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The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy CD

3 customer reviews

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Amazon's Nada Surf Store


Image of album by Nada Surf


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Nada 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 ... Read more in Amazon's Nada Surf Store

Visit Amazon's Nada Surf Store
for 17 albums, 7 photos, discussions, and more.

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Product details

  • Audio CD (23 Jan. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: City Slang
  • ASIN: B005T5OAP2
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,044 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Clear Eye Clouded Mind
2. Waiting Or Something
3. When I Was Young
4. Jules And Jim
5. The Moon Is Calling
6. Teenage Dreams
7. Looking Through
8. Let The Fight Do The Fighting
9. No Snow On The Mountain
10. The Future

Product Description

BBC Review

The Guardian’s recent claim that indie rock is suffering a slow and painful death (underlined by Official Charts Company figures showing that pop albums just outsold rock albums for the first time in seven years) at least makes a change from the Rock Is Dead debate that reappears with comet-style regularity. But when you’re not Radiohead (and at a pinch, the retro-themed Horrors), there’s enough evidence that few guitar bands have reinvention on the agenda. A case in point: New York trio Nada Surf’s sixth album (not including 2010’s covers project If I Had A Hi-Fi). It’s been four years since Lucky, which as usual sat somewhere between R.E.M. and Hüsker Dü, without the distinct charisma of either but as capable of euphoric uplift with hearts hanging out on sleeves. But it might as well be four minutes for all the change The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy heralds. Perhaps the album should be named Bands Are Indifferent to Change.

In other words, here are more guitar songs that chime, soar and swing, with singer/guitarist Matthew Caws sounding as naïve and blessed as a teenager – one track is even called Teenage Dreams, like he’s still connected to the original source of what inspired him to pick up a guitar. Behind him, rhythm section Daniel Lorcas and Ira Elliott resemble a finely meshed springboard. From the second Clear Eye Clouded Mind hits the ground, with one of Caw’s best formula hooks – dreamy verse, bristling chorus – it’s like the feel-good hit of the winter. Waiting for Something shows Caws can carve hooks with both voice and guitar, with harmonies springing from a Beatles/Byrds fount. Cellos add another layer of bliss to When I Was Young’s swooning tempo changes, with a guitar coda that emulates hard rock’s lighters-aloft model.

Yet as Caws sings "I always feel like I’m waiting for something," one wonders if that something is a sign of change, or growth (it may be a small embellishment, but even the Bacharach-ian horns/strings interlude on Let the Fight Do the Fighting – Caws loves his oblique platitudes – feels like a step on). Which is ironic given the album’s core theme is the passage of time, and how we are to face the future: to be youthful, or responsible? Can adults change as we grow older? Does change matter when the component parts of this record prove that indie rock may be ‘dying’ commercially but still sounds alive and kicking? After all, we’re not talking the moribund state of affairs that another Viva Brother record might bring. Like stars are indifferent to astronomy, guitar bands are indifferent to sales figures, and so it should remain.

--Martin Aston

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Syriat TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Feb. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Nada Surf said they wanted to be a bit louder and faster for this release and as such it lacks the intimate numbers that have become some of their most well known tracks. Its really a power pop album that doesn't really have any torch moments. That being said its not bad at all.

Clear Eye Clouded Mind (where the album gets its name from a line in that track) is a definite heads first statement of intent. They have moved on here and are trying to show they have some muscle. With a quite catchy riff it reminds you of some Matthew Sweet tracks amongst other things. Jules and Jim sounds like a Californian surf track that's not far removed from Shame About Ray era Lemonheads. A really great chorus with good harmonies this is possibly the track that stands out the most here. When I Was Young is atmospheric and builds slowly. Still as a slower number its not as good as what's on previous albums and doesn't quite hit the heights it should. And that's the slight tinge of disappointment here. It just doesn't quite soar as an album when it should and lacks the killer tunes they have had in the past.

Don't get me wrong. This is a good album. Its power pop delivered well and contains some tracks that are quite catchy. However, it lacks some of the touches thats needed to make it a 5 star album. I like it....I don't love it. And I have loved previous efforts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reggie on 8 Feb. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Anyone out there who has had, or still has an interest in Nada Surf, would do well to check this album out. Up there with "Let Go" and "The Weight Is A Gift" in my opinion as the strongest 3 albums of their 7 studio efforts. Tracks 1,2,7 and 9 my favourites after several spins on the hi-fi.

Saw them live for the first time last night in Glasgow. Great show indeed included my fave "Always Love". Really impressed with Ira`s superb drumming, and great guitar from Doug Gillard...nothing against the rest of the band, they were all top notch.

Guys if you see this, all the best with the remainder of the European tour.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lerxst on 30 Sept. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bought as a result of listening to the title track. Can say the rest of the album is similarly good, with fine musicianship and lyrics. Overall a sound that's different to most US acts out there at present. Will check their live performance out when they tour the UK this October. Recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Extremely catchy! Upbeat! Well-crafted! 24 Jan. 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As a long-time Nada Surf fan, I would say this is the perfect album at the perfect time.

"Clear Eye Clouded Mind" is a driving opening song that evokes the sound of "Do it Again" or "Concrete Bed," but is more upbeat and fast-paced -- and modern. Here we find the title of the album ("The stars are indifferent to astronomy") in a declaration of the ultimate expression of individuality. This song could be an anthem for anyone swimming against the mainstream. Not full of angst. Full of affirmation.

"Waiting for Something" could be the catchiest "ditty" on the album. "When I was Young" has been available for some time as a free download so many fans have heard it, of course. It is one of the more atmospheric tracks, and a solid entry. This, along with "Let The Fight do the Fighting" are two of the slower, more pensive songs. The latter, by the way, was the track a friend who is not familiar with Nada Surf singled out as a favorite after listening. That brings me to the point that this album is a GREAT gateway into the Nada Surf sound for friends who haven't been around for the duration. Throw it on the car stereo during 38 minute drive, and I guarantee your passengers will ask, "Who is this?!"

"Jules and Jim" and "The Moon is Calling" are both solid, fresh tracks that ensue the middle of the album isn't "filler" (Nada Surf doesn't make "filler"). Like so many other Nada Surf songs, these two will have you emulating Matthew's harmonic vocals (good luck!). "The Moon is Calling" reaches for a few more beautiful, lifting crescendos, while "Jules and Jim" has a paced, tip-toe approach to some of the loftier moments in the song.

"Teenage Dreams" is a marching manifesto of following your dreams. Its power is sublime.

"Looking Through" -- am I about to say it again? -- is catchy as hell! ("Are you dancing? Are you dancing at all~l~l?") Upbeat and airy, somewhat akin to "The Way You Wear Your Head".

"No Snow on the Mountain" will have your feet tapping the beat within ten seconds. And just when you think it has settled in, here come Matthew's lifting vocals, a slight variation in the timing, and just another memorable Nada Surf tune that finds it way into your head and heart.

The album ends with "The Future," which I personally think is the ONLY even marginally weak song on the album. It's fast and it's fine, but it seems a little hollow for what we expect from a band as introspective and full of wonder as Nada Surf. It's not a bad track -- it just has a lofty bar to meet, and I think it may fall just short of the rest of the album.

Bottom line: If you only like certain Nada Surf moments in time ("Inside of Love," "See These Bones," "Always Love") you won't find that dark, churning sound on this album. Like I said, it is more affirmative than any full album we've seen from Nada Surf. But if you are a newcomer, this album is the one to let you experience a series of crisp, fresh tracks and begin to appreciate all of the dimensions that Nada Surf encompass. Finally, if you are a fan who likes virtually every song they have recorded, you will find more than a handful of new treasures here. "The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy" is Nada Surf's most approachable, upbeat, lively album, and needs to be played for all your friends!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
One of the best bands in the world gets even better 2 Feb. 2012
By Chris Church - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
With the addition of veteran guitarist Doug Gillard [Guided By Voices, Cobra Verde], NADA SURF have approximated the thicker, more aggressive live sound they have seldom captured on record. Not that there have been problems with any of their records since the 2nd one [the debut, by their own admission, was not quite the band they have become]...but this one absolutely sizzles. The wonderful, bittersweet wordplay {"I am lost in my mind when you go to sleep"} always manages to capture the exact mood of their heady, melodic pop-rock. This one is most comparable to "Let Go", but maybe even more upbeat. The only drawback [for me] is the relatively short running time of just over 38 minutes...but, like the adage suggests, they definitely left me wanting more. Hats off to Matthew and the boys.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
More of the Same Good Thing 24 Jan. 2012
By armenianthunder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
On this, their sixth album, Nada Surf don't redefine anything, nor do they go "back to basics," or express any pretension towards being edgy or relevant. What they do is bash out ten good songs that hang together well, that further illustrate their skillful blend of catchy indie-rock with ridiculously un-cynical lyrics. It's definitely a practice-room record, evident from the opening crash of "Clear Eye Clouded Mind," and the generally effortless but decidedly uptempo rush through the rest of the album, through to the dizzying coda of "No Snow on the Mountain." "Waiting for Something" sounds so familiar as to be Nada Surf-by-numbers, but no worries: good tricks bear repeating. The spacey slow burn of "When I was Young," the effervescent janglefest "Jules and Jim," and the earnest "Looking Through" are other highlights. The tempo only slows for "Let the Fight do the Fighting," a shimmering minor-key gem with a nice trumpet solo and cello that feels like a companion to Lucky's "Are You Lightning?". This album won't make them favorites of the Pitchfork set, but it is perhaps their most overall upbeat and accessible record, even though it doesn't quite scale the peaks from earlier efforts. It's just another Nada Surf record: sometimes that's more than enough, and huzzah for that.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Like the good old wine, amazing new record 24 Jan. 2012
By vedderoh1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The first thing that The stars are indifferent to astronomy evokes is nostalgia. Not in a good or a bad way, just a nostalgia for the past, for a decade when a song without consequence about high school kids was all one needed to be, well, popular. This is a record about the passing of time, and from the first note one knows already that it will be an ageless treat.

Nada Surf have learned to accept the maturity that comes with age. Unlike some of their contemporaries, they only glimpse back to pick what they can recycle and improve, instead of regressing. Their story as a band is that of their scene peers, and probably one of the most tangible examples of the current situation of independent rock.

Matthew Caws' voice sound as jovial as always, but there is an omnipresent sense of content. Bassist Daniel Lorca and drummer Ira Elliott, along with guest guitarist Doug Gillard, match perfectly and make their signature style soar, as the record plays without sounding tiresome or repetitive.

"Now I've grown up / I wondered what was that world I was dreaming of" Caws sings on lead single When I was young, which is emblematic in so many ways. There is no stopping the easiness with which they sail through ten tracks that aim deeper than they seem. All around there are hints at the good old times ("it is never too late for teenage dreams" he shares in Teenage dreams), but they do not get lost in the past, they are simply looking through the glass and moving forward.

For a band that never quite took off as a mainstream act, a band that has been labeled as a one hit wonder, Nada Surf are resilient and seem perfectly unaffected by it. I disagree with what some journalist declares, that their star burns rapidly; I believe that they still got plenty of fuel left and their live shows are proof of that.

This being their sixth studio album in twenty years of career is a reminder that they craft each one with care, influenced by their musical heroes but also haunted by their constant awareness that things can turn for the best or the worst, and it is all in their hands.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Pure Confectionary Excellence! 23 Nov. 2013
By Bluesteele07 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am betting that I'm in the same position as many, many other middle aged males who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s listening to rock, hair, acoustic rock, and proto-metal . . . when our favorite artists never let us down at a live show and whose songs linked up to, enveloped, and defined the singular moments in our lives when we felt immortal and triumphant.

And now our jobs, our families, our mortgages, and our car payments have taken over in a way that makes finding new music--especially defining music that can elevate us above the routine--almost impossible. Corporate music is forever trying to bring us back to the contemporary versions of our heros from 30 years ago (do you really want to pay $150 to see the Eagles in 2013? Do you think there's a single track on the newest Aerosmith CD that will change your life?).
Do you have time to find new artists that can wake you up during a morning commute with satellite radio, Pandora or, Rhapsody? I challenge my 18 year old son--a musician who seems to prefer the 60's, 70's, and 80's himself--to bring me new material . . . but it all sounds derivative of the great stuff I grew up with.

One recent morning, NPR rolled "Looking Through" into my speakers. That was it. Somehow a contemporary band had synthesized the 'feel' of so many of the killer pop songs of the early 80's. Couldn't believe I'd never heard of "Nada Surf." Perfect harmonies, shimmery guitars, exceptional production values, song construction combining killer hooks, multiple tempo changes (without ever sounding contrived or clunky), and (best of all) lyrics that never got in the way of a good hook.

I went back to listen to the entire 10 year catalogue. "The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy" is the one seamless Nada Surf CD. Every track is good to great (how often can you say that about a CD released in the past 20 years). If there's one complaint I could come up with, it's that it's almost too much of a sugar high. At times you can feel 6 years old chewing your way through a huge cotton candy ball on a 10 minute roller coaster ride.

I will say this . . . my only vice as a mid-40s family guy is my 1996 Nissan 300zx. If I have a few hours to myself, taking off the tee-tops and blasting up into the mountains on a sunny day with Nada Surf turned all the way up makes me 17 again. Every time!

If you partied back in the day to early Elvis Costello, Tom Petty (before he incorporated), early Pretenders, the Cure, the Smiths, Modern English, the Plimsouls, etc . . . make this investment.
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