Welcome to South Florida, the land of a thousand cultures and just as many musical influences. It was here on the shores of West Palm Beach that Surfer Blood came crashing onto the indie surf rock scene with their debut 2010 album Astro Coast. The crew immediately garnered national recognition from the get-go, displaying a curious mix of beachy riffs, jocularly discomforting lyrics, and ever-present grungy overtones.
As Surfer Blood matured however, it was apparent they would be defined by frequent change. Their sophomore 2013 album Pythons cut out a sizable chunk of their seaside roots to double down on their grungy garage rock style. The album is characterized by its bookends, showing a stark progression from the headstrong and sporadically cross opening track “Demon Dance” to the mopey and indignant closing track “Prom Song”. The collection resembles the punk-centric defiance that people have come to expect from Pixies paired with the publicly tailored rock structure of a young Weezer.
The band has since dealt with incredible tragedy after their guitarist Thomas Fekete’s diagnosis with cancer in 2014 and his subsequent death in 2016. According to frontman John Paul Pitts, Fekete’s assertiveness is what accelerated Surfer Blood to early stardom. In an interview with Billboard, Pitts admitted that he didn’t know if he would have been as forward-thinking about their potential, saying “I think I would have been happy recording songs, putting them up on MySpace, and playing house parties forever.” Although the group struggled to recover from the loss of their friend and bandmate, 2017 saw the release of their 4th studio album Snowdonia. The album is a testament to the band’s persistence, but this newer material is missing a noticeably crucial piece to their original puzzle. Without Fekete, the group seems sanded down and rounded out, expressing fewer eccentric shades of originality that propelled them to stardom almost a decade ago.
Favorite Tracks: Prom Song, Demon Dance, Say Yes to Me, Gravity, Needles and Pins