If Nada Surf isn't the best power-pop band at work today, it's because Cheap Trick is still alive and kicking. But then again, the New York-based foursome, for all the mainlined sugar of its breezy choruses and charging riffs, has always been more than a hook machine. Songwriter and lead singer Matthew Caws infuses his best lines with a kind of restless bewilderment at the isolation great pop music is meant to dispel. "Nothing happens for a reason, nothing was meant to be," he sings on the horn-punched "Out of the Dark," a standout track on this year's excellent You Know Who You Are. This band definitely knows who it is: an ever-reliable cure for the tuneless indie-rock blues.
Guided by Guitar: Best known for his work with Guided By Voices, Doug Gillard has become a full-time member of the band, tempering the its brightness with brawny, sometimes grungy guitar.
Stream "Out of the Dark" below:
8 p.m. Monday, September 26. The Old Rock House, 1200 South Seventh Street. $20 to $22. 314-588-0505.