JUDGING BY the number of times he pushes back our interview in order to score huge hauls of used records, Ryan Naideau would rather spend his time thumbing through dusty record crates than talking about his punk-gone-power-pop band's new album, 77.
To be fair, digging through crates at record fairs is Naideau's job; he works at Other Music in Manhattan, a self-described repository for "underground, rare, and experimental music." Like any good record store clerk, he takes care to differentiate between devotional jazz and cosmic universal jazz (we were discussing Alice Coltrane), and he appreciates the finer aspects of the Everly Brothers' song construction.
One gets the sense that the time Naideau puts in at Other Music also doubles as research for his other job: drumming for Nude Beach. When he stumbles across an interesting find, he'll "immediately send a link of a song to Chuck [Betz, Nude Beach's guitarist]," Naideau says.
77, a double album, takes the power pop of Nude Beach's first two releases and crams in ideas from all over the dollar bins, as winding ballads collide with third-generation worship of the Flamin' Groovies worshipping the Rolling Stones. If Pet Sounds was Brian Wilson's teenage symphony to god, 77 might be Nude Beach's teenage symphony to Alex Chilton. Even with the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink style of songwriting, 77 doesn't feel long-winded. Instead, the album retains power pop's focus on stirring up macro feelings on a micro scale.
"If anything, we're not trying to get more grandiose," Naideau explains. "I feel like the longer we are in a band, the more we are interested in the art of simple songcraft."
Naideau cross-trains for Nude Beach by playing in Warthog, a group of scuzzy hardcore brutalists from New York. ("As much as they're two separate entities, they're not that different in my head.") The two bands operate in essentially the same way, even if Warthog shows invite the cut-off-denim-and-studs crowd. "They're both DIY-minded bands that have the same style of playing shows with bands we like, playing shows with friends, playing shows for bands we want to support," Naideau says. Warthog has released records with the DIY-oriented Iron Lung Records; Nude Beach put out 77 with the venerable Jersey institution Don Giovanni Records.
"I truly like every type of music and wish that I could play all of them sufficiently," Naideau says. "But so far the ones I've figured out how to play really well are... hardcore and rock."
The spectrum of sounds reveals a greater motivation at work for the Nude Beach crew. 77 might sound obsessed with another era, but the music started as an incredibly present passion for Nude Beach. "It's a weird thing to be considered a 'throwback band,'" Naideau says, "when all you are trying to do is to make a record that's good, with songs that will stand up." 77, made in fits and spurts in studios set up in friends' homes, bears the mark of a self-contained unit of musicians trying to make each other happy.
Naideau takes care not to overreach his modesty when he says he wants to make music that "people give a shit about in three years or two years." He reconsiders for a beat, before chuckling, "or even three weeks."