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Quickfire Questions #45: J.P. Pitts of Surfer Blood

By on Tuesday, 14th May 2013 at 12:00 pm

J.P. Pitts, chief songwriter of Floridian band Surfer Blood, kindly answered our TGTF Quickfire Questions ahead of the release of their new album ‘Pythons’, out in June.

What song is your earliest musical memory?
‘Barbara Ann’ by the Beach Boys. My best friend growing up had their greatest hits on cassette and we would listen to it the car with his mother on the way to and from school. [This is amazing. I had this cassette too! Wore it out as well – Ed.]

What was your favourite song as a child?
Probably ‘Semi-Charmed Life’ by Third Eye Blind. The ‘alternative’ radio station in the town where I grew up must’ve played that song day and night for half a decade. It was the first ever cassette single I bought, I think it was for sale at a gas station. I had no idea until years later that the song was actually about drugs.

What song makes you laugh?
A song called ‘Son of My Father’ by a band called Chicory Tip. I just love how goofy all of the synthesizer sounds are. The song was recorded in the early seventies when the synthesizer was a very new thing. Consequently the song is really spacey and meandering with all kinds of arbitrary chord/ key changes.

What song makes you cry?
‘Random Rules’ by the Silver Jews is a very sad song and its hard for me not to tear up every time I hear it. The slow pace and the heartbreaking lyrics are the perfect recipe for a good cry.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Pretty much any song off of My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Loveless’ will bring me back to my first feelings of being in love. My first girlfriend and I used to lay in bed and listen to it a lot, the lyrics and melodies are nostalgic and the production is lush and full. To this day I can’t help but feel there is something salacious about the way that album sounds.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
“You Only Live Once” by the Strokes is a song I’ve always turned to when I’ve felt frustrated or disappointed. Something feels triumphant about the arc and melody of the song and Julian Cassablancas’ casual delivery gives you the sense that everything is going to be all right. Its a very life-affirming song and its never failed to cheer me up.

Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
I’m not really sure how to answer that question. I guess I never really ask myself that.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
I’d say that Steven Malknus and Kurt Vonnegut are two writers I always tend to gravitate to. They both have a long list of works to their name, I’ve been a fan of both since I was a teenager and I still haven’t digested everything. I’d say they are two of the writers I enjoy the most and I dread the day when I’ve heard and read everything out there from those two.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’m not sure, there’s nothing else I’d rather do than what I’m doing now. I’ve always thought that I would enjoy teaching, I have a relatively patient disposition and I like introducing people to new things. I don’t know if I’d enjoy it the way I enjoy writing and recording music but I’m sure I’d find it gratifying.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
That’s an impossible decision; but I’d probably go with ‘Pet Sounds’.

Thanks to J.P. for answering our questions and Tasha for sorting this for us.


Video of the Moment #1185: Surfer Blood

By on Sunday, 21st April 2013 at 6:00 pm

I remember reading something about Surfer Blood‘s lead singer and chief lyricist J.P. Pitts being a fan of Flannery O’Connor’s work and thinking that the words to their songs are a lot deeper than the surf sound we’ve come to know them for. I’d have to pay closer attention to the words in this new one ‘Demon Dance’, but for now, watch the video below. Note: the end makes sense, but it’s rather anticlimactic.



MP3 of the Day #444: Surfer Blood

By on Tuesday, 22nd November 2011 at 10:00 am

A Surfer Blood song getting remixed by School of Seven Bells? Sounds like a train wreck just waiting to happen. Are demonic synths helping or hindering this track? We’ll leave that decision up to you; you can listen to and download the remix below.

Braden didn’t think much of the band’s latest EP ‘Tarot Classics’; you can read his review here.


Album Review: Surfer Blood – Tarot Classics EP

By on Wednesday, 26th October 2011 at 12:00 pm

Surfer Blood are a busy band. The Florida-based group have been on the road virtually non-stop and bagging support slots for the likes of Pixies and Vaccines is an all right way of continuing. Of course, it can get boring touring the same album for an extended period of time, especially if crowds are most likely to only respond to singles. In light of this, Surfer Blood have penned and recorded a new EP to come as a stopgap between what we must assume will be a second record.

‘Tarot Classics’ starts almost where ‘Astro Coast’ left off, in a kind of halfway house between being interesting, like Vampire Weekend mixed with the Smiths and being incredibly dull, like the piles of landfill that flood indie hallways. Sadly, after the first two tracks, Surfer Blood fall off the first wagon, into the second. ‘I’m Not Ready’ has the kind of bounce that new British tour buddies the Vaccines are enjoying at the moment and ‘Miranda’ has the potential to fit in on the Drums‘ first material, but after that it’s like stepping into a puddle. You can get a bit of enjoyment from the splash at first, but then you realize that you’ve just stepped in dirty water and you’re now a bit wet. Your shoes are wet and you really wish you hadn’t bothered. Sadly, Surfer Blood have fallen into the trap that Bloc Party have and spent so much time on the road that their music and direction has self imploded. I’d much prefer to listen to the Drums’ ‘Summertime’ EP or part of the Smiths back catalogue than listen to anything more than ‘Miranda’ (which is free anyway; stream it below). ‘Tarot Classics’ is kind of like tarot cards themselves – a bit misleading. No classics here.


‘Tarot Classics’ from Surfer Blood is available this week from Kanine Records.


Surfer Blood / March 2011 UK/Irish Tour

By on Thursday, 25th November 2010 at 4:15 pm

Dixie’s answer to surf pop, Surfer Blood, have announced a tour of the UK in March. Tickets are on sale now.

Wednesday 2nd March 2011 – Manchester Academy 3
Thursday 3rd March 2011 – Birmingham O2 Academy 2
Friday 4th March 2011 – Dublin O2 Academy
Saturday 5th March 2011 – Glasgow King Tuts
Sunday 6th March 2011 – Newcastle O2 Academy 2
Tuesday 8th March 2011 – Brighton Digital
Wednesday 9th March 2011 – London Scala


Live Review: The Drums and Surfer Blood with the Young Friends at 9:30 Club, Washington, DC – Sunday 12th September 2010

By on Tuesday, 14th September 2010 at 2:00 pm

Most bands who go on tour together start out as acquaintances and then become good friends over the course of a tour. The Drums and Surfer Blood don’t have to worry about that; members of Surfer Blood have played with the Drums’s Jacob Graham, so everyone pretty much knows everybody else, which I think can only be a good thing. With autumn on DC’s doorstep, the two surf poppish bands stopped by as co-headliners to the 9:30 Club for a fun night of good tunes Sunday night.

The Young Friends from Phoenix were the opening act. I’m usually pretty sceptical about rock bands that have one guitarist (not two) plus a bassist, yet these guys made a good job of it. They have a very similar rock/pop sound to the Drums and Surfer Blood, so all things considered, they were a really good fit for support. The band itself is Andrew McKee (lead vocals / bass) and Brant Stuns (guitar) and a touring drummer. Now that I play bass, I can appreciate just how hard it is to play a rhythm instrument and sing at the same time. Songs like ‘I Won’t Break Your Heart’ indicate that even though these are a pair of ‘Young Friends’, they know what they’re doing when it comes to writing songs. Stuns in particular was hilarious to watch onstage because he reminded me of Peter Crouch, only shorter and trying to imitate Chuck Berry’s duckwalk.

The Drums were on next. I’d seen singer Jonathan Pierce’s red satin jacket in Phil’s coverage of their MTV’s 10 for 2010 show at Camden’s Dingwalls with Death Metal Disco Scene and Delphic and was quite pleased to see it would be making an appearance on their North American tour. When I had been waiting outside with a friend before the doors opened, we could hear the strains of ‘Best Friend’ during their soundcheck, and this was the bounciest of all songs they started their set with, drummer Connor Hanwick leading the way with his beats as club goers moved and grooved to the Drums’ brand of pop.

Continue reading Live Review: The Drums and Surfer Blood with the Young Friends at 9:30 Club, Washington, DC – Sunday 12th September 2010


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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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