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Surfer Blood - Snowdonia Album Review

Surfer Blood rocked up in 2010 with the strident "Astro Coast", the unlikely love child of Sonic Youth and Vampire Weekend. 2013's "Pythons" rode in triumphantly astride Weezer's first two albums. "1000 Palms", in 2015, was mid-tempo, mellifluous and meek, unassuming in comparison to its arsey siblings.

Surfer Blood - Snowdonia Album Review

But what happens when a band member dies? Things fall apart? The centre cannot hold? Surfer Blood could have easily folded by now. Having mourned the death of guitarist, Thomas Fekete, from cancer in 2016 and having seen bassist Kevin Williams leave, they were half a band down. Restaffed and rebooted, they return with guitarist, Mike McLeary, bassist Lindsey Mills and a sound closer to their original one.

Mixed and written by lead singer John-Paul Pitts, "Snowdonia" is suitably characterised by peaks and troughs. Pitts' vocals are often a tad low in the mix, rendering some lyrics hard to follow. There aren't stand-outs like "Floating Vibes" and "Anchorage" from "Astro Coast", or "I Was Wrong" on "Pythons". Yet, the title track is a soaring, surf-prog soundscape, with an enticingly-layered 75-second opening - guitars plus tambourine, bass next, then drums, growing into a complex sequence of three distinct movements. Consistently beguiling throughout is Mills' undulating bass, the pleasantly irregular heartbeat of "Frozen in the Armory" and the agonised love song "Dino Jay". Opener, "Matter of Time", has a happy, snappy, poppy, preppy pep - guitars surging like we're all cresting a wave.

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Help Surfer Blood's Thomas Fekete Undergo Life-Saving Cancer Treatment

Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood fans and just generally charitable folk, listen up. Guitarist Thomas Fekete has revealed that he is fighting for his life having been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that's spread to his lungs and spine. In order to get better, he needs your help to fund an 'alternative treatment plan' that could well bring him back to the stage.

Thomas Fekete from Surfer BloodThomas Fekete needs your help

Fekete recently had surgery to extract a large tumour from his abdomen and was subsequently diagnosed with a virulent sarcoma that's now hit his lower spine and lungs. While he reveals that he will be undergoing radiation and chemotherapy, he explains that he is prepared to undergo a bonus treatment to help him further. 'I found a doctor who is on the cutting edge of cancer treatments, and we have assembled a team of brilliant doctors who all seem to be extremely confident in an alternative treatment plan, to complement the chemotherapy', he tells fans on his Go Fund Me page. Speaking of which, he also adds that his health insurance will not cover the new treatment and so this is why he needs you to get involved.

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5 Venues You'll Want To Visit At SXSW 2015

South by Southwest Wolf Alice BØRNS Delta Spirit The Vaccines Palma Violets Lolawolf The Cribs Surfer Blood The Dodos Deerhoof Of Montreal Gengahr Dry the River Mini Mansions James Bay Laura Marling Milky Chance Twin Shadow Gang Of Four Courtney Barnett Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros James Vincent McMorrow

SXSW 2015 is set to take over Austin, Texas for yet another spectacular event, spanning numerous venues with countless showcases and hundreds of artists. We may be a few weeks away yet, but here's a little taster of some of the best places to be this year.

First up, the Parish is hosting some seminal shows all week, so this should definitely be at the top of your schedule. Wednesday, March 18th sees alt rock Londoners Wolf Alice on the bill, impressing with material from their EP releases; though we are yet to see an album release from these four. Equally, LA newcomers BØRNS are not to be missed, nor are San Diego indie favourites Delta Spirit. Thursday sees The Vaccines promote their upcoming album 'English Graffiti', alongside Palma Violets with 'Danger In The Club', while New York's Lolawolf brings their brand of sensational disco pop to the scene. Friday will be headlined by the Jarman brothers' band The Cribs, and Saturday will see appropriate surf-rock from Florida four-piece Surfer Blood.

Borns promo
Borns will perform at the Parish on Wednesday, March 18th 2015

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Ellie Goulding, Goo Goo Dolls And Pretty Lights Are Among The Acts To Look Forward To At Florida's SunFest 2014

Ellie Goulding Surfer Blood Kid Rock Robin Thicke Goo Goo Dolls J. Cole Bangles Pretty Lights Alice In Chains Dropkick Murphys The Wailers

Sunfest 2014 Logo

SunFest is back in Florida once again with another impressively diverse line-up and non-stop activity for five days. This year, the bill is headlined by Kid Rock, Ellie Goulding and Robin Thicke.

Probably the best sun-soaked family vacation you could ask for at such great value, SunFest arrives at West Palm Beach today (April 30th 2014) with a line-up that truly has something for everyone - if you'd pardon the cliché. Like any decent festival, filling in the spaces between bands is everything from the BB&T Juried Fine Art & Craft show to the Floating Oasis barge parties, not to mention the much anticipated fireworks display on Sunday. Having hosted its first event in 1982, it's no wonder it has remained such a family favourite, attracting over 165,000 revellers each year.

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Surfer Blood Return To The Festival Scene This Year For Coachella & Suburbia Festival 2014

Surfer Blood Coachella

Surfer Blood

Florida four-piece Surfer Blood had an incredibly busy summer last year doing the festival rounds in support of their album 'Pythons', but can we expect a similar year for 2014?

Well, maybe. We're incredibly excited about their forthcoming appearance at California's hottest music and arts festival Coachella, and we can only hope that the rest of the world will be treated to similar thrills. They will be performing on April 13th and April 20th alongside artists such as Blood Orange, Daughter, AlunaGeorge and Krewella, which will make for a fun time socially if not musically. 'As far as festivals go, I like the camaraderie between the bands', vocalist John revealed in a video interview. 'You're all in the backstage area together and it feels like you're all just at this summer camp for adults.'

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Passion Pit And Two Door Cinema Club To Play At Coastline Festival 2013

Passion Pit Two Door Cinema Club Matt And Kim Fitz & The Tantrums The Joy Formidable The Neighbourhood The Mowgli's Surfer Blood Blondfire Capital Cities St. Lucia

Coastline Festival 2013 logo

Florida's Coastline Festival 2013 is set to arrive in less than two weeks, bringing with it a handful of the recent indie and rock sensations as well as great beer and great food.

The festival will hit the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on November 9th 2013 before moving to the Cruzan Amphitheatre in West Palm on the 10th. It describes itself as a 'A Musiculinary Experience' - and that it certainly will be with an absolutely stellar line-up led by Massachusetts' Passion Pit, whose second album Gossamer was in the top five on the US Album Chart last year, and Irish collective Two Door Cinema Club who topped their Nation's charts with their sophomore release.

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Surfer Blood, Astro Coast Album Review

There's no shortage of surfer vibes around is there? From Wavves to Weezer to The Drums to Vampire Weekend, it seems like everyone is digging out their Beach Boys records for inspiration in the last couple of years.

Surfer Blood could just be another also ran, the US indie market is fairly crowded at the moment, and the Floridians have got to the crest of this wave a little late.

However, the surprise is that what hits you within the first few bars of Astrocoast is its crisp, melodic freshness. Isaac Brock's mature vocals and the beefy, big guitars convince of their potential not just half heartedly, but with a confident swagger reminiscent of early Weezer. Opener 'Floating Vibes' and the muscular single 'Swim' are two blasts of hot, salty summer air. 'Neighbour Riffs' similarly has a brilliant, runaway youthfulness about it.

Whilst there are brilliant pop songs in abundance on 'Astrocoast,' there are a couple of flaccid offerings which could have been spared the cut. For instance, "Take it Easy" is a straight lift from a Vampire Weekend song, with the spare drumming, delay guitar and the wimpy calico sentiment of "we should take it easy/or we will both be sorry." But next there lies the clever "Harmonix," and a creeping sense of unease gathers to the song's whip-sharp coda.

Their youthful, frivolous songwriting covers everything from David Lynch to references to wrestling. Incidentally, the slower 'Jabroni' is the superior one, and a serious moment on an otherwise light-hearted LP. The plaintive refrain 'take some time to figure it out/cos if you don't you gotta do without,' is singular and affecting.

Not that you should over analyse too much. Surfer Blood know the value of simplicity and a contagious melody, and that's what Astro Coast does well. A modern, inspiring pop album that raises hopes for the future of American guitar music.


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Surfer Blood, Interview

Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood hail from the dusky coast of Florida, and while their name may suggest their sound to be akin to a heinous noise implant somewhere between the ears and eyes, they're actually one of the most exciting exponents of melodic pop to emerge from the US underground scene in months.

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