A little time off and a fortuitous meeting in a pub led to an unexpected offering from Nada Surf.
Just out is "The Dulcitone Files EP," a digital collection featuring acoustic performances of five songs from the group's latest album "The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy," recorded by frontman Matthew Caws in England. It's the result of Caws' recent move to Cambridge and meeting musician and studio owner Lee Russell at a weekly songwriters' night in a local pub.
SONG PREMIERE: Hear "Looking Through"
"He said, 'Oh, I have a studio in a chapel outside of town.' I said, 'Oh, we have a new record but don't have any B-sides. I need to record something,' " Caws tells Billboard.com. "He looked at me a little askance, as if to say, 'Well, OK, I just saw you play a couple songs. How do I know you really make records? I never heard of you.' And in reaction, I was like, 'How do I know you have a studio? What do you have, a laptop and some earbuds?' (laughs)
"So we both went home and Googled each other and came back the next week, 'Hey! How's it going? Let's do this!' and the very next day he picked me up and drove me out to (the studio)."
Save for a key change on "The Future," Caws says recording the acoustic songs "wasn't a lot of heavy thinking, just whatever felt natural." The sessions went quickly, he adds, and Russell proved a good collaborator. "I'd do something and he'd be, 'Try it a little faster' or a little slower. I liked him as a person but didn't know him very well; I just threw in my lot with him and took a chance. I'm pretty psyched how it came out."
Nada Surf is currently back on the road promoting "The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy," which came out in January. The group played several shows at this year's South By Southwest Music + Media Conference and will be on the road in the U.S. until April 10. The group returns in June for 14-date East Coast and Midwest run that starts June 10 in Lancaster, Pa., and Caws says he's enjoying the first-ever quintet incarnation of Nada Surf, which augments the base trio of Caws, bassist Daniel Lorca and drummer Ira Elliot with guitarist Doug Gillard (Guided By Voices, Death of Samantha) and Calexico's Martin Wenk on keyboards and trumpet.
"We've never had this big a band before, and I'm really enjoying it," Caws says. "Early on I never thought I was a strong enough singer. I guess I felt if there were more people in the band I'd get drowned out. I guess I don't think that way anymore. It's really fun. It's just like having a better spaceship that goes faster...and we can really do the songs justice with this kind of lineup."
Summer Tour Dates:
19 -- Lancaster, PA (Chameleon Club)
20 -- Pittsburgh, PA (Club AE)
21 -- Cleveland, OH (Beachland Ballroom)
22 -- Ann Arbor, MI (Blind Pig)
23 -- Indianapolis, IN (Deluxe)
24 -- Louisville, KY (Headliners)
25 -- St. Louis, MO (Old Rock House)
27 -- Little Rock, AR (Juanitas)
28 -- Dallas, TX (Granada)
29 -- Austin, TX (La Zona Rosa)
30 -- Houston, TX (Fitzgerald's)
2 -- Birmingham, AL (Bottletree)
3 -- Atlanta, GA (The Loft)
5 -- Baltimore, MD (Ramshead TBD)