Comprised of John Paul Pitts (lead vocals, guitar), Thomas Fetke (guitar, backing vocals), Kevin Williams (bass, backing vocals) and Tyler Schwarz (drums), the West Palm Beach, FL-based indie rock band, Surfer Blood can trace their origins to when the band’s founding members Pitts and Schwartz, who had been playing music together for some time in Orlando, FL had met Fetke at an Ultra Music Festival afterparty in Miami. Initially called Jabroni Sandwich, the trio had the immediate goal of writing and releasing a record and of touring. And as the story goes, Schwarz came up with the band’s actual name during a conversation in which Pitts referred to a surfer backpack he once had while in high school. Williams was later recruited to flesh out the band’s sound, and completed the band’s lineup.
The quartet quickly came to national prominence when several blogs and media outlets considered the quartet one of the breakout bands of 2009′s CMJ Festival – and when their debut single “Swim” was released to critical praise, landing at number 37 on Pitchfork’s 100 Best Songs of 2009. As a result, the quartet’s profile had expanded both nationally and internationally, with the band playing at the 2010 SXSW Festival; the ATP Music Festival curated by Pavement, which featured Broken Social Scene, The Walkmen, Atlas Sound and others; Spain’s Primavera Sound Festival; Australia’s Splendour in the Grass; Tokyo’s Summer Sonic; 2011′s ATP Nightmare Before Christmas Festival curated by Les Savy Fav; and landing an opening slot for Pixies’ Doolittle Lost Cities tour.
During that time, the quartet released three critically praised albums and the band’s soon-to-be released fourth album, 1000 Palms is reportedly the band’s most sophisticated to date and it finds the band in a bit of a crossroads, as Thomas Fetke has been sidelined while battling an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer. How that will impact the band and its future releases will remain to be seen but as the old saying goes: “the show must go on” – and the band will be embarking on a national tour to support 1000 Palms starting in May.
“Islands,” the album’s first single paris gently buzzing and reverb-y guitars with a simple and steady drum pattern, a breezy melody, a crowd-pleasing hook, complete with harmonized “oh wahs” and an ethereal bridge, and it evokes a crowd-pleasing, radio-friendly, twangy surfer rock – think endless summer days on the beach and drives down the Pacific Coast Highway. But underneath the breezy, summery feel, the song is actually much darker as it describes a relationship that has been irrevocably altered by deception.