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In concert: Surfer Blood

Surfer BloodSurfer Blood didn't live up to its Internet-fueled hype at DC9 Wednesday. (Mark Abramson / The Washington Post)

By Patrick Foster

Yet more evidence that the Internet has made the concept of bands paying their dues obsolete: Surfer Blood. The West Palm Beach, Florida (I know, right?) band has gone from barely-existing bedroom recording project to sizzling indie buzz band in less than a year. But the band's show at a stuffy, sold-out DC9 last night was only a few leagues above high school talent show level and clearly revealed that what they really need is to spend some time paying their dues.

(Too much too soon, after the jump.)

The four fresh-faced Floridians (and one incongruous dude who looked like he time-traveled from Blue Oyster Cult circa '72) are touring behind "Astro Coast," their charming and occasionally hypnotic debut record.

Made almost single-handedly at home by singer/guitarist JP Pitts, the 10 songs mix the whooshy haze of My Bloody Valentine with the jitters of early Modest Mouse finished with a dose of vintage ramshackle indie (Polvo, Pavement).

On stage, Pitts and company couldn't rely on an arsenal of home-studio effects and were forced to reproduce the hooky propulsion of songs like "Swim" via sheer instrumental combustion. And while the 45-minute set was by no means embarrassing, there was a stiff, labored quality to the performances of "Twin Peaks," "Catholic Pagans," "Anchorage" and well, pretty much everything.

Sticking exclusively to tracks from "Astro Coast," the quintet added a few extended noisy codas, but those semi-improvisational bursts were tangential to the central issue: Surfer Blood is a young, inexperienced band and they played like it. Clearly, they were having a blast, but competently reproducing music just isn't that exciting. And after all, making both a very good debut album and having a galvanizing live show within your first year seems a bit outrageous.

Even in the age of the Internet.

By David Malitz  |  February 25, 2010; 12:49 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags: Surfer Blood  
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I didn't see the show - would've gone if I wasn't already going to see St. Vincent. I find the observations of the reviewer interesting and thoughtful, and more insightful than fawning reviews of the same show that I read on a couple of other local web sites whose names I probably do not need to mention (e.g., "and it helps you feel all cutting edge and great and ahead of the curve").

Posted by: MyPostID27 | March 2, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

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