Just as Janet Jackson is mulling amove to an indie label
, West Palm Beach sensation Surfer Blood is sidling up to a major. "We actually just signed a deal withWarner Bros.
International," Surfer Blood frontman J.P. Pitts recently told
, confirming what had been a topic on many locals tongues for the past couple of months. Given the band's fervent support of many of the other rising local bands, this seems like a move that'll benefit the band and the South Florida scene on the whole in myriad ways.
Five positives of a Surfer Blood + Warner Bros. equation follow.
WB is stacked and has South Florida in its sights: Quality acts currently on the label who have grown from an indie background and maintained (and sometimes increased) critical integrity include Against Me!, Arctic Monkeys,
Built to Spill, Devendra Banhart, Devo, the Flaming Lips, Jean Grae,
Mastodon, Neil Young, R.E.M., Regina Spektor, Jenny Lewis & Rilo
Kiley, Talib Kweli, Tegan & Sara, the White Stripes, and Wiz Khalifa. A large percentage of these actually get booked on tours that visit South Florida.
WB is secure-ish: No one is truly safe in this current climate, but with a stable of legacy and current superstars on the label, there's some assurance that it'll be around as long as Surfer Blood wants to play ball. Cheers to Eric Clapton, Green Day, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks,
Lindsey Buckingham, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park, Muse, Metallica,
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Michael Buble, and Josh Groban.
WB can help Surfer Blood make amazing art: Although it doesn't always happen (sorry, Interpol), there's a great opportunity for a well-organized band to use the greater resources afforded them at a major. Prince wasn't too happy about the arrangement by the time he left Warner Bros., but his body of work as a "slave" is unfuckwithable. In the case of Surfer Blood, hopeful parallels can be ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, who released the game-changing masterpiece Source Tags and Codes after rising to a major label deal, or the string of Elektra releases by the Afghan Whigs. Even better would be WB's Built to Spill, which thus far has avoided any serious blowback in public and has released umpteen awesome albums and will forever rival the potato as Idaho's best import. Two new songs that could figure into listeners' future fortunes are posted here.
WB will listen to more South Florida bands: Having local pop sensation Jason Derulo on the WB roster isn't exactly creating inroads for up-and-coming rock bands in the area, but the members of Surfer Blood have already made a habit of giving shouts to a load of talent via Twitter and in interviews. They are bringing the Dewars out on tour later this fall, and studio work and local performances have spread the net wide. We know that reps from WB were here recently to hear at least one other gifted band from the region, so more of these announcements could be coming soon.
WB will help these guys live and thrive, ultimately: Being in a touring band -- even one with a good Pitchfork review -- doesn't always come with a 401k, dental insurance, or a lot of guarantees about the future. A lot of focused work has gone into Surfer Blood's achievements during the past 12 months, and hopefully the additional backing can be a platform for all of the musical, artistic, and personal goals the band hopes to reach in the future. Plus, getting on the phone with labelmate Adam Sandler is now that much easier.