Breaking: Surfer Blood

February 10, 2010 12:00 AM ET

Who: Surfer Blood, a pack of indie rockers from West Palm Beach, Florida, who in the span of less than a year have traded in their day jobs as waiters for a spot on the bill of the massive Primavera Sound festival alongside artists that inspired them like Pavement and Pixies.

Sounds Like: Despite having a moniker that sounds like G.G. Allin fronting the Beach Boys, on their debut album Astro Coast Surfer Blood revive the spirit of '90s slack rockers like Built to Spill. First single "Swim" and "Twin Peaks" add flourishes of Weezer's power-pop and Pixies' speedy surf-guitar licks to the mix.

Vital Stats:

• Veterans of the South Florida's close-knit hardcore scene, singer-guitarist JP Pitts and drummer TJ Schwarz first met up with bassist Brian Black and guitarist Thomas Fekete at a party following Miami's Ultra Music Festival in March 2009. A month later, the nascent Surfer Blood — none of the members surf, by the way — were recording an early version of Astro Blood in a freshman dorm room at the University of Florida.

• While the band's members cite influences like Motown and the Jesus Lizard, Pitts tells Rolling Stone he's most inspired by the 1990s indie rock that permeates Surfer Blood's sound. "I was listening to mostly Pavement, Bedhead, Yo La Tengo," Pitts says, "And that's a huge part of what influenced the way I write songs and the way I play guitar."

• After recording their debut, the band piled into a van and made the 20-hour trek to New York for the CMJ Music Festival last year. If it seemed like Surfer Blood were everywhere during that week-long event, it's because they probably were. "We did 13 show over the course of seven days at CMJ," Pitts says. "I don't understand the point of playing once and just hanging out all week. It got us a lot of attention. I mean, otherwise we wouldn't have driven over 20 hours to get there." At the upcoming SXSW fest, Surfer Blood will take it slightly easier: they'll only play seven shows.

Hear It Now: Astro Coast is out now, and Surfer Blood are currently in the middle of a tour that'll keep them on the road and out of school clean through April. Up top in our Breaking video, check out the band's clip for "Swim."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

More Song Stories entries »