Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

From Now On

Photo via Big Hassle

Methinks I’ve been a little hard on Nada Surf in the past. I’ve never disliked them, per se, but the couple times I saw them live in 2003 and again in 2005, they didn’t impress and it’s that impression – and not the fact that I really quite liked their 2002 effort Let Go.

I think the problem was that I somehow got it in my head that they were a rock band and as a rock band, they rate rather poorly. As a pop band with gentle singer-songwritery inclinations, however, they do quite well. My change of heart towards the band began at their acoustic in-store back in January, which I enjoyed much more than I expected and seemed the ideal setting for the band (or the two-thirds that were there), and was confirmed by their latest effort Lucky.

What I’d been taking as weakness or wimpiness – and this is me, the king of wimp rock talking – turns out to be the band’s strength, bolstering Matthew Caws’ sensitive soul-searching lyricism with occasional bursts of distortion and energy – dare I say, “rock” – but mostly utilizing a reliable bed of guitar jangle, lush harmonies and subtle but effective orchestral flourishes. There’s no macho affectation, just deceptively masterful and melodic pop that wears its heart on its sleeve like a badge of honour.

Nada Surf are in town Monday night, April 7, for a gig at the Opera House and courtesy of Outside Music and Against The Grain, I’ve got goodies to give away. There’s a grand prize consisting of a pair of passes to the show plus a copy of both Lucky and their last record, The Weight Is A Gift, on CD and a runner-up prize of another pair of passes to the show, for which The Jealous Girlfriends – written up yesterday with a contest tied in as well – are opening. To enter, shoot me an email at contests AT with “I want to go on a Nada Surf-ing safari” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body. And do it today – the contest closes at midnight tonight.

Nada Surf has been on a media blitz on this tour, giving interviews to NOW, The Toronto Star, Filter, New City Chicago, The Westender, The Great Falls Tribune, The Georgia Straight and The Stranger, and they also recorded a MySpace Transmissions session consisting of live performances and interviews.

MP3: Nada Surf – “See These Bones”
Video: Nada Surf – “I Like What You Say”
MySpace: Nada Surf

Billboard brings details of the next installment in Neil Young’s Archives series – an aborted album with Crazy Horse circa 2000 entitled Toast. Look for it sometime. That’s all. Sometime.

The Futureheads’ third album This Is Not The World will see a North American release on May 27. A video and MP3 were released a little while back, if you wanted a preview.

MP3: The Futureheads – “Broke Up The Time”
Video: The Futureheads – “The Beginning Of The Twist”

Drowned In Sound has a twopart interview with Geoff Barrow of Portishead while MTV talks to Adrian Utley. Third arrives April 29.

Video: Portishead – “Machine Gun”

Stephen Malkmus talks to The AV Club, Gothamist and The Village Voice about Real Emotional Trash.

The Boston Herald and Creative Loafing talk to Gary Louris about Vagabonds. And to answer Eugene’s question from yesterday, no, I didn’t make the show on Sunday. Can’t be everywhere.

By : Frank Yang at 8:32 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Chris says:

    "I think the problem was that I somehow got it in my head that they were a rock band and as a rock band, they rate rather poorly. As a pop band with gentle singer-songwritery inclinations, however, they do quite well."

    I think that they were a rock band, very much so – and that’s what has left you…and me…missing a big of the sounds they produced on their first two albums. You really struck a note here though, I guess I’ve never looked at the band as a pop band…I think they’re great at what they’ve evolved into. Good thinkin’ sir.

  2. heather says:

    Frank, I am just getting into them this year or so, and in fact saw them here in Denver on Tuesday night. They’re just so much deeper and better than I ever gave them credit for. Their music is lush and melodic, hooky but introspective. In short, almost perfect.

    I had the pleasure of interviewing Matthew Caws back in February, and he is one of the best guys I’ve had a chance to talk with yet about music. He feels the music deeply, and is affable and intelligent. Made me like their music even more.
    http://fuelfriends.blogspot… if you are interested.