ‘A Burial’.

It’s been some time since I’d last seen Surfer Blood live, having last laid ears on them when they coheadlined a show at the 9:30 Club with then indie behemoths The Drums. Times have changed for J.P. Pitts and co. – for one, Warner Brothers dropped them earlier this year, but they’re probably best back with Kanine – but their style that have made them firm favourites with their fans is still intact. I admit that theirs, along with Best Coast and other bands of their ilk, is really not my kind of music; as there is no immediacy, no urgency, it’s in direct odds with my personality.

Nevertheless, I can understand their mainstream (for indie) popularity, with the well-picked guitars and feel good ambience of ‘Floating Vibes’ and ‘Swim’ (aka the “swim to reach the end!” song) from 2010’s ‘Astro Coast’ showing they’ve aged well and can still bring the house down. Frontman J.P., who has no rock star air about him at all, still has a sweet voice and looks like a frat boy in a buttoned-up shirt and boat shoes, but I think those things are all part of the appeal. He announced they were about to play “my favourite Surfer Blood song, ever”, and then leaped into the crowd to sing ‘Drinking Problem’. Forget that we could have jumped rope with his mike lead. Several excited fans had their year made with the chance to sing with one of their idols.

I’ve been a fan of and been going to see We Are Scientists long before I even started blogging. As the band is based in New York, I’ve been lucky to see them live so many times, and by this time I’ve stopped counting. As I was walking to the venue, that admittedly annoying Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen song “it’s always a ‘Good Time’ was stuck in my head. Lately, I’ve had my suspicions that U Hall packs more people than should be allowed at their indie shows, but maybe it’s just because I’ve always been either down the front or somewhere near the front, where there is always a crush of bodies. Even though the critical mass seemed to part slightly after Surfer Blood finished, the WAS fans were quick to fill in the gaps.

‘Dumb Luck’, from their current ‘TV en Français’, started their set confidently, with its near ‘Maneater’ ’80s groove. It was the perfect opener, proving right out of the gate why they’re rated so highly as a live act. As did J.P. Pitts before him, Keith Murray jumped down into the crowd to serenade us with ‘Textbook’, from the band’s first album ‘With Love and Squalor’. I was gobsmacked, I assumed I was never going to hear that song live ever again. Same goes for the brilliantly bass-heavy ‘Chick Lit’, from their 2008 album ‘Brain Thrust Mastery’.

Of course, being the irrepressible jokers they are, Keith Murray and Chris Cain were only too happy to banter away between the songs, amusing and charming the heck out of the punters as they always do. Slow groove ‘Can’t Lose’ was prefaced by the guys asking who in the audience liked to grind, saying any song with a 0% grind factor was considered a failure, and this one from them was between 0% and 2%. (Cue audience laughter.) To introduce ‘Impatience’, Keith explained he had once been a candy striper in hospital (probably false) and stopped volunteering because aged people had the unfortunate habit of telling stories and then slowly expiring, mid-anecdote:

If there was anything to criticise about the gig, it was the nature of this tour and having two headliners. I am sure Surfer Blood’s set was shorter than it is usually runs, and I know We Are Scientists’ set was shorter too, as in April their show at the Black Cat was much longer. Still, it was a great Friday night out and definitely showed tickets to all three bands are worth your hard-earned money next time they’re in your town.

After the cut: We Are Scientists’ set list.
Continue reading Live Review: We Are Scientists and Surfer Blood with Eternal Summers at U Street Music Hall, Washington DC – 3rd October 2014

 

Video of the Moment #1425: Surfer Blood

 
By on Tuesday, 14th January 2014 at 6:00 pm
 

Sunny West Palm Beach band Surfer Blood have returned with a brand new promo for ‘Say Yes to Me’. According to the description of the video on YouTube, Warner Brothers dropped them (terrible news!) and they were scrambling last minute to make a video for this song. Read on:

We had just been dropped from Warner Brothers and knew we were doomed financially– we would have no budget and very little time. Our plan was to shoot the entire video in one night at a diner called Howley’s in our home town, West Palm Beach. Howley’s was a frequent hang-out for our dinner breaks during recording of the ‘Tarot Classics’ EP as well as the demos for ‘Pythons’. The staff was accommodating and we managed to get the all the shots we needed in one night, while the bedroom shots were filmed in Thomas’ mom’s guest bedroom later that same evening.

Honestly, had I not read that what had happened, I’d not even known anything was wrong. The song feels like the sunnier moments of 2010’s ‘Astro Coast’, coming across as even more poppy than their big hit ‘Swim’, and if I were a Warner Brothers exec, I’d be angry with myself right now. Watch the video below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2mY5CdQE3Y[/youtube]

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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