Guitarist’s songs help him heal

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Af­ter guitarist Thomas Fekete left West Palm Beach in­die-rock band Surfer Blood last spring to bat­tle can­cer, he kept tin­ker­ing with new mu­sic in his bed­room.

This week, Fekete re­leased “Burner,” a col­lec­tion of songs recorded over the sum­mer while he re­cov­ered from chemothera- py and surg­eries. All pro­ceeds from the al­bum, of­fered through Surfer Blood’s la­bel, Joy­ful Noise, as a cas­sette ($8) and dig­i­tal down­load ($7), will fund his can­cer treat­ments.

“Burner” is 11 demo tracks of war­bling sonic ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, washed-out noise and haunt­ingly soft, plain­tive vo­cals by Fekete, an un­com­mon side of the guitarist for fans fa­mil­iar with Surfer Blood’s pol­ished and jang- ly rock.

Made on a four-track recorder be­tween March and June, Fekete’s first solo al­bum is full of med­i­ta­tions on “walk­ing, talk­ing and func­tion­ing like a nor­mal hu­man be­ing,” he writes in a state­ment on his record la­bel’s web­site.

“Some of th­ese songs re­flect on good times, days I’m able to walk on my own,” Fekete writes. “Oth­ers re­mind me of barf­ing be­tween vo­cal takes, wheel­chairs, Di­lau­did with­drawals, and tears, from my fam­ily, my spouse, my dear friends. How­ever, like ev­ery­thing in my life, I did man­age to find some hu­mor in my sit­u­a­tion, and I hope that helps level out all the heavy stuff.”

“Burner” is the lat­est ef­fort to raise money for Fekete’s mount­ing med­i­cal bills, af­ter friends set up a GoFundMe page in April. Surfer Blood like­wise staged sev­eral ben­e­fit shows in West Palm Beach and be­yond.

In May, on a tour sup­port­ing the band’s re­cent al­bum “1,000 Palms,” thieves al­legedly broke into Surfer Blood’s tour­ing van in Chicago, steal­ing mu­sic equip­ment and cash do­na­tions for Fe- kete. And in Novem­ber, Fekete’s la­bel raised $48,000 via Kick­starter af­ter re­leas­ing a com­pi­la­tion al­bum of songs by Yo La Tengo, Cults, Guided by Voices and oth­ers.

In a Dec. 10 post on Fekete’s Face­book page, his wife, Jes­sica, said the guitarist will start a new round of ther­apy in Jan­uary, af­ter doc­tors dis­cov­ered his can­cer “mu­tated and be­came re­sis­tant to Thomas’ cur­rent chemo­ther­apy reg­i­men.”

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