Things I learned while in L.A. last week for my tri-annual camping trip with my Rice roommates:
1. "California Love" by Tupac and Dr. Dre is so much cooler to listen to when you're actually driving in California with a gat held sideways in your hand; doing it in Houston is nice, but it loses a little something in West U. or the Medical Center.
2. There is nothing comparable to Amoeba Records in Houston.
3. Nada Surf is not a half-bad band.
While Nada Surf is not a California band (they're from New York), I got some extended exposure to Nada Surf on the drive from L.A. to Los Olivos, and they grew on me. I had never really paid any attention to them, and in fact had kind of written them off simply because I thought their name was impossibly dumb. Also, I knew only three songs by them: the Weezer-esque "Popular," the Cake-esque "If You Leave," and the (unsurprisingly) Pixies-esque "Where Is My Mind?" (from the 1999 Pixies tribute album of the same name). My conclusion: meh.
Since coming back to Houston, though, I have to admit that I've warmed up to the band. While their music is not earth-shatteringly good, it is very melodic and pretty (though the lyrics are just okay). The main allure is just how absolutely straightforward their music is. They don't seem to be trying for too much, and for some reason, that works out for them.
Here is a live version of "Blonde on Blonde" (from 2003's Let Go):
And, just for fun, here's perennial favorite Kevin Devine performing an acoustic cover of "Inside of Love" (also from Let Go):