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Nic Hessler, who used to rock the lo-fi indie outfit, Catwalk, is putting forth his first full length entitled, “Soft Connections” due out March 17th, 2015. Hessler’s sound has grown more mature and feels a lot more wholesome from a production standpoint. “Hearts, Repeating” the lead single off the record is both poppy and dreamy, with just a sprinkle of twee vibrations. “I Feel Again” is filled with sun drenched infectious lead guitar slides that contrast beautifully between the purposely colorful melancholic vocals. I’m heavily reminded of The Orchids (Glasgow, Scotland – Sarah Records) and The Field Mice (London, England – Sarah Records) in a really good way. Expect a very approachable indie rock record with reflective, fun and dreamy qualities. There’s just bound to be some Catwalk-esque chiller gems on this album. Whichever is the case, Captured Track’s Mike Sniper has the uncanny ability to continue to find  and put out up and comers in the indie rock world and this should be no different. In two years time you’ll happily pat yourself on the back with adding this to your collection. Check out the two singles below and treat yourself to the limited edition opaque teal LP (Remember to select the Teal Opaque option on the selection tool on Captured Tracks website!)


The Details

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, Nic set about to make Catwalk the next great guitar-oriented Californian band like many teenagers before him. Two tiny run 7″ singles on the now defunct Yay! imprint soon appeared, making the rounds in small indie record stores and mail order distributors. This led to Nic, as Catwalk, to be signed to the also young and new label Captured Tracks at the ripe old age of 18.
Two Captured Tracks 7″ releases in 2010 and 2011 followed, leading up to a full-fledged Catwalk LP and tour for 2011. Press reaction was swift and, as interest grew, Nic garnered support in his hometown of Orange County, CA to get together a line up to tour the LP. However, none of that would ever happen.
Around this time, Nic was struck with an ailment that kept him sidelined for quite sometime, Guillain–Barré Syndrome. A rare autoimmune disorder at times mistaken for Multiple Sclerosis, Guillian-Barre proved to be no walk in the park for Nic, preventing him from playing guitar and leaving him partially paralyzed for the bulk of this lost period. While this was detrimental for Nic and Catwalk, strangely, it may have helped the musician Nic Hessler’s career.
Now ditching the moniker of a hypothetical band, Nic 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 Nic’s 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 Nic into indie celebdom four years ago, this debut is now a send off to that period for Nic. 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.

The debut album of Nic Hessler (formerly known as Catwalk) is a modern take on bridging the songwriting influences of the vintage American power pop of Emitt Rhodes and Alex Chilton with UK giants like the Kinks or XTC.

Thanks to Hannah Silk Champagne for the tip!

Price $16

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