An Introduction to
8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13
Though the blogosphere announces potential with big fireworks, advance buzz is a transitory thing that incites backlash at least as intense if a band can't substantiate the furor.
Currently, freshman Florida indie rock band Surfer Blood is radioactive with hype. In October, the young group blitzed the tastemaking annual CMJ Music Marathon in New York City with enthusiasm, work ethic and sheer verve. Playing as many festival gigs as they could, they lit up the cognoscenti, scored a favorable mention from New York Times music critic Jon Pareles, and became darlings of the 2009 festival.
"Suddenly everyone was into us in New York," says singer-guitarist John Paul Pitts. "We're really excited, just seeing our name on different blogs and stuff. When we were in the New York Times at the end of CMJ, I bought a copy for everyone in `my` family because it was just something we never thought would happen with that."
The spark for Surfer Blood came about when Pitts and drummer Tyler Schwarz met while both were attending college in Orlando. "We started playing together and going to shows at Back Booth and the Social or whatever," says Pitts. After both returned to their native West Palm Beach, they found like-minded cohorts in guitarist Thomas Fekete, bassist Brian Black and percussionist Marcos Marchesani.
But their moment of truth draws nigh. Jan. 9 will see the release of their debut album, Astro Coast, a record that should shoot them out of the gate early as 2010's breakout indie band. More than anything, it will prove that these native sons came to play.
Their merge of '80s melodies, '90s indie-rock drive and muscular, ragged power pop results in lovely moments like the moody sweetness of "Harmonix," the blaring Beach Boys—esque ballad "Slow Jabroni" and the beaming tropicality of "Twin Peaks." But they're best when they're riding the big, incandescent swells. Jams like the heavily textured power pop of "Floating Vibes," the panoramic sweeps of "Fast Jabroni" and especially the booming, echo-drenched triumph of "Swim" are where they graze the heavens.
More sun-bleached than sun-kissed, their modern, crystalline pop melodies are cranked to epic proportions while walls of reverb and echo hug the listener like a radiant womb.
"We all like to make a lot of noise," says Pitts. "The songwriting obviously comes first but I think a lot of the fun we have is in the production and the way we record our guitars and vocals and the effects we choose to use."
While they are excited to lead the charge of a promising young class of Florida talent, they're busy enough holding on to their own rocketing career.
"We're struggling to keep up in a lot of ways," says Pitts. "We just got a manager yesterday and now we have a label and booking agent and we're talking to some people in the United Kingdom about putting out the record."
If Surfer Blood's explosively gleeful live performances were enough to make them the crush of the indie press, look for the stunningly euphoric Astro Coast to solidify them as not only the next great Florida band but a bona fide firstname.lastname@example.org