Los Angeles label Solid Brass Records announced its second release today, and shared the lead single from the forthcoming previously unreleased album by San Francisco band Nuzzle. The album, No Love Like That — The Stanford Sessions 1997 was originally recorded for short-lived Sub Pop subsidiary Die Young, Stay Pretty. These recordings became the stuff of lore for fans of ’90s west coast indie music.
Nuzzle began as a trio; Nate Dalton (guitar), Simon Fabela (bass) and Ricardo Reano (drums) in Rosemead, California, in 1991 before ultimately settling in Santa Cruz. In 1993, Nate’s older brother Andrew joined on guitar and switched to vocals early in 1994, solidifying their lineup.
By the mid ’90s Nuzzle had already released several 45s, their Follow, For Now LP on Youth Strike Chord, and several compilation tracks. They had also completed a successful U.S. tour with Fisticuffs Bluff, and had become staples in a loosely knit but deeply felt west coast scene anchored by Kill Rock Stars Records in Olympia and Gravity Records in San Diego. The buzz they generated helped them find their way onto bills with bands like Evergreen, Unwound, Lync, Bikini Kill, Modest Mouse, The VSS, Clikatat Ikatowi, and more.
In 1996 Nuzzle teamed up with friend and engineer Andy Radin to record eight new songs at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, where Radin was recording bands during graveyard shifts from 10pm to dawn. “The legend goes that these recordings were originally meant for release on a ‘big label’ and were short-sightedly passed on,” recalls George Chen from Zum Audio.
Nuzzle never returned to the Stanford studio for a final mixing so Radin labeled his cassette copy ‘Nuzzle Rough Mixes’ and shelved the project while the band continued to play shows up and down the California coast in 1997 and 1998.
Bassist Simon Fabela recounts, “We re-recorded the Stanford songs with Jeff Pinn from Zilla/Hyde Street Studios in an abandoned, supposedly haunted, half-way house in San Jose. That became San Lorenzo’s Blues and was released in 1999 on Troubleman Unlimited.”
Radin and the band all agree the LP on Troubleman is strong, but these Stanford sessions capture Nuzzle as they were live; raw with more plaintive urgency in the vocals. “None of us had heard it in nearly 10 years. We actually really like the recordings since they captured what Nuzzle was like live back then,” says Simon Fabela, bassist for Nuzzle (and now Duster). “I was talking with a friend recently and she was saying that none of our recordings really captured the sound, the energy, the rawness of Nuzzle as she remembers us live. Listening to the Stanford sessions, I think these recordings came the closest,” says guitarist Nate Dalton.
No Love Like That: Stanford Sessions 1997 has been remixed by Liam Andrew Nelson, mastered by Dave Gardner at Infrasonic Mastering in Los Angeles, and will be available on LP and download in April 2023 on Solid Brass Records.
The label’s founders are themselves influential members of the ’90s underground scene and beyond.Solid Brass nods to great archival labels like Numero Group and Trust Records to properly resurrect key DIY records from the ’90s-’00s, as well as putting out new releases.
The label’s first three releases are 1) the complete discography of Cleveland’s 90s post-hardcore band Grain, 2) Nuzzle’s No Love Like That — The Stanford Sessions 1997 album, and 3) a new album from High Aura’d songwriter John Kolodij’s reunited The Pines of Rome. All of them mastered by Dave Gardner at Infrasonic Mastering and street in First Quarter 2023, followed by many more exciting works to be announced soon.