The debut album of Florida band Surfer Blood absolutely rocks my shit. There, it’s been said. If you don’t wanna hang around for the rest of this review, that’s probably for the best, and unless you suffer from poor reading comprehension skills, that first sentence tells you that you should have immediately abandoned this review after reading said sentence, knocking over your crusty computer chair in a mad dash to grab your car keys and fly to your nearest record store to purchase Astro Coast. Barring that, if you are one of them digital-type persons, you should have at least furiously aggravated your carpal tunnel in the rush to download this album from your nearest legal purveyor of digital music. Seriously, are you still reading this? Go on, you can come back later to have your feelings validated about how kick ass of a record this is. Don’t worry, I’ll be here.
Oh, back so soon? Well, at this point, you may have given this record one or two spins, and maybe you’re thinking, “That Jason guy from the computer is wack! This album has yet to change my life in any profound manner. What a dick!” Well, stick with it, friend. I myself had to give this record several spins before I realized what a jewel I had on my hands, and it took me even longer to realize just what Surfer Blood had created: a perfect pastiche of all of the good things that have happened in indie rock since the late 80’s.
With every spin of Astro Coast, I hear a new glorious influence from some titan of indie rock. Here’s a list of influences that I have spotted so far: Pavement, Dinosaur Jr., Built To Spill, the Shins, early Weezer, the Pixies, Vampire Weekend (although Surfer Blood derives their influence from the Tropicalia sound moreso than West African rhythms), Modest Mouse, Sonic Youth, Secaucus-era Wrens, Fugazi, etc. Oh yeah, and throw a little Beach Boys in there, too. If that list looks as awesome to you as it does to me, then please purchase this record. Personally, it almost seems to me like someone interviewed me about what my favorite indie rock bands were, and then they proceeded to make an album based on those suggestions.
In addition to the bands mentioned above, Surfer Blood shares a lot sonically with now defunct Austin band Sound Team. But while Sound Team were criticized (most notably by Pitchfork) for being pretentious, there is not an ounce of pretension to be found on Astro Coast. This is guitar pop, pure and simple, and there is a simple little lead guitar run at the end of late album track “Anchorage” that summarizes everything I love about this album and good indie rock in general. Put it on, nod your head, and have a blast with this great new album.
25 Feb 2010