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Though Nada Surf’s name invokes sunny tunes and dumb lyrics, the band’s songs don’t usually scream Southern California. Same goes for the band it plays with tonight, ascendant Roanoke act Eternal Summers. But sunshiney names aside, the two mostly diverge. New York fourpiece Nada Surf is the old dog, having ridden the alt-rock wave since 1992; Eternal Summers play the role of Pitchfork-approved whipper-snapper. You’ve probably heard the former in the background of a dozen-odd TV shows and commercials (not to mention on the radio, because alt-rock stations still can’t get enough of its 1996 hit “Popular”), but the band hangs its hat on its live shows—and it brings some of that spontaneity to its latest album, The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy. Doesn’t sound too sunny, does it? That’s because the existential longing the band is known for hasn’t gone anywhere. And it’s better for it.

Nada Surf and Eternal Summers perform at 7 p.m. at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $22. (202) 265-0930. 930.com.