In the center of landlocked Tennessee there is a basin at the bottom of which sits Nashville, where humidity settles in on the city like a sweatbox and Big Surr dream of beaches. Borne in an Ohio basement and raised below the Mason-Dixon line, this ebullient five piece, led by frontwoman Helen Van, has been cooling the Middle Tennessee region with their special brand of summer bummer fuzz pop for years. In 2010, Big Surr released their Miss You Most EP on RAD FRNDS and, in 2012, their Baked + Bruised 7-inch on Infinity Cat. They quickly became mainstays in the burgeoning Nashville DIY scene and garnered comparisons to the likes of the Jesus and Mary Chain, Best Coast, Dum Dum Girls and Camera Obscura meets Dinosaur Jr.
In the years since, Big Surr has undergone several personnel changes as Van returned to Ohio to pursue a graduate degree and previous members went on to other projects such as Diarrhea Planet and Mitski. Yet Van never disbanded Big Surr, adapting to new locales and circumstances even as she ventured to San Francisco, just hours from the group’s geographical namesake. And when Van did make her prodigal, Odyssean return to Nashville in 2015, she reformed Big Surr with a powerful new lineup featuring some of the best young players in Nashville.
Joining Van on guitar are two hotshot upstarts, Asher Horton (Fox Fun, Sun Seeker) and Josh “SweetBaby” Halper (Western Medication), whose meticulous interplay and bonkers shredding leads Big Surr’s best tunes like the swell of a tidal wave. Meanwhile, Bassist Danny Herrman (No Regrets Coyote) and drummer Cam “Clam” Sarrett (D. Watusi) maintain the steady, rumbling grooves that keep Big Surr upright as Van’s frosty vocals preside over the sugar- and grit-coated proceedings.
Since assuming their latest form, Big Surr have once again become a must-see live act around Nashville. In the winter of 2016, they recorded a fresh batch of tunes live-to-tape at Nashville’s famed The Bomb Shelter with Andrija Tokic. In Business finds Big Surr entering their most formidable phase, switching and cutting between sweet tooth rockers like “Alright” — with its dueling Thin Lizzy guitars — pensive sun-drunk ballads like “Faded” and empowered kiss-off rippers like “At the Bi-Rite.” The 11-track record is mixed, mastered and ready to go. Big Surr ain’t on top of the world yet — but they’re ready to catch a wave.
The band premiered their infectious, beachy single “At the Bi-Rite” at Stereogum, who said, “Nashville rockers Big Surr play bright, beachy power-pop — like Best Coast or Dum Dum Girls, but executed with the Camaro-ready fuzz-rock power that has come to characterize their town’s prominent garage rock exports. My closest reference point for this is Colleen Green’s I Want To Grow Up, which is intensely positive assessment considering that album is the shit.”
In Business will be released March 10, preorder available here.