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Monday, April 9th, 2012

Looking Through

Nada Surf at Sonic Boom in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangNada Surf fly under a lot of peoples’ radars, remembered as that “Popular” band if they’re remembered at all, but they really do deserve credit for not only surviving the boom and bust of the ’90s alt-rock scene but putting together a fruitful second act of solidly tuneful albums of sensitive guitar pop while many of their contemporaries called it quits and are only returning to action now via the reunion track.

The seventh of which, The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy, was released back in January to follow up their 2010 covers record If I Had A Hi Fi and it follows the aforementioned template though with more volume and velocity than you might expect from them at this point. The band could probably get away with writing strictly sensitive, ballad-y material at this point but Astronomy shows that they can still turn up and rock a bit when they want to.

And just as they did in January 2008 when they were promoting their last album of new material, Lucky, they made time during a visit to Toronto to play an in-store at Sonic Boom. That occasion came during the advance press circuit and not the actual tour, so they were able to play a longer set at the store’s old location; this time, they were at the new Bathurst St. location offering what frontman Matthew Caws described as a condensed version of that evening’s performance at the Opera House. But while this equated to a shorter set, it also meant that the band were fully equipped to play. Sure, Caws still stuck to his acoustic and drummer Ira Elliot again forewent a kit for a rhythm box/stool, this time Daniel Lorca had his bass with him and their two touring players – Calexio’s Martin Wenk and former Guided By Voices guitarist Doug Gillard – were on hand to fill things out in indie rock all-star style.

Their mini-set drew from all their records and they performed with the confidence and ease of a unit with little else to prove, content and grateful to be able to play for themselves and their fans. Some may point at them and declare them a band that’s had its moment and is far from fashionable, but there’s something to be said about no longer be beholden to the machinations of hype. Bands of the moment should count themselves lucky if they can eventually write a brace of songs as good as Nada Surf’s, let along have their longevity.

Hater High has a recording of the in-store to share while The Boston Phoenix and Billboard have feature pieces on the band.

Photos: Nada Surf @ Sonic Boom – April 4, 2012
MP3: Nada Surf – “When I Was Young”
MP3: Nada Surf – “See These Bones”
MP3: Nada Surf – “Do It Again”
MP3: Nada Surf – “Blankest Year”
MP3: Nada Surf – “Blonde On Blonde”
Video: Nada Surf – “When I Was Young”
Video: Nada Surf – “Electrocution”
Video: Nada Surf – “Whose Authority”
Video: Nada Surf – “Weightless”
Video: Nada Surf – “Always Love”
Video: Nada Surf – “Blankest Year”
Video: Nada Surf – “Inside Of Love”
Video: Nada Surf – “The Way You Wear Your Head”
Video: Nada Surf – “Firecracker”
Video: Nada Surf – “Popular”
Video: Nada Surf – “Treehouse”

The June 19 release date of The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do confirmed, the return of Fiona Apple continues with a full North American tour; Pitchfork has the Summer dates, which include a July 4 date at The Sound Academy in Toronto.

Video: Fiona Apple – “Fast As You Can”

Fast Company Create and Pitchfork talk to The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne about their forthcoming collaborations album Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends, due out this Record Store Day, April 21.

Father John Misty has released another track from the forthcoming Fear Fun, due out May 1. He plays The Horseshoe on May 14.

MP3: Father John Misty – “Nancy From Now On”

There’s a new video available from White Rabbits’ latest Milk Famous. They’re interviewed at St. Louis Today, The Columbia Daily Tribune, and College Times.

Video: White Rabbits – “Temporary”

DIY has a feature piece on M. Ward, whose new album A Wasteland Companion is finally out tomorrow.

The Village Voice interviews Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields.

Artrocker checks in quickly with Stephen Malkmus.

The Birmingham News talks to Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers.

The Toronto Star interviews Howler.

DIY has a video session with Craig Finn while CBS Sports talks to the Hold Steady frontman about his love of baseball. On a similar note, Rolling Stone talks to other musicians about their affection for America’s pastime.

By : Frank Yang at 8:29 am
Category: Concert Reviews

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

RSS Feed for this post3 Responses.
  1. Tom R. Hampton says:

    That’s the ginchiest, Frank.

  2. Bike says:

    Holy Eff! Nada Surf.

    I feel old.

  3. Bruce says:

    Nada Surf’s set at the Opera House was terrific. I’d only seen them live before at said in-store at the Bloor Sonic Boom a few years back, which was excellent, but fully amplified and with Doug Gillard on board was a real treat. Only song I really missed was Imaginary Friends. An Horse were fun too.