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Nada Surf 

The Weight Is A Gift (Barsuk)

Like being the star of a reality television show today, the stigma of having a hit single in the mid-'90s is tough to shake. Ultimately, whether you're "credible" (i.e., Dinosaur Jr) or not (Green Jelly, anyone?), it's difficult to bounce back after the media machine spits you out. Originally dismissed as a Weezer ripoff act during the brief ubiquity of 1996's "Popular," Nada Surf has quietly morphed into one of the today's best indie-pop bands -- and The Weight Is A Gift is its crowning achievement. From the bouncy, 4/4-time opener "Concrete Bed" to the organ-driven "Your Legs Grow" to the Byrdsian closer "Imaginary Friends," Gift is 38 minutes of pure pop perfection. Sure, frontman Matthew Caws' lyrics can get a bit too hippie-fied at times (what else would you expect from a song called "Always Love"?), but when they're conveyed via a falsetto this gorgeous, who cares, man?

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More by Jonah Bayer

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