It’s winter of 2009. Billy Mays has died, Penn 2014 is about to finish high school and Ed, Edd and Eddy is off the air. All of these landmark events pale in comparison to one of my personal discoveries that year—a small, indie band from Florida named Surfer Blood that released its first LP, Astro Coast, in that same year.

For the uninitiated, Surfer Blood sound most like the bastard offspring of a love affair between the Pixies and the Beach Boys. They fall into what I affectionately call “surf core,” a genre which consists of Surfer Blood and… maybe uh… Wavves. Despite their pan–handle origins, Surfer Blood strive to evoke a California vibe, typically featuring heavy guitar and bass riffs, as well as vocals from frontman John Paul Pitts reminiscent of the Pixies’ Black Francis.

Astro Coast showcased their potential with its hit single, “Swim,” which got picked up on various music blogs thanks to its numbing distortion and oddly inspirational lyrics. But Surfer Blood has so, so much more than “Swim.” The rest of the album, save for a one or two throwaway tracks, is fantastic and on point, referencing relationship struggles, surfing and David Lynch in equal amounts.The album ends with “Catholic Pagans,” a beautiful bonfire of a song perfectly fit for a night on the coast. “Catholic Pagans” exemplifies Surfer Blood’s hazy beach aesthetic, coupling longing, metaphorical lyrics with a dreamy melody—I want all the warmest memories in my life to feature this song in the future.

A couple of years later, Surfer Blood released Tarot Classics, a cohesive, four–track EP that occasionally got radio play. The third track, “Voyager Reprise,” pulls the same chords that “Catholic Pagans” does. Its lyrics are relatable yet dense, while the instrumentals mirror “Catholic Pagans” in their plodding nature. Some of Surfer Blood’s best songs are their slowest, often showcasing Pitts’ relationship struggles (he faced a brief domestic abuse scandal last year) and interior monologue. The newest album, Pythons, treads somewhat too deeply into Pitts’ negativity resulting from the abuse scandal, yet the pain and anger show through with some fantastic hits, particularly the first track, “Demon Days.” Unapologetically catchy, “Demon Days” will probably outlast Surfer Blood, for better or for worse—either way, it’s a fantastic, upbeat song that truly embodies the band. So check it out!

I’ve seen Surfer Blood in concert twice—once at the Electric Factory as an opener for Foals, and more recently as the main act at TLA. At the Foals show, my friend shrieked above the crowd for “Catholic Pagans” as the band finished their set. The bassist looked directly at us in the middle of the crowd, shrugged his shoulders and walked off stage. My friend left, but I was lucky enough to meet JP Pitts after the show and interview him for Street—unfortunately I was far too starstruck and exhausted for the interview to make too much sense, so I never ran it. When I saw Surfer Blood at TLA they played a perfect show, even including “Catholic Pagans” after we screamed our lungs out for it. I ran into JP Pitts at the end and apologized for our last encounter, to which he said “no worries.” So, John Paul, this article is for you and the rest of the band. Great show, great music, keep on trucking because I can’t live without your stunning guitar licks in my life.