In 2005, at the age of 14, Nic Hessler created the alias Catwalk to write, record and perform his music. Armed with Wipers and Roy Orbison records, an 8-track recorder and a garage, Hessler set about to make Catwalk the next great guitar-oriented Californian band like many teenagers before him. Two limited run 7″ singles were released on the now defunct Yay! imprint, making the rounds in small indie record stores and mail order distributors, and, eventually to us. This led to Hessler, as Catwalk, to be signed to the, at the time, also young and new label Captured Tracks at the ripe old age of 18.
Two CT 7″ releases in 2010 and 2011 followed, leading up to a full-fledged Catwalk LP and tour for 2011. Press reaction to the 7″s was swift and, as interest grew, Hessler garnered support in his hometown of Orange County, CA to get together a line up to tour a forthcoming LP. However, none of that would ever happen….
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Around this time, Hessler was struck with an ailment that kept him sidelined for quite sometime, Guillain-Barre Syndrome. A rare autoimmune disorder at times mistaken for Multiple Sclerosis, Guillian-Barre proved to be no walk in the park for Hessler, preventing him from playing guitar and leaving him partially paralyzed for the bulk of this lost period. While this was detrimental for Hessler and Catwalk, strangely, it may have helped the musician Nic Hessler’s career.
Now ditching the moniker of a hypothetical band, Hessler re-emerges in 2015, healthy and reinvigorated, with a more fully-formed and ambitious sound: the sound of Soft Connections, his debut LP years in the making though he’s just 23. While it’s leaps and bounds away from Catwalk in terms of fidelity and depth, the melodic and harmonic quality of Catwalk remains deeply rooted in time-honored songwriting structures. Soft Connections bridges the songwriting influences of the vintage American power-pop of Emmit Rhodes and Alex Chilton with UK giants like The Kinks and XTC. Tracks like “Hearts, Repeating” and “I Feel Again” – two classic singles in the radio sense of the word – show the maturity in craftsmanship Hessler has been honing these past four years.
The making of Soft Connections has been a lengthy process that took place during a crucial period of musical growth and self-exploration. It’s an optimistic and introspective record about being in-and-out of feeling – on the brink of a personal breakthrough, yet still seeking direction, purpose, truth and permanence. Anchored by the Catwalk favorite “(Please) Don’t Break Me,” a song that at one point could very well have launched Hessler into indie celebdom four years ago, this debut is now a send off to that period for him. Sounding better than ever and ready to soundtrack your road trip or failed crush, Soft Connections will be the first record in what we all hope to be a lengthy string of great albums.
🚨 Ahem! 🚨 Today, we’re super excited to share our remaining CT10 releases. Say 👋 to a beautiful DIIV Covers 7″ and a final repress of Minks’ debut, By The Hedge! We’re also revealing the tracklist for our budget Label…
We hope you plan to browse your local record shop this Saturday, April 16th, for Record Store day! Our offerings this year are as follows. Over the past few years we have watched Mac develop from a cult artist, to…
Today, Nic Hessler shares his video for “I Feel Again,” directed by Adam Neustadter. Stereogum had the following to say: At first listen, the tunes on Nic Hessler’s debut album Soft Connections may be categorized alongside the sunny indie rock of Wild…
We couldn’t be happier to announce Soft Connections, the debut album from Nic Hessler, formerly known as Catwalk. While you wait for the album to be released on March 17th, listen to lead single, “Hearts, Repeating” below!