Taking MetroNorth….only for Surfer Blood

19 May

Have you ever liked a band so much that you chased them to another town just to to see them in concert? Liked them so much that you left NYC on a Friday night… to go to Westchester? This is no Almost Famous, but that’s what I’d like to think I did, with Eric and other friends, when we heard Surfer Blood was going to be playing at CUNY Purchase’s Cultureshock. Although it’s only about a 30 minute train ride away in White Plains, I had never been there nor had I really wanted to. But, I’m glad I did, because Surfer Blood ROCKS.

Surfer Blood is a great up-and-coming band. It’s hard to pinpoint their genre, but with a name like that it’s hard not to hear a low-fi “surfer” vibe. An Energetic, full, rhythmic, and catchy experience is waiting for you if you decide to try them out (you won’t regret it). “Swim” is the famous single, probably the only song that most of the Purchase students at the concert actually knew, and has been verified hawt by Pitchfork. I prefer the throwback, almost-80s vibe of “Twin Peaks” and the tortured, strung out, “Slow Jabroni.” One thing that makes their songs so strong is that they are very different, yet all very structured. There are discernible influences from 80s rock and 90s grudge but there also remains a very modern feel; unlike other new bands I’ve heard out of the indie circuit. According to last fm, similar artists include Real Estate and Titus Andronicus, also the more well-known Girls. Coupled with these musicians primarily because of the newness associated with this scene, the bands share similar and experimentally youthful qualities but Surfer Blood stands apart. Wikipedia praises their sound, comparing them to Weezer, Pavement, and Built to Spill. These comparisons come from the powerful voice of the lead singer, whose voice does not overpower the songs, but certainly defines them. It’s impossible also not to notice the clever and simple guitar riffs, no doubt they will get stuck in your head.

The shitty crowd at Surfer Blood.

The concert itself was satisfactory and certainly worth the train ride. Of course, under the influence of beer, shots, and the courage that comes from knocking over a huge link of carnival fences and being subsequently booed, I was pretty stoked to finally be hearing my favorite band of 2010. The sounds quality was not the best- we were in the third row and it was set in the middle of a dewey field, but we managed to semi-mosh / jump-off among the disinterested purchase kids. The band was neither bouncing off the walls nor did they stay still during the show. They played exactly as they should have to a crowd of cigarette-puffing, leather-clad college students. They played their songs to almost album quality while keeping their energy level high but still mirroring that of the festival crowd. They made sure to acknowledge CUNY Purchase- it was hard not too since everyone there (except for us!) was “celebrating” their annual music festival. Honestly, the crowd was weak, and the concert did not have the power to remove the context of the awkward and pretentious crowd, who barely swung their hips at all during the concert (save the drunk crowd of girls next to us who just kept screaming, “SWIM!!!”). However, the quality of Surfer Blood’s music and live performance was enough to leave an impression among those who were unfamiliar with the band despite the lukewarm reception. Most memorable was “Catholic Pagans,” which they played last to the satisfaction of a few requesting fans, who screamed along with the playful lyrics, “Never could keep still for long, and I could never hold a job. Coupled with a weakness for cocaine, and liquor, not much you can do for love.”

Here’s a link to “Twin Peaks”

Don’t worry, though, as the song suggests, they had turned around their lack of motivation and now present the impressive and refreshing, “Astrocoast.” Make sure to check it out. It’s also just been announced that they, along with bands like Matt & Kim and Pains of Being Pure at Heart, will headline this year’s SirenFest, the free NYC music Festival that will take place June 17th at Coney Island.
More Info on Siren: http://siren.villagevoice.com/2010/press.php

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