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Matthew Caws of Nada Surf, Record Exchange, February 27


Matthew Caws makes up one-third of the under-appreciated trio Nada Surf. They've been together for more than a decade, but you may have never heard of them. Nada Surf has managed to swim just under the surface of mainstream popularity in the U.S. ... except for when they caused giant ripples with their single "Popular." If that song rings a bell, it's no surprise. It was in heavy rotation on MTV. The tune does carry in it some of the band's signature sound and dark lyrics, but the satire of the song was lost in the spoken/yelled word lyrics, and it ended up being a kind of anthem of disillusioned 20-somethings who missed the good old days of high-school. Nada Surf found a huge fan base in Europe, but because of the novelty of their first single, much of America wrote Nada Surf off as a one-trick pony. What a mistake. Since then, Nada Surf has produced quality album after quality album. One of the best CDs to come out in 2005 was The Weight Is A Gift.

The Weight Is A Gift is 11 tracks of thoughtful music. The songs are full of beautiful melodies and the CD is easy to listen to without ever becoming easy-listening. There are surprises in every song, but the sounds are pure Nada Surf and pure Caws. His melodic, melancholy voice carries dark lyrics over catchy hooks in songs like "Your Legs Grow," a bittersweet, beautiful tune, or "Blankest Year," which has an upbeat time signature but a gallows sense of humor.

Rumor has it that drummer Ira Elliot may be at the in-store with Caws. Either way, it's going to be an amazing performance. You'll wonder why the hell you haven't been listening to Nada Surf all these years.

--Amy Atkins

February 27, 8 p.m., FREE, Record Exchange, 1105 W. Idaho St.,

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