If you’ve read anything about Florida’s Surfer Blood — and in its short life so far, the band has amassed a lot of press — you’ve read that they sound a little like indie-rock giants Built to Spill, Pavement, the Pixies, and Pinkerton-era Weezer. And perhaps you’ve seen their T-shirts, which are meant to recall Joy Division. All these are good influences, but they also suggest some mighty big shoes to fill for a young band that has only existed for about a year.
The buzz machine really started turning for Surfer Blood last spring when they played 13 shows in New York for the five-day CMJ (College Music Journal) conference. Tours with Art Brut and Japandroids helped spread the word. And once the singles “Swim (to Reach the End)” and “Floating Vibes” started flying around the internet, the hype got heavy. “Floating Vibes” is a great song, opening with a powerful power-chord guitar part that gives way to gentler, Shins-like verses. Their debut, Astro Coast, reveals other pleasures, like the post-punkish “Harmonix” and the out-of-nowhere percussion-and-flute breakdown in “Twin Peaks,” which is partly about renting David Lynch movies at a video store.
It’s moments like that when Surfer Blood starts to escape the burden of their influences and give hope that they’ve got more surprises to offer. A New York Times review of one live show chided Surfer Blood for their “indie-rock classicism” delivered in “dutiful fashion.” But that probably says more about jaded rock critics than anything else. Singer-guitarist J.P. Pitts has a way with a cool guitar part and a catchy melody, and that’s enough for now.
SURFER BLOOD: Bar Pink, Friday, March 26, 10 p.m. 619-564-7194.