They got older. And as a band, they got better. But, where does Nada Surf fit into the bigger picture today? There’s good argument that Nada Surf is a one-hit wonder. Lightning struck only once for them, and that was way back in 1996 with their hit single “Popular” (“My mom says I’m a catch/ I’m pop-ular,” sings the eternally youthful Matthew Caws.) After that, never again would Nada Surf climb the chart heights.
"Cold to See Clear"
...off of Nada Surf's latest record, You Know Who You Are
But any industry observer worth his/her salt would argue that the record business of 1996 no longer exists. Digital and file-sharing platforms took away the conventions of the trade as we once knew them, and the tools we used to measure a band’s market value became worthless. And then, a lot of similar power-pop alt-rockers landed in a kind of purgatory that included day-jobs and scheduled touring on vacation time. What saved Nada Surf and other bands like them? A cult following willing to show up and pay the price at the door.
- Sunday, May 22, 2016, 7:30 p.m.
3090 Polk Avenue,
Caws writes, plays guitar, and sings. He started the band with bassist Daniel Lorca in New York City in the early 1990s; both were already veterans of many startup bands. The Midas touch came from Ric Ocasek, who had a measure of fame by then with his band the Cars. He liked Nada Surf’s demo and he produced their first album and helped land them a major-label deal. Ocasek’s other side project was Weezer, a band that Nada Surf has ceaselessly been likened to over the years. Nada Surf has since released seven more full-lengths, among them 2000’s Proximity Effect, considered by the rock press to be the band’s finest. This year finds them touring behind You Know Who You Are, featuring contributions from the band’s newest member, Doug Gillard (he came aboard in 2012) formerly of Guided by Voices. It’s a new Nada day.
Prism Tats also performs.