Surfer Blood Redefine ‘Retro’

You may have noticed this recently, or I’m losing my mind, but I think bars have been playing a lot of that turn-of-the-millennium rock revivalism and dance-rock and whatnot. Or, you know, The Strokes. It’s as if we’re finally nostalgic for 2001. And when an old Strokes song come on, you’re all: “Oh yeah! I remember liking this.” I bring all this up because Surfer Blood just released an old Strokes song.

Sorry, dudes from Surfer Blood and the PR person who has to read this for you regardless, but it’s true! That album you put out a few years back, Astro Coast, was all reverbed-out and soaring, saturated sound—now, with “Weird Shapes,” you’ve got the flatter, somehow more cynical aspect of, say, a band that’s from now on will be dogged by an association with domestic violence.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s actually pretty catchy. If the rest of Pythons, out this summer, strikes a similar pose, it’ll be worth a spin. And it wouldn’t be a terrible idea for other people to try and make music like this again. Hell, maybe even Julian Casablancas will give it a shot. 

Photo credit: Zachary Alexander Bennett

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BlackBook Tracks #7: Let’s All Care About Sports More Than We Normally Do

So, how about those Olympics? That’s a thing that’s happening, right? London’s being taken over by tourists and athletes and said athletes’ wild sex. Considering that I spend the majority of my time sitting in front of a computer, I don’t really know that much about sports, but here are some tenuously thematic tracks.

Hot Chip – “Wrestlers”
Not only are Hot Chip one of the best bands, their music will be used during the Olympics to score one of the best sports: ping-pong.

Girls Aloud – “Swinging London Town”
Sure, the Spice Girls are reuniting for the Olympics, but here’s something from another girl group on hiatus for you. Girls Aloud never grabbed much of an audience outside of the UK, but it’s never too late to discover pop perfection.

Surfer Blood – “Swim”
It feels like a while since we’ve heard from Florida rockers Surfer Blood, whose debut album Astrocoast was a favorite from 2010. Go ahead and listen to this while reading internet comments about the number of bags that need to be put over Michael Phelps’s head or something.

Jonquil – “Run”
Things I would rather do than actually go running: listen to this song from the perennially pleasant Oxford band Jonquil, featured on their recent LP Point of Go.

Tennis – “Petition”
I played tennis as a kid because my mom said I would like it and Michael Chang was a rare celebrity role model for Asian-Americans during the 90s. I wasn’t very good at it, so now the closest I get is listening to the retro-pop duo called Tennis. This is a highlight from their latest album Young And Old.

The Jam – “London Traffic”
So apparently, a huge influx of people entering a city makes traffic really bad. Here is a song entitled “London Traffic” from 1977, truly a message for the ages.

The Specials – “Too Much Too Young”
The closing ceremonies of the Olympics are set to showcase various artists from Britain’s proud musical history, including ska legends the Specials.

New Order – “Age of Consent”
Not only are New Order also performing at the closing ceremonies, it’s scientifically proven (not really) that “Age of Consent” is one of the best summer songs ever.

Blur – “For Tomorrow”
A significant portion of America is going to have to find out that Blur made more than “that woohoo song” when they headline the closing ceremonies. Here is my favorite Blur song, from 1993’s Modern Life Is Rubbish.

The Ruby Suns – “Olympics On Pot”
It’s almost guaranteed that someone from Vice is going to go to the Olympics on acid, but the title of this song offers a back-up idea.

Harry and the Potters – “Voldemort Can’t Stop The Rock”
The opening ceremonies of the Olympics are apparently set to include a bunch of Mary Poppinses fighting a giant Voldemort. Because there is no reason why they shouldn’t.