On their eponymous 2009 debut, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart spin more daring variations on collegiate sex than Vampire Weekend — doing it between the library stacks, making time with a prof, etc. — and would have fit right in as the house band on Gilmore Girls. In other words, they're smarter, sweeter, and dorkier than your average blog-rock hype-of-the-moment. They also rough up their twee with shoegazer noise and "Be My Baby" beats. I caught them at SXSW shortly after the album came out and the band's chiming, hooky pop translated better than I expected onstage.
Lead by songwriter/guitarist John Paul Pitts, Surfer Blood display a spikier sound on their 2010 debut album Astro Coast, reminiscent at times of Pavement and Weezer (big difference there, I know), but with elements of the implied surf-rock sound (both Dick Dale and Beach Boys varieties). But it's when the band gets polyrhythmic on a purloined Eagles title that I really fall for them.
Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Surfer Blood play the Hi-Tone tonight. Doors open at 9 p.m. Showtime is 10 p.m. Admission is $14. New York's Hooray for Earth start things off.
Here's a Super 8 video for the Pains of Being Pure at Hearts' "Young Adult Friction":
And here's a live-in-studio clip of Surfer Blood performing my fave song from Astro Coast, "Take It Easy":