Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws isn’t big on organized religion, but when the spirit does move him, it always has a soundtrack. And that soundtrack has come a long way over the last 16 years. You’d be hard-pressed to discern so much as a whiff of snarky 1996 hit “Popular” amid the bracing, impeccably crafted power pop the trio hammers out with breathless efficiency on its new release, The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy (Barsuk). The transportive power of music is something Caws touches on quite frequently on Astronomy—that is, when he can tear himself away from more pressing concerns for our fucked-up planet. Caws will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new Q&A with him, and check out our cover story on Nada Surf in last month’s issue of MAGNET.
Caws: We were in a van, driving from Cologne to Haldern in Germany. I think I blew Ira’s mind by asking him how many drumsticks he thinks he’s owned in his life. His eyes were wide, and he was muttering and gesticulating. After a minute, he said, “OK, if I had to take a guesstimate, I’d have to say somewhere on the order of 6,000. I used to break a lot of sticks.” He checked his math: “40 times 52 is 2,080 … [mumbles some more],” then “Come to think of it, I have 10 pounds of sticks in my house.” He runs down the list of varietals he’s sampled: composite, graphite, light-up, varnished, unvarnished. There comes a point in every long van ride when any subject of conversation is a great one.
Video after the jump.