It’s sorta strange to think of Nada Surf frontman Matthew Caws as an elder statesman of the indie-rock game, even with that vibrant voice. But here he is in his 40s, a little gray around the edges and performing live in oxford shirts and sport coats.
Nobody could blame him for surrendering to nostalgia, as he does a few times on the new album, The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy, and especially on the wistful lead single, “When I Was Young.” The video takes a pretty literal approach to the song, following a mop-haired kid’s sentimental romp through the city. It’s trademark Nada Surf — sweet and sincere with a hint of aching melancholy.
Meanwhile, the band played a record release show on Jan. 24 at Bowery Ballroom in New York. You can watch the hour-plus concert over at YouTube or see a performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at Stereogum.
At 44, Matthew Caws isn’t exactly old. But with a career that’s spanned 15 years (and counting) since the release of Nada Surf’s first album, the band’s frontman is feeling reflective on “When I Was Young,” the lead single from the forthcoming album The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy (due Jan. 24 on Barsuk).
The man who sarcastically offered advice on the politics of teenage popularity – still a great song – is now taking inventory on life in his 40s. Thankfully, Nada Surf has aged gracefully.
“When I Was Young” finds Caws embracing the moment, the sort of earnest writing that took the band from the awkward teen years of “Popular” into more refined territory: “When I was young / I didn’t know if I was better off asleep or up / Now I’ve grown up / I wonder what was that world I was dreaming of.”
Stars is Nada Surf’s seventh album and first of new material since 2008’s Lucky.