South by South Florida: Surfer Blood Head to SXSW Next Week, Cover Guided by Voices
Surfer Blood, seen above covering Guided by Voices' "Game of Pricks," has quickly become huge. Not Kings of Leon huge, not headlining a North American arena tour huge, or the biggest thing to hit Europe since, well, the euro huge. At least not yet. Stick with huge for a band from West Palm Beach that has firmly entrenched itself in the national indie set. Suffice it to say, the band is huge enough to have earned itself a staggering ten gigs at South by Southwest this year, including our Village Voice shindig at La Zona Rosa (also featuring the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Superchunk, the XX) and as the stacked Pitchfork party at Emo's.
These five locals have made quite a name for themselves since the release of debut record Astro Coast at the start of the year. Even before then, Surfer Blood was abuzz in the music press -- both in the pages of this venerable publication and around the country. And we're not talking backwater rag publications. Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and Spin are all riding Surfer Blood's jock, and myriad are gushes like this one from Pitchfork's Ryan Dombal: " 'Swim (To Reach the End)'... blows past other indie fodder because its monolithic production makes it sound stadium-ready." It's a testament to the band's clean, polished, and arrestingly adept freshman effort, which features early-'90s influences ranging from Weezer to the Pixies with a modern Shins spin.
Surfer Blood came together for the first time only in March of last year. Vocalist/guitarist J.P. Pitts, guitarist Thomas Fekete, bassist Brian Black, and drummer T.J. Shwarz met at an Ultra afterparty in 2009 -- though they're quick to point out they didn't attend the main event, not being into "the D'n'B." A year after setting up shop in a dorm room at Florida Atlantic University to create their sound, they've established themselves on a national level as one of the bands to watch. And they're earning every last bit of that praise with a tireless road work ethic. Similar to their 13-performance tear through NYC's CMJ Music Marathon last year, Surfer Blood is giving fans a whole slew of opportunities to catch them over four days at SXSW. Those, along with about another 20 or so with Super Fruits, complete an extensive tour schedule that'll carry them through the end of April and to even more fans.
Check out Monday's entry about Fort Lauderdale's Every You here, and Wednesday's entry about Hey Monday here.