The Semis
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The Semis

Saint Petersburg, Florida, United States

Saint Petersburg, Florida, United States
Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Semis "Popov""

Tampa Bay, Fla.'s The Semis say they play "CaliFlorida Beach Rock," but their sound is really more influenced by the jangly pop of British invasion acts like The Kinks and the intense echoes that can be found on mid-'80s shoegaze albums.

That said, "Popov," which you can hear above, definitely sounds like something you'd want to listen to while chilling out on a beach. But maybe not while it's 50 degrees Celsius outside, like it is here in Toronto today. Yikes. - CHARTattack

"Best Album: The Semis, Back to the Beach"

Creative Loafing’s 2010 Best of the Bay Award Winner

Best Album: The Semis, Back to the Beach

“The requisite for a great album is that it stands up to repeated spins, allowing for new discoveries in lyric and melody with each listen. Such is the case with the Semis’ 2010 release, Back to the Beach, a concept record about addiction and redemption on the Gulf shores of St. Petersburg. Seamlessly blending pop, metal, folk, psychedelia and yes, surf rock, the record is a testament to how a great collection of songs (even self-produced) can be greater than its parts, and how an album continues to shine when all the songs included are jewels.” - Creative Loafing

"CD Review: The Semis, Back to the Beach"

The third disc from Tampa Bay veterans The Semis, Back to the Beach, feels like a comeback record. The problem is, they never went away.
In the past decade, frontman Billy Summer has gained a certain reputation as a user, abuser and all-around buffoon. However, Summer has been clean and sober for 11 months now, and in that time he wrote, recorded and produced the best work of his life.
Back to the Beach is a psychedelic surf rock masterpiece that was mixed and co-produced by Lemonjello Kane (Gravy, The Saturn 5), who Summer credits as the “most talented fool on the album” and the only person thus far able to “translate the nuances” in Summer’s head to tape.
While the production is cleaner this time around, with solos taking center stage when they need to and the vocals relatively legible throughout, the difference here lies in the lyrics. Where in the past, subjects have included Asian girls and cocaine, today’s Back to the Beach references shopping for records in St. Pete (”Private Dicks”), living on the beach, and finally kicking the habit (”Popov”) while reflecting a newfound sense of optimism: “Aren’t we so full of life? / Do the sunrise with closed eyes … Don’t need no goddamn reason / I’m just so fond of life” (from “Pelican Song”).
Back to the Beach easily serves as a concept record about addiction and recovery, and the beach not only acts as a backdrop but also serves as a motif that returns again and again to keep our attention on the illuminated path to sobriety and eventual redemption, like Antoine’s escape to the sea in Truffaut’s 400 Blows. We get glimpses of the early years: “I was hanging ten instead of going to school / then I moved across from the bar.” In “Rock Ready,” an apprehensive partner appears: “We’ll float away out from the rest / on two foot waves that never crest” and in the Cheap Trick-influenced title track: “In the cities and in the towns / girls are leaving their indie hipster clowns / cuz they been holding you back so long / back from the beach where you belong.”
Tracks like “New Surfboard” blend the whimsy and soft-spoken psychedelia of the Flaming Lips with the lushness of the Beach Boys, but the big payoffs are in the bombastic power pop and metal-infused rockers like “Suck it Dry” and “Primitive Mind” (”I’m only tryin’ to make a million mine / you can’t decline the reptilian mind … that’s always and forever / this laugh is weighed out and tethered / your town is made out of metal / beach life it don’t ever get old”).
Anthemic indie rocker “Metro” reveals touches of Interpol and The Cure, an influence that began to surface on 2006’s Timebomb, and the record is softened even more by a couple of ballads — a re-recorded version of “38? and “Speed,” an introspective acoustic piece: “Listen to your heartbeat / listen to it speed / Think about the drugs pushed around / where they need to be.”
By far, though, the standout track here is “Popov,” an orchestral arrangement of synthesizers and distorted guitars that provides a soul-baring glimpse at the road to recovery: “Before you wreck your life / Now that the spark is done vacating your eyes / Don’t twist the top off that bottle of Popov (tonight) / We’ve got your back and everything’s gonna be alright.”
Overall, the production is down and dirty, recorded in sheds, warehouses and Summer’s own living room, but some skillful mixing allows the album’s masterful arrangements and melodies to shine. Steadfast fans or critics may say that with this record, Summer’s maturing has stripped him of his bawdy, rock ‘n’ roll edge, but all the idiots that claimed his writing would never be the same “without the drugs” are absolutely correct. He’s better than he’s ever been. -

"The Semis: Reviewed"

The Semis have been regularly blasting local audiences with their sludgy brand of intense alt-rock for the past five years or so. The Billy Summers-led power trio starts their new EP White Powder, Black Power with an aural assault that sounds as if about 20 guitars and a couple of chainsaws are being channeled through a single mic. Staying just above the fray is Summers detached vocal, which seems to be speaking to the simple joy of losing one's self in face melting riffage. In addition to the dark-hued rockers there's the 'Walk This Way'-style funk of 'The Waves'” an Aerosmith-meets-Velvet Underground ditty about rock-n- roll songs no longer being fun. Summer even goes into strum mode on the pleasantly acoustic '38', making this disc a fine representation of this Bay area fave. -

"Meet the boys of Summer"

Billy Summer, the founder, frontman, id and superego of St. Pete’s the Semis, has wakened to his season in the sun with the 2010 album Back to the Beach — a shiny, career-defining and soul-searching nugget of pop-rock majesty.
For the past couple of years the musician with an uncanny last name lived out the fantasy of millions by immersing himself in beach bum living. Back to the Beach is a culmination of that period.
“I swam every day and surfed during hurricanes and rode my bike all over Pass-a-Grille,” Summer said. “I drank at Shadrack’s and tried to embrace the pirate lifestyle to the best of my ability. For the most part, the songs, both musically and lyrically, reflect the influence of those times. … The sun and the beach both became very real for me.”
The singer-guitarist got out from behind his mischievous persona. He matured and began scripting humorous and soul-searching narratives, anecdotes about lost weekends in “the 727,” cautionary tales of self-destruction and confessions of sought-after redemption.
“It was at moments heavy, but ultimately very cleansing,” he said. “Metaphorically, those things represented a state of being that I didn’t even see coming when I wrote the album. It’s funny how that kinda stuff has a way of festering in the unconscious. Let’s say I grew into the symbolism.”

His band grew into it too. As the singer-guitarist mellowed out and became more focused, the Semis’ current lineup —Matt Simmons on guitar, Jay Schultz on bass and Kyle Lovell on drums — showed itself off as the best yet. While the absence of founding member and drummer Christian Ripoll can still be felt, the Semis today sound fully charged — a stark contrast to previous incarnations, when Summer went off half-cocked in self-described “flounder fests.”

Episodes from Summer’s life read like pages from a James Dean script. The son of University of South Florida music professors, a prodigy in his own right, he refused to become a proper musician. He grew up in a pristine suburban home around recitals and erudite dinner parties but often opted for motel all-nighters with questionable characters. He almost took himself down with his shenanigans and checked himself into rehab four years ago.

“I’ve been battling demons for as far back as I can remember,” Summer said. “(The songs) Popov and Suck it Dry really put my troubles on the forefront.”

Summer is more than the sum of his sins. There’s a sensitive side to the mad genius: he’s known to serenade with Elliott Smith ballads and lend friends an ear and helping hand. We get more of that Billy on Back to the Beach.

Compositionally, the songs shine as intensely as his lyrics, paralleling his introspection with shimmering textures — a departure from the Semis’ louder and more raucous White Powder, Black Power (2007) and Jct. 666 (2003). “The live experience is much more rawk, but in the studio, for this record, I opted for a much more lush approach,” he said.

While he’s satisfied with the end result of the CD, Summer isn’t exactly thrilled with the title.

“ Back to the Beach is also the name of some crappy Annette Funicello movie,” he said. “I never should have changed it and will probably change it back to Year in the Sun. My mistake.”

- Tampa Bay Times (*TBT)


JCT 666 2004
White Powder, Black Power 2007
Back to the Beach 2010
Decapitator Blues 2011



The music of The Semis takes the isolation of Florida life and spins it into solid gold classics. Simultaneously creating the void and filing it, The Semis produce a deft combination of songcraft and pure rock n' roll id.

Formed in 2002 by the blindingly handsome and shamefully talented Billy Summer, The Semis have continued to aurally assault with their signature brand of beachy self-indulgent mid-fi powder rock . The Semis' music can has been featured in the Bravo TV program Flipping Out, regional television commercials and in the movie Dropped Frames. Their 2010 album, Back to the Beach, has received stellar reviews in Weekly Planet, TBT*, and other blogs and music publications and was awarded Creative Loafing's Album Of The Year 2010. Their latest release Decapitator Blues is now available at most on-line retailers.
Summer and The Semis are always recording and performing, unless they are at the beach.
Find the semis on facebook, myspace, Reverbnation, itunes, and lastfm