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Nada Surf and Shopping with the new and noteworthy 

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Shopping, All or Nothing (FatCat Records) – When Rachel Aggs launched her Scottish art-punk trio six years ago, there was plenty of absurd space to sound like The Slits or Lora Logic. But the intervening years brought Brexit, Trump and Johnson, and the band’s fourth album relies much more on minor chords and resignation. Still, the dance beats remain unconquered, and Shopping is ready to stay defiant “when the crunch time comes around,” almost a successor to Gang of Four after the death of Andy Gill. Thanks, Rachel, we need this.

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Nada Surf, Never Not Together (Barsuk Records) – Matthew Caws has developed a reputation for composing decent and uplifting folk-rock anthems in the manner of Jayhawks. Still, Caws can use the guitar discipline of occasional member Doug Gillard (Guided by Voices), who will join Nada Surf on tour and provides a few licks in this studio recording. While Caws and bassist Daniel Lorca carry a lot of weight here, the songs don’t sparkle as much as the last two Nada Surf albums, except for the spoken-word riffs of “Just Wait.” Maybe Gillard can give the arrangements more life on the road. 


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