Talkhouse Weekend Playlist: Surfer Blood Remembers Thomas Fekete Through Music

Darkness and inspiration from the band ahead of their next release.

On February 3, Surfer Blood will release their latest album, Snowdonia. After the tragic loss of guitarist Thomas Fekete, heavier themes loom throughout the record. However, as you can see throughout this playlist made by John Paul Pitts, Fekete’s influence lives on through the music the band used to listen to together, as well as tracks from his own album Burner. Listen below for some of Surfer Blood’s favorite songs and albums, and make sure to check out the new record.
–Dave Lucas, Talkhouse Marketing Manager

The Clientele – “I Had To Say This”
This is track one from my favorite record ever, hands down. I first heard this record back in 2010 on Surfer Blood’s first West Coast tour. I woke up from a nap when we were passing the windmills outside of Palm Springs. Our friend Nadav had put on this record, Suburban Light, and I asked him what it was. Since then I’ve listened to it hundreds of times.

The Bats – “Block of Wood
Great song, great record, great band. The whole Flying Nun Records period in New Zealand was an awesome time and place for music. I love so many of these bands: the Clean, the Verlaines, etc., but this record, Daddy’s Highway, may be my favorite.

Thomas Fekete – “Knife Bank”
I’m so proud of Thomas for making this record despite everything. He was well into his chemotherapy treatments when he recorded these songs on a four-track. I love all his songs, but this one has one of the most creative guitar riffs I’ve ever heard. RIP.

Stephen Malkmus – “Jenny & the Ess-Dog”
I’m a huge fan of Pavement and the Jicks, but I had never heard this song until about a year ago. Malkmus is one of my favorite lyricists, so it’s cool to hear him being so straightforward in this song. His style is usually more ambiguous.

Mitski – “Dan the Dancer”
This is such a cool and moody song. Mitski is super talented and I’ve been listening to this record a lot.

Women – “Group Transport Hall”
This is one of the best bands of the past decade. We were all obsessed with this record and Public Strain, and were so sad to hear about the death of their guitarist. We saw them in Toronto back in 2010 and were blown away.

Big Star – “Thirteen”
Thomas got me into this band about a year and a half ago, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t listened to them before. Everything I’ve heard is so cohesive and polished, one of the best relatively unknown bands of an era. There’s also a great documentary about them on Netflix.

Sleeping Bag – “Women of Your Life”
On tour last spring we stayed in Indianapolis with Karl from our label (Joyful Noise), and he gave me this CD to listen to in the van. I fell in love with it immediately, and we ended up recording a cover of this song for a Joyful Noise compilation this year (I think you can find it online). We eventually met Dave from Sleeping Bag and have kept in touch ever since. He’s great at basketball!

Ovens – “Fired from the Vogue Parts 1 & 2”
This is a band that Dave (from Sleeping Bag) got me into. People compare Surfer Blood to Weezer a lot, but this band is the ’90s I never had. The main songwriter from Ovens also puts out music under his own name: Tony Molina.

Nick Lowe – “So It Goes”
This song is the best; we listen to it when we’re getting pumped.

Boston Spaceships – “You Satisfy Me”
We’re all huge Guided By Voices/Bob Pollard/Boston Spaceships fans. We recently had the honor of going on tour with GBV and it was so inspiring to watch Bob get on stage every night and sing for three hours. I have no idea how this guy puts out three LPs per year and still has time for a side project. He’s so consistent and I really admire him.

Angel Olsen – “Shut up Kiss Me”
Her voice is amazing, and the production on the last few records has been really impressive. She can take a simple chord progression/melody and make it heartbreaking.

Saves the Day – “Driving in the Dark”
This was on repeat in the van summer of 2012. I like Saves the Day, but I love this record, In Reverie, front to back. It was recorded and mixed by Rob Schnapf, who has mixed two Surfer Blood records and taught me so much about recording through the years.

Lilys – “Will My Lord Be Gardening”
This was one of Thomas’ favorite bands. He would play them in the van non-stop and was even talking about making a documentary about them back in 2014.

Swirlies – “Pancake”
This song blew my mind the first time I heard it back in 2009. I don’t remember who showed it to me, but it’s been on repeat for eight years now. The vocals are soft and up front in the mix, while the guitars are going nuts the entire time. The ending is harsh, discordant and beautiful.

T. Rex – “Monolith”
My favorite song. So soothing and beautiful.