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CMJ: Day 2 Round-up with Terrible Things and Surfer Blood

Terrible Things -- (l. to r.) Fred Mascherino,

Terrible Things -- (l. to r.) Fred Mascherino, Josh Eppard, Andy Jackson -- released their eponymous debut in 2010 on Universal Motown Records. Credit: Universal Motown

    Memo to Broadway producers: If you’re looking for a punk-rock opera to follow Green Day’s “American Idiot,” you should check out Terrible Things.
    The band’s debut “Terrible Things” is a concept album about a series of fires in singer/guitarist Fred Mascherino’s hometown of Coatesville, Pa., and looks at life in the struggling town, the reactions to the fires and even the possible motives of the arsonists.
    At its showcase Wednesday night at the Gramercy Theatre, though, all that context became unnecessary. Mascherino, formerly of Taking Back Sunday, and guitarist Andy Jackson, formerly of Hot Rod Circuit, won the crowd over with the mix of rock and power-pop. The modest reaction at the beginning grew to loud screams by the end, after songs like the catchy “Revolution” and the lovely “Lullaby.”
   Before the show at the Alternative Press party at the Sloan Fine Art gallery, Mascherino says that the band is ready to take the slow-but-steady approach to get the album some attention.
    “We know it’s going to take a while,” Mascherino says. “But we want people to hear it.”
It sure would be another “terrible thing” if the ambitious album didn’t get heard.

OUT FOR BLOOD: Surfer Blood, the West Palm Beach, Fla., band that became a sensation after its CMJ appearances last year, returned to the festival Wednesday night with a prime slot at Webster Hall.
     “It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we were here,” singer John Paul Pitts declared. That’s an understandable thought considering the band’s whirlwind ascent, including its debut album “Astro Coast” (Kanine) and its current tour with The Drums.
     While the band’s straightforward, guitar-driven indie-pop can be charming, with flecks of everything from Weezer and The Shins to Vampire Weekend and The Ocean Blue in the mix, it runs more on energy and likability than solid songs at the moment. Of course, the anthemic “Swim” is the exception and also the signal that Surfer Blood’s future should be bright.

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