Um...wow. I can honestly say that I haven't heard an album this good in a loooooong time. I think everyone will have different (albeit positive across the board) interpretations of FL band Surfer Blood and their influences in making Astro Coast. I have read many positive comments about this album from my friends and over the interwebs/blogosphere. I did see a high rating on Pitchfork but didn't read the review as I wanted a completely unbiased/untainted Cugerock perspective on this one.
From the first track Floating Vibes I was immediately transported back into to early 90's. I thought "hmm...Sonic Youth? Dinosaur Jr?". That's not to say their sound isn't unique or dated. I believe Astro Coast is a pioneering record but certain chord progressions and song structures overall remind me of tracks from indie bands I was listening to in high-school/early college. There are songs like Slow Jabroni that start out broken and slow then (around the 3:40 mark) transform into a heavenly/mesmerizing/bob-your-head-slowly straight rock jam that tend to remind me of tracks indicative of early indie albums. So freaking good no matter how you categorize. However there are some more recent influences that can be heard as well.
There's some Sonic Youth, Sugar, Shins, Hum, Autolux, Archers of Loaf, Cribs, Superchunk, Cursive...hell even some quick Vampire Weekend (Take it Easy) and Fugazi (intro to Anchorage) sounding portions that are in there. Again, this is my interpretation. There are so many I cannot pinpoint. I welcome comments (as always) in regards to to some bands I haven't thought of. I feel like I'm missing a few.
Vocally they are relatively unchallenged but for some reason I hear a Tim Kasher (Cursive) or Ryan Jarman (The Cribs) similarity in a lot of the songs. Specifically with Swim that screamed "Ryan Jarman" and Harmonix that could have been a track on any Cursive record (skewing towards the more recent). The lyrics themselves are solid. They aren't too complex and have certain lines that jump out at you....specifically on Anchorage, Twin Peaks and Catholic Pagans.
I also will NOT note some of my "favorite tracks" as every single song is amazing from #1 to #10. I've had this album on repeat for weeks now. Please, please pick up this record.
BOLD STATEMENT ALERT! There are a ton of new albums that have come out and are scheduled to come out in 2010 however I do not see Surfer Blood Astro Coast leaving my #1 album of the year designation any time soon. Prove me wrong Thermals, Band of Horses, New Pornographers, Interpol, B&S etc....
Live performances (via their MySpace page)
Video for Swim