Well, after much talk on this here blog, Surfer Blood's Tarot Classics is up for public perusal. It's a slickly produced collection that begins in the straightforward indie rock territory where the band began, and wraps up where the guys could be heading in the future (during their current studio time with Built to Spill studio buddy Phil E(c)k). We're excited to hear what's in the cards for that one.
With tour dates with the Pixies starting up in late October, the fellas from West Palm Beach seem poised to get this material out and get a lot of of these units moved at the merch tables across America. It's not unlike the many calculated moves the band has orchestrated since its breakout at 2009's CMJ Music Marathon. In a piece set up by new Senior Editor (and Hipster Puppies author) Chris Weingarten, SPIN breaks down their rise and the rise of several other CMJ studs here.
Opener "I'm Not Ready" has been around since the early days of the band, and found its way into live sets for quite some time. Easily the most straightforward, catchy jam of the set, the mid-paced track pushes J.P. Pitts' hummable vocals to the forefront. "Miranda" whips things into a Pixies-fueled fury, and "Voyager Reprise" links up to its closing bars. The latter song shows a push for a heavier, darker tone. Although there's still an infectious keyboard line as a backbone, and the friendly harmonica solo tucked in, there's a touch of sadness inherent in it. "I can't go out because I'm sick with myself," Pitts sings in a slightly lower register than usual. "Leave it to me, up to me to feel sorry."
And then there's "Drinking Problem," which is the most fascinating and promising of the bunch. With the refrain "At least I know who my friends are," there's an undercurrent of mistrust and alienation running through the words. Instead of the sunny surf-inflected guitar tracks of Astro Coast, the more-synthesized accoutrements sound hardened and eventually erupt into some mean feedback. It's the ideal emotional finish to the collection.
Check out all of Tarot Classics, including two new remixes, at SPIN.