Tag: Surf Rock Is Dead

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based indie rock duo and JOVM mainstays  Surf Rock Is Dead. And as you may recall, the band, which is comprised of Chicago-born, New York based Kevin Pariso and Melbourne, Australia-born, New York-based Joel Wittenberg quickly won attention across the blogosphere for crafting shimmering and anthemic guitar pop with enormous and rousing hooks and a wistful vibe, and for a sound that at times, to my ears at least, channels The Smiths and several other New Wave acts.

The duo’s soon-to be released EP We Have No Friends? is slated for an October 6, 2017 release with a limited edition vinyl run, and interestingly enough, the album’s title is a bit of a running joke between Wittenburg and Pariso and a bitter half-truth. As Surf Rock Is Dead’s Pariso explains “when we formed the project, we would spend late weekend nights jamming and writing music, instead of spending it out with friends. Putting time into a creative project definitely can hamper your social life, but the idea is that the fruit it bears will be worth the sacrifices. ”

As If,” the EP’s second single, which I wrote about earlier this summer further cemented the duo’s reputation for crafting shimmering guitar pop but with some rather ambitious songwriting — while being decidedly hook-laden, the song found the band at what may arguably be their most anthemic. “White Salsa,” We Have No Friends?‘s latest single continues along a similar anthemic vein as its predecessor as the duo pair layers of shimmering guitar chords with propulsive drumming and an infectious hook; but underneath the pristine beauty of the instrumentation, the song bristles with a bitterness of a relationship in which the song’s narrator recognizes a confusing push and pull, and is resolved to walk away.



Inadvertently over the past week, week and a half or so, I’ve focused on a handful of JOVM mainstay acts, who have released new material including Summer Heart, Tame Impala, Surf Rock Is Dead, METZ, The Afghan Whigs and others, and that streak will continue a bit longer with new material from another mainstays act, Widowspeak. And as you may recall, the act, which is currently composed of its  Tacoma, WA-born, Brooklyn-based founding members Molly Hamilton (vocals, guitars) and Robert Earl Thomas (guitar) can trace its origins back to 2010 when the band formed as a trio featuring Hamilton, Thomas and Hamilton’s longtime friend Michael Stasiak. As a trio they released their critically applauded 2011 self-titled debut, an effort that had album single “Harsh Realm” featured in an episode of American Horror StoryWith greater attention on the group, the then-trio recruited Pamela Garavano-Coolbaugh for their subsequent tours; however, by following year, Stasiak and Gravano-Coolbaugh left the band.

While in the middle of a massive lineup change, Hamilton and Thomas began working on their Kevin McMahon-produced sophomore effort Almanac, an album that was released to critical applause and growing national attention; in fact, the band was named one of Fuse TV‘s 30 Must-See Artists at 2013’s SXSW. And if you were frequenting this site back then, you would have come across a couple of posts featuring the acclaimed, Brooklyn-based duo. Up until earlier this summer, some time had passed since I had personally written about them but as it turned out the members of Widowspeak had been working on a new album, Expect The Best, which is slated for an August 25, 2017 through renowned indie label Captured Tracks Records. Album single “Dog,” as Widowspeak’s Hamilton told NPR is “about the compulsion to move on from things and places, even people when you’re not necessarily ready to. Sometimes I get caught up in ‘the grass is always greener’ mentalities or cling to an idea that ‘I’d be happy if . . .’ and make a drastic change. Then inevitably, I feel restless a few months later and it stars again.” While sonically, the song will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting moody and hazy guitar pop that channels Mazzy Star, the song possesses a restless and ambivalent vibe as it captures an easily bored and frustrated narrator, who desperately yearns for more and more and more. Expect The Best‘s latest single “When I Tried” is a slow, churning blues with layers jangling, guitar pedal effect guitars paired with a propulsive yet simple drum pattern  which Hamilton’s aching yet ethereal vocals float over, and much like its preceding single, captures a bored and frustrated narrator, who yearns for more and more — and yet feels hopelessly stuck and confused.

Interestingly though, as Hamilton explains to the folks at Stereogum “I didn’t go into this record trying to make every song about feeling stuck, or about self-doubt or anxiety. Those feelings aren’t really what you want to proclaim to the world or make a whole record about, even if it’s the truth. But, in the end, it ended up making more sense to be honest. ‘When I Tried’ is about when I was having a hard time starting things, or finishing them, maybe due to my own expectations of what it would turn into or maybe due to me doubting that I’d even be able to make it happen at all . . . I wasn’t sure what the motivation was anymore. Not specifically related to music, or creative work, but to everything. I wanted to get out and be social to take my mind off it, but I had a hard time keeping that up, too. It’s hard to keep up the effort of trying.”








Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may be familiar with the New York-based indie rock duo and JOVM mainstays Surf Rock Is Dead — and you may recall that with the release of their earliest singles, “Equinox,” “Late Risers”  “Zen A” “Anymore,”and “In Between,” the duo comprised of Chicago-born, New York based Kevin Pariso and Melbourne, Australia-born, New York-based Joel Wittenberg quickly won attention across the blogosphere for crafting shimmering and anthemic guitar pop with enormous and rousing hooks and a wistful vibe that channels The Clash‘s “Lost in the Supermarket” and The Smiths.

The duo’s forthcoming EP, We Have No Friends? is slated for a September 22, 2017 release with a limited edition vinyl run and the EP’s second and latest single “As If,” will further cement the duo’s reputation for shimmering guitar pop that manages to sound as though it could have been released in 1982 but with a modern production sheen and a swooning earnestness that manages to set it apart from mere mimicry; but interestingly enough, the song on a very subtle fashion manages to reveal some ambitious songwriting — with the band at their most decidedly anthemic.




With the release of their first batch of singles “Equinox,” “Late Risers”  “Zen A” and “Anymore,” the New York-based indie rock duo Surf Rock Is Dead first started to win the attention of the blogosphere, as well as this site; in fact, I wrote about the duo last year, just as they were about to release an EP — and as I wrote about “Anymore,” the EP’s standout single, the song reminded me a little bit of The Clash‘s “Lost in the Supermarket” but with a breezier, summery feel. And since then the band has been fairly busy — especially lately as they’re in the middle of a short tour with The Jezabels (check out their tour dates below, which include a stop tomorrow night at Music Hall of Williamsburg) and the release of their latest single “In Between,” a single that has the band pairing shimmering guitar chords fed through copious amounts of hazy reverb, a sinuous bass line, fuzzy yet propulsive drumming with ethereal vocals — and without a doubt, the song will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting wistful yet anthemic indie rock that manages to evoke the last blast of summer, and the uncertain, lingering end of a relationship.



Tour Dates w/ The Jezabels:

Dec 01 @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg – Brooklyn NY
Dec 03 @ World Cafe Live – Philadelphia, PA
Dec 05 @ Rock & Roll Hotel – Washington, DC