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Alternative and Indie

Nada Surf

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Nineties alt rockers who evolved to become elder statesmen of indie pop

Buy Never Not Together here

Some bands capture a moment with a song and disappear. Nada Surf appeared to do just that when they zeroed in on the zeitgeist with Popular, a fever-pitched sermon on high school etiquette delivered by frontman Matthew Caws over a rising tide of guitars and drums melded together from the best bits of Pavement and the Pixies. It was ’90s alt rock distilled into four perfect minutes.

There was plenty of evidence to suggest that Nada Surf were too good to wander away into the land of compilation albums and nostalgia tours. Their Ric Ocasek-produced debut High/Low proved they were more than a one-trick pony, even if it didn’t have anywhere near the impact of its hit single. However, a disappointing showing from 1998's The Proximity Effect seemed a premature full-stop.

It was a reinvigorated Nada Surf that resurfaced four years later with Let Go, a more mature and expansive record than their first two. Reviews were overwhelmingly positive and the band staked out a sizeable territory on the poppier end of the indie rock plains, not far from other enduring (and prematurely discounted) bands like Fountains Of Wayne and Gin Blossoms.

This new lease of life continued through well-received records like The Weight Is A Gift and Lucky. Nada Surf then teamed up with producer and guitarist Doug Gillard (formerly of Guided By Voices) for a duo of earnest and driving indie rock: The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy and You Know Who You Are.

With Gillard now a permanent member, Nada Surf released Never Not Together in early 2020. Again, reviews were borderline ecstatic, praising Caws for his honest, earnest and empathetic lyrics and the band’s ever broadening musical scope. A Nada Surf UK tour was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic but the band announced a new set of dates for February 2022.