At about 10:40 p.m. Thursday night, Surfer Blood made this announcement via Twitter: "Respectables...West Palm Beach...we are playing an impromptu gig tonight. We are playing new songs." As it turns out, the guys did exactly that about three hours later after a set by Lake Worth post-punk specialists Guy Harvey, who are amazing.
Loose atmosphere and the always challenging soundboard on Respectable Street's patio aside, things went remarkably well. This was probably the first gig I've attended there in a while that didn't include a power outage during a climactic moment in a song. The West Palm Beach pride resonated throughout the ten-song set, which featured six staples, a semi-recent addition to live shows in "I'm Not Ready" and three songs that Surfer Blood has never played in front of people.
According to guitarist Thomas Fekete, all three of the night's fresh tunes -- publicly untitled, as of this moment -- will be featured on Surfer Blood's upcoming EP, due in April. He also confirmed that the entire band has holed up in a house together in Palm Beach Gardens to begin demoing recordings.
Our thoughts on each new Palm Beach Haus Sessions (our title, not theirs) song, and apologies in advance for the Weezer comparisons:
"Untitled 1": The most striking thing about this track is that J.P. sings in the lower range of his voice and doesn't reach for the time-tested falsetto of many Surfer Blood songs. Kevin Williams' bass work here has pushed the band closer to a Pixies-inspired sound, but he grows a much better beard than Kim Deal. Easily Thomas Fekete's rawest guitar song of the night.
"Untitled 2": This was twee and jubilant and shared some similarities with a few Cars songs -- and a smidge of "Island in the Sun."
"I'm Not Ready": Whoa, this song gets better every time they play it. The bridge at the end was stunning, and forces me to break the Beatles-esque adjective that I decided to quit using as a New Year's resolution. Everyone in the crowd knew this one by heart already.
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"Untitled 3": Totally a track for the rhythm section to wild out on. T.J. Schwarz and Marcos Marchesani both get gold stars with exclamation points. "Surf Wax America," but only slightly. Even if the guys claimed they "fucked that one up," it kept the crowd engaged.
Take it Easy
I'm Not Ready