J.P. Pitts likes his hometown of West Palm Beach, Fla., where he conceived his reverb-drenched quartet Surfer Blood and its sunny 2010 indie debut “Astro Coast.”
“But I absolutely love California!” says the frontman, who first visited the state when he was 19 to attend Coachella, and plays in San Francisco this week.
“That trip really made me realize that to be in a band and playing music was my first priority. So I would describe California as a place that kind of feels like home, but nicer.”
When Surfer Blood inked a deal with Warner Bros. last year, the band relocated to Los Angeles, where they tracked their followup, “Pythons,” with producer Gil Norton of Pixies and Echo and the Bunnymen renown.
For most of 2011, Pitts, 26, resided in the Los Feliz area and happily fell into a West Coast groove.
”I really love that neighborhood because it’s so walkable, since I grew up having to drive everywhere in Florida,” says the singer-guitarist.
There was a little café down the street from his house, where he stopped for breakfast on his way to the studio.
“And there are two vegans in the band, so they really like California’s access to good vegan food,” he adds.
Theoretically, “Pythons” should have emerged Beach Boys-bubbly. It didn’t. The first song released, “Weird Shapes,” has jagged drum pattern, undulating tandem vocal-guitar line and hum-along chorus spiked with shrieks.
The lyrics concern someone suffering through a manic episode, Pitts explains, “That’s me, more or less. I’m affected by a lot of things, like weather. I’m a somewhat moody person.”
The next single, “Demon Dance,” is even more complex. Another experiment, “Blair Witch,” was based on guitarist Thomas Fekete’s antics on the group’s Twitter account.
“We grew a lot with this record,” says Pitts. “The songs are more dynamic, more dense, more punctuated, and we started writing choruses. We took a lot of extra time just writing. We also had access to a lot of toys that helped us expand our sonic palette.”