One of the top YouTube search results for Wavves is still a three-year-old video titled “Wavves being a jerk.” So when Nathan Williams sneers, ambivalent and not as young anymore, that “you’ll die the same loser,” “the truth is that it hurts,” and “what’s it really worth,” it’s not just unremembered-’90s borrowed nostalgia. Another video clip you can find, if you search for it or simply watch above, has Williams singing those words with the rest of his somewhat hirsute quartet last night on Late Show With David Letterman. The song is “Demon to Lean On,” the soft-loud structure comes with just enough feedback after Williams hits the distortion pedal, and Letterman rightly calls the performance “tremendous.” You get the sense Williams knows no such accolades really matter, and that’s why he continues to matter.
Check out SPIN’s review of Wavves’ new album Afraid of Heights, plus our latest interview with Williams. Also don’t miss our 2012 cover story on him and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino.