If CMJ only helps a handful of bands, one will be Surfer Blood. In my mind, Surfer Blood will always the band whose buzz was almost quantifiable on Twitter around the time of their Bruar Falls show this past August. I first heard about Surfer Blood from Pop Jew, but I never made it out to that show (even though I wrote a little report on them for someone earlier that day). The next day, Sound Bites wrote this favorable review, Ryan Schreiber tweeted his regrets of not going, and Surfer Blood was Forkcasted later that day. And, they were signed onto Kanine the night before at Bruar Falls. Less than 24 hours.
Out of the bands playing CMJ this year, the one I've been looking forward to the most is Surfer Blood. Around the time that The Great Pumpkin wrote about Surfer Blood, I realized that I also really dug the band's music. The song that first won me over was "Catholic Pagans" (which is not called "Catholic Pegasus," according to the band). Sung with aching vulnerability, "Catholic Pagans" is a song that's haunted me during many late nights on the subway, when I tend to lose myself in my iPod. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to see them twice in 24 hours for free! The best CMJ goodies are free or unofficial, so no badge required.
The Pop Tarts Suck Toasted CMJ Party had a killer lineup, and Surfer Blood's set was well-attended. As expected, all the bands were playing 20-25 minute sets. Although Surfer Blood's set was short, they knew how to bang out their catchiest songs. Like Sound Bites said, Surfer Blood's music is not life-changing, and that's completely okay in my book. Surfer Blood is irresistible, and I have to admit that I've fallen for their music, which means that they're going up on my list of current obsessions (scroll top right). These days, I rarely see bands who are really truly excited by their music and having the opportunity to play. Maybe it's because it's CMJ week, but the raw energy of Surfer Blood made me remember why live music is so thrilling in the first place. I hope to catch a full set sometime in the near future. These short CMJ snippets are more like amuse-bouches than appetizers.
Be sure to check out the samples below. I'm only posting the songs that are widely circulating the Internet, but the rest of the CD-R is awesome. I saw that Surfer Blood was selling copies of the CD-R and an awesome t-shirt. "Harmonix" is my current favorite, especially because they use guitar harmonics in the song. We all know that I love a good musical pun. Astro Coast will be released by Kanine on January 19, hopefully with a song called "Catholic Pagans" and not "Catholic Pegasus." I'm just really confused by that because there's a lyrical reference to catholic pagans in the song.
Surfer Blood is playing a total of 12 shows during CMJ, so you have no excuses! But, if you don't make it, watch out for their live set from Pianos on Standing Room. We will also be putting up some other sets from the Pop Tarts Suck Toasted CMJ Party. Follow me on the Twitter for those updates.
Swim (To Reach The End) - Surfer Blood
Harmonix - Surfer Blood