BioNada Surf has been a band for 10 years – longer than most of their living peers have been out of a car seat. If you know your stuff, you know the story. If you don’t, here it is. We begin where all good things outside of Seattle do – in NYC: Matthew Caws and Daniel Lorca met in high school and play around the city in a few short-lived bands, eventually forming a trio they call Nada Surf. Ira Elliot (Fuzztones legend) came in a little later, and in 1995 the band teamed with Elektra and later Ric Ocasek, who produced their debut LP, High/Low. The album sold nicely because of a little song called "Popular" that became a hit on MTV. Nada Surf toured a bunch and in 1998 recorded The Proximity Effect, the release of which was delayed due to a protracted rights battle with Elektra. Finally, after enjoying much critical acclaim overseas, the album came out stateside and was received by a throng of late-century cynics, skeptical of a band known primarily for a novelty single. And while reviews were generally positive, the album was sadly overlooked. The band continued to enjoy a rabid fan base in Europe, while stateside many believed Nada Surf had dwindled off into relative obscurity. But that wasn’t the case. The band came out of nowhere and shocked everyone with 2003’s critically-lauded masterpiece, Let Go (“…an excellent rainy-afternoon album, full of gentle and melancholic beauty – Nada Surf show enough panache to leave most of their Nineties-rock peers eating hot dust." – Rolling Stone). Having had their fill of major label nonsense, the band chose Seattle’s Barsuk Records to release the album – a pitch-perfect collection of rock songs that charmed music-lovers and critics the world over with its candor and revelry, and gave Nada Surf a new life and new home in the doting arms of contemporary indie rock ("A moody rock lullaby and further proof that most bands hit their stride long after MTV stops paying attention." – GQ).
Now, after touring the world behind Let Go for much of the last two years, the band has secured their place in the canon alongside folks like Spoon, The Shins and Death Cab for Cutie. Enter The Weight Is a Gift. Picking up where Let Go left off, The Weight Is a Gift answers questions of lust and deception, greed and love, joy and regret and the rites of passage you weren’t quite ready to pass through. Produced primarily by DCfC rock wizard Chris Walla (who also plays on the album) and the band itself, The Weight is a Gift chips away the grit and pretense clogging up much of today’s rock agenda, leaving only pop in its purest form – the stuff goose bumps are made of. The album was recorded in three distinct periods during a time characterized by the constant need to balance the whiplash transitions between band life and ‘real’ life. “As it seems to every time I'm home for a while, life really moved in and I ceased being in a band 24 hours a day,” explains Matthew about the time leading up to the first sessions. “And then before you know it, we're in the studio in Seattle with Chris at The Hall of Justice, and I’m writing new songs, which would be great if only I'd finished writing the old ones.” Nada Surf recorded what they’d already arranged, and then fell into writing on the spot. A few months later, the band headed back out west to work with Chris – this time at John Vanderslice’s San Francisco studio, Tiny Telephone. “We worked by the seat of our pants again,” says Matthew. “But this time, I think we were more ready. I had a lot going on at home, and could only keep it together if we were working. I wasn't the only one, and we got completely immersed in the process.” Then several months passed during which the boys set the record aside, led their lives, and listened to only mainstream hip-hop. They finished things up once and for all this past spring in various NYC apartments, basements and living rooms. The completed record plays out like the best bedtime story: One that riles you up, spooks you a bit, makes you think, then eases your mind. And when you go to sleep, you might know a little something you didn’t when you woke up that day.