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Nina Nastasia

In October 1999, Nina Nastasia recorded the album that would finally document her well-seeded career as a local singer-songwriter in New York City, which began in the early nineties. The recording necessitated that Nina and partner Kennan Gudjonsson establish their own vehicle for its advance, and the following year, Dogs was released on micro-indie label Socialist Records. Fans of Nina’s live show quickly bought up copies of the cd, which came in a lush, classic package — letterpress lyrics, hand-mounted photo — that made it irresistible to the fetishist collector.

By the end of 2000, Dogs was out of print. The costly package and the tiny infrastructure of Socialist put its release on indefinite delay as Nina prepared to record her second album, The Blackened Air, in 2001. But Dogs had a special grassroots effect on Nina’s music career, as fans of the record would correspond across internet message boards and ‘zines, discussing songs and soliciting copies of the rare edition. The album would also mark the beginning of a lasting peer-relationship with noted recording engineer Steve Albini.

Veteran BBC DJ John Peel got hold of a copy of Dogs and became enamored with it. He gave the then-unavailable record constant spin on his Radio 1 program, which helped to garner an international demand for Dogs — a bittersweet success for Nina, who had long since sold her last copy.

In April 2002, Nina released her well-received sophomore lp, The Blackened Air, on Touch and Go, and began extensive international touring. The Blackened Air was followed up in 2003 by its darker sister, Run to Ruin, and finally, after years of being unattainable, Touch and Go reissued Dogs in 2004.