Posted in music on August 20, 2014

by Andrew Sacher

Nada Surf at Webster Hall in 2012 (more by Eric M. Townsend)
Nada Surf

Last week we posted "9 of the best '90s bands you didn't think were the best '90s bands and the awesome stuff they're doing now," and encouraged you guys to leave comments of who you think we should have included and who we should have left off. There are so many more than 9 bands who could've fit on that list, and we loved everyone's suggestions. A few of them were bands we strongly considered but left off the list for one reason or another. That includes Failure (whose reunion we covered a bunch), Local H (who we also cover a lot), Spacehog, and the band who was suggested the most: Nada Surf. Nada Surf is actually the band that most likely would have been our tenth pick, had we included ten picks, but we decided to leave them off. Here's why.

Nada Surf come very close to fitting the bill. They had a fluke hit ("Popular") off their major label debut, High/Low (1996), an album otherwise filled with overlooked gems like the Thurston Moore-esque "Sleep" and the Pavement-esque "Treehouse." Failure to produce another hit caused their label, Elektra, to drop them. The unsigned band then released 1998's The Proiximity Effect on their own label and eventually hooked up with indie label Barsuk Records (then home to Death Cab for Cutie, Kind of Like Spitting, etc) for 2002's Let Go. Since then, they've released three more albums with Barsuk, as recently as 2012's The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy. They continue to tour consistently and singer Matthew Caws does cool things like form the band Minor Alps with fellow '90s musician Juliana Hatfield, show up at cool shows like Rock*A*Teens, play benefits with popular indie comedians like Eugene Mirman and Todd Barry and join Guided by Voices on stage. Nada Suf drummer Ira Elliot is also in the high-concept Beatles cover band Bambi Kino with Doug Gillard (ex-GBV). They're also closely connected with some of the bands that did make our list. Harvey Danger singer Sean Nelson sings on more than one of their records, and they co-headlined a tour with Superdrag during that band's late 2000s reunion. Not to mention, if "Flagpole Sitta" and "Sucked Out" come on back to back on a playlist, nothing feels more right than "Popular" coming next.

They've got quality material on all of their albums, but the main reason we didn't think they belonged on the list is that Nada Surf's post-major label career as a fruitful indie band didn't feel as much like a story in 2014 as most of the bands we included. Nada Surf have been putting out well-received releases on Barsuk since 2002, and when we think about the great music that Barsuk's put out over the past decade-plus, Nada Surf's albums immediately come to mind. When most Burger Records fans think of Burger Records, I don't think their first thought is The Muffs or the Superdrag-related The Lees of Memory, who both signed to the label this year. It's been totally normal to see Nada Surf booked on an indie-leaning music festival like Bumbershoot (more than once), Waterloo's SXSW parties, and Sasquatch for at least six years. And unlike "Flagpole Sitta" or "Sucked Out," which still loom large over Harvey Danger and Superdrag's respective careers, ask a younger music fan about Nada Surf and there's a good chance they're more likely to tell you about Lucky (2008) than "Popular." A scroll through BrooklynVegan's "Nada Surf" tag shows we've consistently covered them over the years, whereas the bands on the list haven't gotten much coverage. We didn't feel that highlighting Nada Surf to BV readers at this point would fit the theme of "band you didn't think were the best '90s bands," because that just seemed like old news.

The main point of the list was to shine a light on deserving bands whose merits often went overlooked. Nada Surf is equally deserving and if this list was written a few years ago, there's no doubt they'd be included. Now, relive some Nada Surf memories below...

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Nada Surf - "Popular" (from High/Low)

Nada Surf - "Sleep" (from High/Low)

Nada Surf - "Inside of Love" (from Let Go)

Nada Surf - "See These Bones" (from Lucky)

Minor Alps - "I Don't Know What To Do With My Hands"

PREVIOUSLY
9 of the best '90s bands you didn't think were the best '90s bands and the awesome stuff they're doing now.

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Comments (41)

How completely unnecessary.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 1:18 PM

Good band. Lucky is their best, imo.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 1:26 PM

Left them off because they are popular ;)

Let-Go gets my vote

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 1:32 PM

I can see it all, and I'm OK
I wish there was another way

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 1:33 PM

This was and is a terrible band.

Please Sacher, quit writing about music. This is fucking embarrassing.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 1:34 PM

they had a handfull of really good tracks but the vast majority of their output is pretty forgettable

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 1:37 PM

cool story bro

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 1:38 PM

I'm still not convinced that you care enough about Failure. Get with the program.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 1:38 PM

Yes, Sacher is a failure.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 1:43 PM

The Buck Pets is the correct answer.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 1:46 PM

Nada Surf rule. Without a doubt, one of the great live bands to exist. Haters gonna hate, but that don't mean shit.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 1:51 PM

Dear BV,
No one fucking cares about this nonsense. Why do you inflict this "I love the 90's" shit on us? We're just trying to enjoy a music blog.
Thank you.

Posted by What seems like the majority of BV readers | August 20, 2014 1:53 PM

real question here guys: what's the best app to hook up with hot asian ladys? preferbly the wburg/les variety who don't get too attached. serious replies only, plz.

Posted by www.psquaredphotography.com | August 20, 2014 2:00 PM

$100 says the first album Sacher ever bought was "Bad Hair Day" by Weird Al.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 2:04 PM

I'd actually bet that Sacher's first album was 'N SYNC's "No Strings Attached," and he taught himself how to jerk off listening to it.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 2:12 PM

i love nada surf. real bummed i missed their last show at bell house.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 2:13 PM

AW FUCK IT
IM GONNA HAVE A PARTY

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 2:16 PM

Nada Surf are one of my favourite bands of all time.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 2:17 PM

Let go is their best

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 2:29 PM

Nada.....fan of Sacher. amirite people?

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 2:35 PM

Here we go. Let's do another Sueprdrag/Nada Surf/Harvey Danger tour. Giddy up!

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 2:55 PM

Makes sense.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 2:55 PM

^Good one. I can't imagine any band getting this much original (virtual) ink on BV, much less such a shitty one.

Can we all move to a different blog?

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 2:56 PM

You could have just said, "Dude has dreadlocks," and left it at that.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 2:57 PM

Bravo to @1:53 for making an uncatagorical ass of hisself by being such an arrogant fuck

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 3:05 PM

If being an arrogant fuck means that I've never (until now) typed the word "HISSELF" then I'm guilty.

Posted by 1:53 | August 20, 2014 3:08 PM

^ nah, yer just an asswipe all on your own, Ace

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 3:13 PM

Now you're hurting my feelings. You are right. This article is great, Sacher deserves a Pulitzer, and also-ran 90's bands rule.

Posted by 1:53 (Ace) | August 20, 2014 3:17 PM

I took a shit on the floor. I named the shit Sacher. My Sacher wrote a better piece on music of the '90s than this and last week's pieces.

Thanks Sacher, you piece of shit.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 3:28 PM

Ace is a real brain surgeon, and self appointed spokesperson for BV readers everywhere.

Prolly that iPods/hummus guy too, yeah no doubt

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 3:36 PM

Ace is not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure I have a higher degree of education than you. I can tell by your use of antiquated words like 'hisself' and jibberish like 'prolly.'

Posted by 1:53 (Ace) (Ph.D, 2009) | August 20, 2014 4:01 PM

bladdy bladdy bla

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 4:24 PM

sacher is cool, fuck your preservation of your fave 90s rocks, you fags, yeah i said it fags, sachets cool.. i mean like he forgot nirvana and korn like duh.. KORNS 90s.. n run dmc duh they started rap. and not to men chine, rage against that machine, cuz they're drum 90s too, they started rap rock, n now we got gfags like djdogdick spicing up the industry, selling out.. fred durst and the 90s are gone but we can still go nada surfing on the high ass seven seas n listen to LCD SOUNDSYSTEM weren't they in the 90s?

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 4:28 PM

^ wow this guy said "fags" ... that shit is REALLY edgy. it was so badass of him to even repeat it so we all could revel in how fearless and brave he was to use the word. dude. gotta catch my breath... that was harrowing

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 4:40 PM

Nada Surf fucking rules.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 5:36 PM

that video they did on the treadmills was really cool, maybe I'll check out their other stuff too

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 5:50 PM

Sacher's going to poop out a groundbreaking reevaluation of 4 Non Blondes and Ugly Kid Joe tomorrow.

"You guys never realized these bands were good until I told you they were."

Thanks for the poop, Sach.

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 6:20 PM

shit for brains

la la la

shit for brains

la

la

la

Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2014 7:01 PM

Good job with this. I agree - Nada Surf aren't a 90s band. This is well written.
Never read the commments.

Posted by don | August 21, 2014 11:24 AM

^Sacher's resorted to complementing himself?

Posted by Anonymous | August 21, 2014 11:30 AM

BUT CAN YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY FAILURE WASN'T ON THIS?!

Posted by NMG | August 23, 2014 3:12 AM

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