February 20-26, 2003
So yeah, there was that one song. The one that MTV spun till the tape wore out, the one that got them on Howard Stern (who was no doubt disappointed to find that its misogyny was only sarcastic), the one that all but assured they"d never be heard from again. But a top-secret second album and a several-year layoff later, Nada Surf is back, and they won't even kill you if you shout out for "Popular." You'd be better off stowing your '96 nostalgia, though, and yelling out the name of just about any song from Let Go(Barsuk). It proves the boys in the band have been doing a lot more than hanging around and waiting for those Totally 90sroyalty checks to start rolling in. Not that Let Go is devoid of nostalgia: "Blizzard of '77"conjures up Big Star; "Blonde on Blonde" could have come from some lost Galaxie 500 album where Dean remembered to take his No Doz; and "Happy Kid" sounds enough like The Smiths to invite you to make your own mash-up. (Try singing "Big Mouth Strikes Again" over the opening chords.) At a certain point, though, the ability to draw from so many sources turns from versatility to resourcefulness. Every jukebox should sound so good.
Thu., Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m., $10, with Sondre Lerche and The People, The North Star, 2639 Poplar St., 215-684-0808.