The sounds that inform 'Snowdonia'...
Surfer Blood (Credit: Eilin Suarez)

Surfer Blood have been through some enormous changes.

Losing guitarist Thomas Fekete to cancer last year, the band attempted to push through their grief by focussing on new music.

Doing what they loved seemed to provide Surfer Blood with renewed purpose, and even though the grief never quite goes away they've found a path through.

New album 'Snowdonia' is out now, and it's the sound of a band who want to take risks, who know that change is always a virtue.

The band's first to be written and mixed solely by John Paul Pitts, it finds Surfer Blood entering fresh ground with absolute confidence.

Clash invited John Paul to map out a few points of inspiration...

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The Clientele – 'Suburban Light'

We were listening to this record on repeat during our first tour in California and Arizona. Most people probably don’t associate this band with the desert, but the juxtaposition of the music and landscape stuck with me.

I love Alasdair MacLean’s subdued finger-picking, and that the whole record is so soft you have to turn your stereo way up to hear it. The vocals sound like they were recorded through a Fender Twin amp with the reverb all the way up, the songs are haunting and beautiful.

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Dinosaur Jr. – 'You’re Living All Over Me'

This record has informed my guitar style since I was in high school. Before I heard it I was listening to mostly punk and hardcore music, but when I heard J Mascis’ solos and slacker vocals I decided that I wanted to start writing more melodic songs. The juxtaposition of loud overdriven guitars and soft, sensitive vocals/ lyrics is something I’ve looked to for inspiration ever since.

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Fugazi – 'Instrument Soundtrack'

I’m not sure if the soundtrack to the Instrument documentary was meant to be listened to as an LP, but it works. It took me a while when I was younger, it’s a lot of outtakes, improvised jams, and even a piano song (one of the best moments on any Fugazi record).

I was young and expecting to hear faster, more aggressive songs, but the more I listened to 'Instrument' the more I liked it. I love how unfinished it is, it gives you insight in the process of one of the most prolific bands of an era.

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Women – 'Women'

I was listening to this album non-stop while recording our first record. I love how technically good the guitar parts are, and there’s a strange mood that permeates the whole record.

I’m lucky that I got to see this band in Toronto in 2010 before they broke up, I still think they’re one of the most underrated bands of that time.

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Angel Olsen – 'Burn Your Fire For No Witness'

I know this is a newer record, but its become my go-to for comparing mixes. The production on this record is flawless, the perfect blend of fuzzy guitars, affected vocals and a strong, solid rhythm section. I can’t think of another record where the production suits the songs so perfectly.

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Surfer Blood's new album 'Snowdonia' is out now.

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