Nada Surf was thrust into the spotlight of a booming alternative music scene back in 1996, when the band’s quirky debut single, “Popular”, became, well, popular. Two years later, when the Brooklyn-based trio turned in its sophomore album, The Proximity Effect to record label executives at Elektra, the executives were none too pleased. The album lacked a “Popular”, they said; it had no catchy single that would spur interest in the record and generate sales. When the band rejected the label’s request to alter the album, Elektra refused to release it in the United States, and Nada Surf and the label decided to part ways.
Although they had long been dismissed as a novelty one-hit wonder, Nada Surf soldiered on. They acquired the rights to The Proximity Effect from Elektra and released the record on their own label, MarDev, in the United States in 2000, touring extensively throughout the country to support its release. Without the backing of a major label behind them, however, both record sales and show attendance were generally disappointing.