surferblood final.jpg
Bargains everywhere!
The occasion: Following a stellar Bumbershoot performanc e just last month, the much-vaunted -- and recently signed to Warner Bros. records -- Floridian

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Record Shopping with Surfer Blood: Fleetwood Mac, the Supremes, Dreamboat Annie, Philip Glass, and the Soundtrack to Cats

surferblood final.jpg
Bargains everywhere!
The occasion: Following a stellar Bumbershoot performance just last month, the much-vaunted -- and recently signed to Warner Bros. records -- Floridian quintet Surfer Blood was back in town yesterday to co-headline Neumos with the Drums. The band has a recently acquired tour bus fitted out with a big screen TV and bunks in the back ("We got it through a friend of a friend," said lead singer JP Pitts. "Under normal circumstances, there's no way we'd be able to do that.") But they need to stretch their legs and find a more stimulating way to kill time before the show.

The challenge: Pitts and bassist Kevin Williams walk the half-block to Capitol Hill's Everyday Music with me. Each of them is free to peruse the store's record selection and purchase what they want -- as long as it's under the $7 budget.

Here's how it went down:

Tastemakers

"We're all so used to the world of iPods," said Pitts. "It's awesome to have something physical." Surfer Blood's been listening to some new stuff from their peers -- "The new Deerhunter is phenomenal," says Pitts. "There's this new band called Cults, they're coming here with the Morning Benders in a few weeks. They put on a really good show. The Morning Benders are obviously great."

Rummaging through Everyday's Bargain Bins of LPs, Pitts mentions that his favorite guitarists include Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo, Thurston Moore, and Jimi Hendrix -- "I don't care for all of his songs, but he was an innovator." His tastes in vinyl run more eclectic than your standard rock and roll though.

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Pitts and a Loggins/Messina record that sadly did not make the final cut.

Almost, But Not Quite

Some of Pitts' stronger contenders included:

  • Viva Bossa Nova: "I started getting in Django Reinhardt in the past year. I'd love to expand my knowledge of that whole genre of gypsy music."
  • Chet Atkins : "He played guitar in the 50s. He took a lot of popular songs and adapted them to a rockabilly style of guitar. He's one of my dad's favorite guitarists. My dad fancies himself like a Chet Atkins. He went out and bought a big hollowbody guitar. He taught me what he knew, like Cream songs."
Williams stumbles upon a treasure trove of Kenny Rogers records, all of which he passes on, as well as a copy of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters that's unfortunately too scratched to buy.

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Williams and the damaged Herbie.

The Final Cut

Impressively, both Pitts and Williams came in under budget. Here's a list of their respective loot:

Pitts' Picks

  • Love Is All's Two Thousand and Ten Injuries on CD: "This record is so good. I have it on vinyl, but I'll get it on CD too. This one has more of a pop sensibility to it than their other stuff, which is a little more spastic - still completely awesome."
  • The Venezuelan guitarist Alirio Díaz's 400 Years of the Classical Guitar: "That so ambitious of him," says Pitts (who himself studied classical guitar at Florida Atlantic University).
  • Fleetwood Mac, Rumours: The first record Pitts spotted and immediately started his pile with it. The record is $1.
  • Songs and Dances of Finland: "We went to Finland on our last European trip. It was unlike any other place we've been. I just want to know more."
  • Pretty In Pink soundtrack: "It has New Order, the Smiths, and Echo and the Bunnymen on it!"
  • Heart, Dreamboat Annie: "My mom really loves Heart."

Williams' Picks

  • Philip Glass: "Great, great composer," says Williams
  • Diana Ross & The Supremes, Greatest Hits: "I love Motown. My whole family's from Detroit. I think I already have one Supremes record, but this one has all the hits."
  • Damon & Naomi: Previously of Galaxie 500, Williams says the duo is "another one of the many married couples in indie rock."
  • The soundtrack to Cats: This LP is deemed essential by both Williams and Pitts. "We just recently pressed a T-shirt that's a blatant Cats ripoff," says Pitts. "The eyes, instead of dancing figures, it has the Illuminati pyramid, and it says Surfer Blood instead of Cats. But no one buys it because I guess people don't like Cats."

The total comes to $13.58, which means Pitts and Williams bested the challenge. Quality budget shopping does exist!

 
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