Some records just rule. Consider Surfer Blood. Bolstered by a little hype and a lot of hard work, the magnetic power of debut LP "Astro Coast" made the West Palm Beach indie rockers one of the fastest rising musical acts in the world. In fact, the album's appeal is what pulled the band together in the first place.
Some records just rule.
Consider Surfer Blood. Bolstered by a little hype and a lot of hard work, the magnetic power of debut LP "Astro Coast" made the West Palm Beach indie rockers one of the fastest rising musical acts in the world. In fact, the album's appeal is what pulled the band together in the first place.
J.P. Pitts was well into the recordings that would become "Astro Coast" when he met Tom Fekete and Brian Black at an Ultra Music Festival afterparty last March in Miami. The new friends were immediately smitten with Pitts' intricately melodic, riff-driven rock tracks, so much so that on a whim Fekete dropped plans to join a new band in Miami and offered to play with Pitts instead.
Pitts saw his opportunity and moved fast, rounding up his new pals and longtime drummer T.J. Schwarz and beginning rehearsals immediately. Marcos Marchesani joined soon after on keyboards and percussion. By April, they played their first gig. Within a month, they were booking shows up the East Coast.
"Pretty soon after that I decided not to sign up for classes in the fall," said Pitts, 23.
The singer-guitarist called from a boisterous tour van in the Pacific Northwest. Not quite a year since Surfer Blood's first gig, they're in the midst of a 70-day North American outing that includes a stop Sunday at The Summit. The show marks the group's second Columbus appearance after a visit to Cafe Bourbon Street last November.
Back then, "Astro Coast" had yet to drop, but buzz was steadily building online. Now, a few months after its release, the album is already becoming enmeshed in a long canon of indie rock built on big guitars, catchy melodies and peculiar personality - think Pavement, Pixies, Built to Spill and The Shins' early work produced with radio-ready crispness and sounding echo-chamber huge.
"Seeing people singing the words is probably the most rewarding thing ever," Pitts said. "Last night we played in Vancouver, which is geographically one of the furthest points away from our home in Florida. To see people there singing our songs is kind of unreal."
The past year has been a series of surreal experiences for Pitts and company. Last fall, they bulldozed through a dozen gigs in four days at New York's CMJ Music Marathon; this spring, they played 11 more at Austin's South by Southwest festival.
"We did CMJ in October and that was pretty nuts, but South by Southwest was nuttier, definitely," Pitts said. "By the last day, I was not making any sense. Somehow we managed to get through all 11 shows and not mess up any of them."
With a European trek on the horizon and summer festival season gearing up, Surfer Blood won't slow down any time soon. It's a hectic life, but that's exactly what Pitts' crew had in mind when they dropped everything and hit the road last summer.
"I had never played a show outside of Florida until last July," Pitts said. "So this is all new to me."