Surfer Blood

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Surfer Blood
Surfer Blood 2013.jpg
Surfer Blood performing at the House of Blues in Cleveland in 2013
Background information
OriginWest Palm Beach, Florida, United States
GenresIndie rock, post-punk revival, surf rock, alternative rock
Years active2009–present
LabelsJoyful Noise Recordings, Kanine, Warner Bros. Records, Fierce Panda (UK)
MembersJohn Paul Pitts
Tyler Schwarz
Mike McCleary
Lindsey Mills
Past membersKevin Williams
Thomas Fekete (deceased)
Brian Black
Marcos Marchesani

Surfer Blood is an American indie rock band from West Palm Beach, Florida, United States, currently signed to Joyful Noise Recordings formerly signed to Warner Bros. Records. The band has four members: John Paul Pitts (lead vocals/guitars), Tyler Schwarz (drums), Mike McCleary (guitars/backing vocals), and Lindsey Mills (bass/backing vocals).


Founding members John Paul Pitts and Tyler Schwarz started playing music together in Orlando, Florida[1] under the name Jabroni Sandwich.[1][1] They then moved back to their hometown of West Palm Beach, Florida and started playing with guitarist Luke Bovat and bassist Freddy Schwenk in 2008 under the name "TV Club." As this early incarnation of the group they developed most of the material that would end up on Surfer Blood's debut album, Astro Coast. TV Club lasted for about a year until Bovat was kicked out and Schwenk left the band. Around that time, Pitts and Schwarz met Thomas Fekete at an Ultra Music Festival after party in Miami and the group was re-named to Surfer Blood (a name that Schwarz randomly came up with during a conversation with Pitts about his surfer backpack from high school[2]) with the immediate goal of releasing a record and touring nonstop.[1]


The band's 2009 debut single, "Swim", gained much critical acclaim and was named as the 37th best track on Pitchfork's 100 Best Songs of 2009.[3] They released their debut album, Astro Coast, in January 2010.

The band were widely considered to be the breakout band of 2009's CMJ Music Marathon.[4] In March 2010, playing songs from their debut album, Astro Coast, Surfer Blood made quite a splash at the SXSW NPR music party (and returned to SXSW in 2011).[5] In May 2010, the band played at the ATP music festival curated by Pavement along with other groups such as Broken Social Scene, The Walkmen, and Atlas Sound.[6] Later that month, Surfer Blood headed over to Spain to join the lineup at the San Miguel Primavera Sound Festival.[7] In August of that year, Surfer Blood finished out the summer playing two more festivals; Splendour in the Grass in Australia[8] and Summer Sonic in Tokyo.[9]

The band was chosen by Les Savy Fav to perform at the ATP Nightmare Before Christmas festival that they co-curated in December 2011 in Minehead, England.[10]

On October 25, 2011, Surfer Blood released the Tarot Classics EP on Kanine Records. The EP's first single "Miranda" debuted on Pitchfork on August 30, 2011 and "I'm Not Ready" was named NPR's Song of the Day on December 8, 2011.[11][12] Artists that contributed remixes to the EP include Totally Sincere (Connor Hanwick of the Drums and Peggy Wang of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart), Speculator, School of Seven Bells and Allen Blickle.

The band opened for the Pixies during their Doolittle Lost Cities Tour in 2011. The tour came about after Pitts met the Pixies in an airport in New Zealand and they said they were already familiar with Surfer Blood's music. Surfer Blood performed a cover of their song "Gigantic" for The A.V. Club's music-video series "AV Undercover" which Pitts says he'd like to think that was "the needle that broke the camel's back when it came to the decision" to tour with them.[13]

On January 9, 2012, they appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon where they performed the single "Miranda" off of Tarot Classics. The next day, news spread that the band would be entering the studio in February 2012 with producer Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, Built to Spill) to record their highly anticipated second album which was released on Warner Bros. Records.[14]

In May 2012, the band confirmed via their Twitter account that they were moving to California on May 12, 2012 to record their second album with legendary producer Gil Norton.[15]

On January 21, 2013, they uploaded a new song off their next album, Pythons, called "Weird Shapes".[16]

In February 2014, the band announced that work on their third record had begun.

On May 20, 2014, the band debuted a video of them playing a new song titled "Island". The song has been played before back in 2011, during various radio sessions.

On September 16, 2014, a new song titled "NW Passage" was debuted on Soundcloud, as part of their split single with We Are Scientists.

On February 17, 2015, the band announced their third album "1000 Palms" and that it would be released on Fierce Panda / Joyful Noise Recordings on May 12. The lead single, "Dorian", was premiered on BBC Radio 1 at midnight.

Original guitarist Thomas Fekete left the band in 2015 shortly after the announcement of their third album, "1000 Palms," due to a medical diagnosis for a rare form of cancer (sarcoma) that had spread to his lungs and spine. He was diagnosed in the winter of 2014.[17] The band announced a fundraising effort to help alleviate Thomas' medical bills through the site GoFundMe on April 20, 2015. On May 31, 2016, Fekete's wife Jessica announced that he had died.[18]

In April 2015, the song "Swim" was featured in an episode of the Netflix series "Daredevil." [19]

Surfer Blood shared the video for album track "Island" in June 2015, in support of "1000 Palms".[20]

In October 2015, the band announced that their longtime bassist, Kevin Williams, was leaving the band to pursue a new job in Austin, TX. The band later announced that their long time friend from high school, Lindsey Mills, would be replacing Kevin on bass.[21]

The band's fourth album, Snowdonia, was released on February 3, 2017. It is the first album the band has released following Fekete's death,[22] and features Mills and guitarist Michael McCleary.[23]

Legal problems[edit]

In March 2012, frontman John Paul Pitts was arrested for domestic battery in Lake Worth, Florida. He pled no contest and agreed to complete a court supervised program, rather than go to trial as it would interfere with his tour plans.[24] All charges were eventually dropped.[25]


Lindsey Mills of Surfer Blood on stage at The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ in August, 2017




  • "Swim" (2009)
  • "Slow Jabroni" (2009)
  • "Take It Easy" (17-04-2010, Kanine Records)
  • "Swim" (01-05-2010, re-release on Rough Trade)
  • "Floating Vibes" (28-09-2010, Kanine Records)
  • "Miranda" (2011, Kanine Records)
  • "Demon Dance" (2013, Warner Bros. Records)
  • "Spanish Bombs" (2013, Warner Bros. Records)
  • "Grand Inquisitor" (2015, Joyful Noise Recordings) [31]
  • "I Can't Explain" (2015, Joyful Noise Recordings) [32]
  • "Women of Your Life" Sleeping Bag cover (2016, Joyful Noise Recordings)
  • "Evil Cat" (2016, Joyful Noise Recordings) [33]
  • "Six Flags in F or G" (2016, Joyful Noise Recordings)

Appearances in media[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Rising: Surfer Blood | News". Pitchfork. 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  2. ^ "Surfer Blood Interview: SXSW 2010". Spinner. 2010-03-18. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  3. ^ "Staff Lists: The Top 100 Tracks of 2009 | Features". Pitchfork. 2009-12-14. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  4. ^ "15 Industry Insiders Decode CMJ 2011's Breakout Buzz Band | SPIN | Newswire". SPIN. 2011-10-17. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  5. ^ "The Pitchfork Guide to SXSW 2011 | Pitchfork". Retrieved 2018-09-22.
  6. ^ "Stage Times for ATP curated by Pavement - updated with DJ times - Events - All Tomorrow's Parties". 2010-05-06. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  7. ^ "Stage at Primavera Sound Festival Lineup Announced | News". Pitchfork. 2010-04-30. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "LINEUP | SUMMER SONIC 2010". Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  10. ^ "Nightmare Before Christmas curated by Battles/Caribou/Les Savy Fav - All Tomorrow's Parties". Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  11. ^ "Surfer Blood: "Miranda" | Tracks". Pitchfork. 2011-08-30. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  12. ^ Butler, Will. "Surfer Blood: All The Right Spots". NPR. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ "Surfer Blood Stays Out Late on Jimmy Fallon | The Daily Rind". 2012-01-10. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  15. ^ "Surfer Blood start work on new album with Pixies producer". The Line Of Best Fit. 2012-05-05. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  16. ^ "Surfer Blood - Weird Shapes [Official Audio]". YouTube. 2013-01-28. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  17. ^ LeDonne, Rob (31 May 2016). "Surfer Blood guitarist Thomas Fekete dies at age 27". the Guardian. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  18. ^ "Medical -Thomas Fekete/Surfer Blood by Thomas Fekete". GoFundMe. 2017-02-13. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  19. ^ "The "Daredevil" Binge-Blog". Retrieved 2015-05-15.
  20. ^ "Surfer Blood announce UK tour and 'Island' video". Never Enough Notes. Never Enough Notes. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  21. ^ "Tweets with replies by Surfer Blood (@surferblood)". Twitter. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  22. ^ "Surfer Blood Announce New Album, Share New Song "Six Flags in F or G": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  23. ^ "Essential New Music: Surfer Blood's "Snowdonia"". Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  24. ^ "Surfer Blood's John Paul Pitts Arrested for Battery". Pitchfork. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  25. ^ Ryan Reed (2015-05-08). "Surfer Blood wants a fresh start: "Everyone wants to go to bed thinking everyone thinks they're a good person"". Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  26. ^ "Astro Coast - Surfer Blood : Awards". AllMusic. 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  27. ^ a b "Surfer Blood - Chart history (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  28. ^ "Surfer Blood Announces New Album Pythons, Tour Dates :: Music :: News :: Paste". 2013-01-28. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  29. ^ Belin, Jay (2011-06-16). "A Quickie With Surfer Blood's Thomas Fekete". NBC New York. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
  30. ^ "Hourly Haunts - EP by Surfer Blood on Apple Music". Apple Music. 2019-08-16. Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  31. ^ "Surfer Blood // Grand Inquisitor". Retrieved 2015-02-15.
  32. ^ "Surfer Blood // I Can't Explain / Death And The Maiden". Retrieved 2015-05-15.
  33. ^ "Surfer Blood / Lil Bub Split // Evil Cat / Bub the Builder". Retrieved 2016-05-13.

External links[edit]