Last month, Pitchfork ran an interview with Surfer Blood, the first one where they really discussed frontman John Paul Pitts’s domestic battery arrest. That interview rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. In it, Pitts came off as something of an aggrieved party, claiming that legal issues prevented him from talking about it before and pointing out repeatedly that charges had been dropped, as if that proved anything. (Charges get dropped all the time in domestic-abuse cases, including really bad and legitimate ones.)
Maybe Pitts really didn’t do anything wrong, but what he and his defenders need to realize is that allegations like this are deeply, deeply serious, and you can’t just go back to business as usual afterward and be like “thank god that’s over.” From that moment on, Surfer Blood’s fuzzy, slight-but-catchy alt-pop will always sound very different to many of us, the same way Chris Brown hasn’t sounded like a cute R&B kid since February 2009. But Surfer Blood are still around, and Pythons, their sophomore album and major label debut, lands next week. We’ve posted its songs “Weird Shapes,” “Demon Dance,” “Slow Six,” and “Gravity.” And now, if you like, you can stream the whole album at NPR. If you can untangle Pitts’s breezy guitar jams from his tangled story, go nuts, but you forfeit the right to pass judgement on anyone else who does the same with musicians you may not like.
Pythons is out 6/11 via Warner Bros.