Who: Smith Westerns
What: Smith Westerns
Where: Chicago, Illinois
Why: “I can tell by the stars in your eyes that you’re a girl / in / love.”
How: Horizontal Action
When my dear friend and co-music connoisseur Amy wrote to me, defeated, that she would be accompanying her boyfriend down to sweaty Tampa come June rather than returning to the dry, majestic mountains of the West as her heart so ardently desired, I suggested she put her killer writing and photography skills to work by starting a blog about mullets. When that didn’t seem to help assuage her fears of foraying into a hot, culture-less void full of Tex-Mex, retirement communities, and requisite bingo nights, I thought about telling her about how much fun I had when I went to Florida in the fifth grade. At age 10 I couldn’t have been more thrilled to see the palm trees swaying in the stifling breeze, snorkel in salty bathwater in the middle of August (which was stingray season), and entertain my budding career as a marine biologist at SeaWorld (even though my little sister got picked to pet the dolphins as I sat there in the audience and cried). And then I thought again.
Instead, I made it my mission to pass along any and all musical morsels I discovered coming from the Sunshine State. First, the Harvest of Hope Fest in St. Augustine, which boasts not only a great lineup but also benefits migrant farm workers across the country. Then, suddenly, Surfer Blood. Be forewarned: this West Palm Beach-based band of five is a contradiction in terms. They don’t surf, nor did they catch the trend train to Transylvania. (No matter. Their new name sure sounds better than Jabroni Sandwich.) Their songs are full of strong hooks, but not the fishing kind. And, for all the beach scenes its upbeat feel and oceanic imagery invokes, Astro Coast tends toward lyrics better suited to a therapy session than a volleyball game. (I’d be sad if I lived in Florida, too.) If you didn’t nab tickets to their sold-out show at Bottom of the Hill tomorrow night, you have another chance to see them—for free—at Amoeba on Haight at 6 pm tonight.
Who: Surfer Blood
What: Astro Coast
Where: West Palm Beach, Florida
Why: “If you’re moving out to the West, then you’d better learn how to surf.”
How: Kanine Records