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CLOUD NOTHINGS

Cloud Nothings

The Shadow I Remember

    For a band that resists repeating itself, picking up lessons from a decade prior is the strange route Cloud Nothings took to create their most fully-realized album. Their new record, The Shadow I Remember, marks eleven years of touring, a return to early songwriting practices, and revisiting the studio where they first recorded together.

    In a way not previously captured, this album expertly combines the group’s pummeling, aggressive approach with singer-songwriter Dylan Baldi’s extraordinary talent for perfect pop. To document this newly realized maturity, the group returned to producer Steve Albini and his Electrical Audio studios in Chicago, where the band famously destroyed its initial reputation as a bedroom solo project with the release of 2012 album Attack on Memory.

    Another throwback was Baldi’s return to constant songwriting à la the early solo days, which led to the nearly 30 demos that became the 11 songs on The Shadow I Remember. Instead of sticking to a tried-but-true formula, his songwriting stretched out while digging deeper into his melodic talents. “I felt like I was locked in a character,” Baldi says of becoming a reliable supplier of heavy, hook-filled rock songs. “I felt like I was playing a role and not myself. I really didn’t like that role.” More frequent writing led to the freedom in form heard on The Shadow I Remember. What he can’t do alone is get loud and play noisily, which is exactly what happened when the entire band— bassist TJ Duke, guitarist Chris Brown, and drummer Jayson Gerycz—convened.

    The band had more fun in the studio than they’ve had in years, playing in their signature, pulverizing way, while also trying new things. The absurdly catchy “Nothing Without You” includes a first for the band: Macie Stewart of Ohmme contributes guest vocals. Elsewhere, celebrated electronic composer Brett Naucke adds subtle synthesizer parts.

    The songs are kept trim, mostly around the three-minute mark, while being gleefully overstuffed. Almost every musical part turns into at least two parts, with guitar and drums opening up and the bass switching gears. “That’s the goal—I want the three-minute song to be an epic,” Baldi says. “That’s the short version of the long-ass jam.”

    Lyrically, Baldi delivers an aching exploration of tortured existence, punishing self-doubt, and the familiar pangs of oppressive mystery. “Am I something?” Baldi screams on the song of the same name. “Does anybody living out there really need me?” It’s a heartbreaking admission of existential confusion, delivered hoarsely, with an instantly relatable melody.

    “Is this the end/ of the life I've known?” he asks on lead single and album opener “Oslo.” “Am I older now/ or am I just another age?” Despite the questioning lyrics, the band plays with more assurance and joy than ever before. The Shadow I Remember announces Cloud Nothings’ second decade and it sounds like a new beginning.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Spectral light whirl vinyl.

    Cloud Nothings

    Turning On (10th Anniversary Edition)

      It’s been 10 years since the release of Turning On, Cloud Nothings’ debut album. Singer-songwriter Dylan Baldi was just 18 years old when he began recording the album, creating each track in his parents’ basement in Cleveland, Ohio. Over one winter, Baldi produced an album of taut, lo-fi guitar-pop songs, playing each instrument himself. His music gained traction in the increasingly popular music blog circuit, allowing Baldi to book his first shows in new places, like New York City. He gathered a band together to play live, and Cloud Nothings were on their way.

      The band has accomplished a great deal since Turning On, signing to Carpark Records, releasing seven albums, and headlining numerous international tours. Yet, their debut isn’t dusted over in the band’s history. Turning On still remains the stripped-back core of Cloud Nothings style: raw and grungy, filled with catchy earworms that are surprisingly pop. The album carries all the stored potential of someone ready to venture off into the world, a feeling that bursts with energy even 10 years later.

      All the tracks on Turning On are eruptive and restless, its lo-fi quality embodying the desperate need to record an idea by any means necessary. Songs like “Hey Cool Kid” encapsulate Baldi’s talent for churning, hook-filled guitar. The vocals on songs like “Can’t Stay Awake” are distorted, with scattered lyrics that echo the angst of a teenage diary. As a whole, the album delivers dissonance and edge, without sacrificing the authentic romanticism of someone who is on the verge of something big and doesn’t know it yet. 


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Clear w/ Opaque Light Blue Marble LP.

      Cloud Nothings

      The Black Hole Understands

        Written and recorded during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Black Hole Understands is “a record born of this early quarantine anxiety and confusion,” according to vocalist/guitarist Dylan Baldi.

        About a month into quarantine, Baldi and drummer Jayson Gerycz started sending files back and forth, with guitars, bass and vocals tracked in Philadelphia and drums and mixing undertaken in Cleveland. This remote recording process presented a new set of restrictions for Cloud Nothings, completely removing the element of interactive jamming and tightening the production around a set of streamlined summer pop songs.

        Every Cloud Nothings record, from their 2010 debut Turning On through to 2014’s Attack On Memory and 2018’s Last Building Burning, has had its own distinct feel. But The Black Hole Understands eschews the noisy thrash and improv tendencies that emerged on later albums, in favor of dreamy, poppy vocals that float over fast, jangly songs.

        With clean hooks and uncluttered arrangements (a synth overdub from Bee Mask's Chris Madak is the album's only guest feature), the songs on The Black Hole Understands are the kind of concise, hook-heavy blasts the band was churning out in their earliest days, albeit a little more distant and weary.
        Hyper-melodic and high-energy, The Black Hole Understands also shows a restraint that fits with the strange times that it was born of, carrying a sense of melancholy and cautious optimism that mirrors the restless dread of life on lockdown. 


        Cleveland, OH’s Cloud Nothings return with their loudest record to date. Undeniably one of the finest and most captivating live acts on the face of the planet, this record goes further towards capturing that power and intensity than any of their previous releases.

        The album was produced by legend of heavy music Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Earth, Oren Ambarchi, Marissa Nadler, Black Mountain) at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, TX.

        Weighing in at just over thirty minutes it’s a singular listen that reflects the band’s live tenacity - one that sees them surge through the tracks at a speed hitherto unseen on previous outings - the perfect antidote to 2017’s ‘Life Without Sound’.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        says: Brilliantly dynamic thrashing punky riffs, angular math-rocky riffing and snarling vox, all brought together into Cloud Nothings' newest outing. Richly melodic but filled with unexpected twists and turns, forging an interesting and rewarding listen. Definitely one for blasting out at the skate park.

        Wavves / Cloud Nothings

        No Life For Me

        No Life For Me is the highly anticipated collaborative album between Nathan Williams of Wavves and Dylan Baldi of Cloud Nothings via Williams’s own imprint, Ghost Ramp. The album was recorded at Williams’s home during sessions in March and June of 2014, with production from Sweet Valley.

        “For all their differences, a Wavves / Cloud Nothings collaboration makes a good deal of sense, and fans have been eagerly anticipating an album since it was officially announced back in March…. [The album] is a summery slice of punk that’s more SoCal than Ohio, even if Baldi can’t help but smear his unique brand of melancholy all over standout tracks like ‘Nervous’ and ‘Nothing Hurts’…. “No Life For Me is deeply indebted to early 1980s Southern California punk, a scene that’s probably buried deep in the soil of Williams’ mind by this point…. This is pop music executed with the no-frills precision of hardcore….” - Consequence of Sound.


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