Cloud Nothings Attack On Memory

CAK70

Jan 24th, 2012

In 2009, Cleveland’s Dylan Baldi began writing and recording lo-fi power-pop songs in his parents’ basement, dubbing the project Cloud Nothings. His music quickly started making the Internet rounds, and fans and critics alike took note of his pithy songcraft, infectiously catchy melodies, and youthful enthusiasm. Baldi soon released a string of 7”s, a split cassette, and an EP before putting out Turning On—a compilation spanning about a year’s worth of work—on Carpark in 2010. January 2011 saw the release Cloud Nothings’ self-titled debut LP, which, put next to Turning On, found Baldi cleaning up his lo-fi aesthetic, pairing his tales of affinitive confusion with a more pristine aural clarity. In the interval since the release of Cloud Nothings, Baldi has toured widely and put a great deal of focus on his live show, a detail that heavily shapes the music of his follow-up album, Attack on Memory.

After playing the same sets nightly for months on end, Baldi saw the rigidity of his early work, and he wanted to create arrangements that would allow for more improvisation and variability when played on the road. To accomplish this desired malleability, the entire band decamped to Chicago—where the album was recorded with Steve Albini—and all lent a hand in the songwriting process. The product of these sessions is a record boasting features that, even at a glance, mark a sea change in the band’s sound: higher fidelity, a track clocking in at almost nine minutes, an instrumental, and an overall more plaintive air. The songs move along fluidly, and Baldi sounds assured as he brings his vocals up in the mix, allowing himself to hold out long notes and put some grain into his voice. Minor key melodies abound, drums emphatically contribute much more than mere timekeeping, and the guitar work is much more adventurous than that of previous releases.

For all of early Cloud Nothings’ fun and fervor, Baldi admits that it never sounded like most of the music he listens to. With Attack on Memory, he wanted to remedy this anomaly, and in setting out to do so, Baldi and co. have created an album that shows vast growth in a still very young band.

Tracklisting

1. No Future/No Past
2. Wasted Days
3. Fall In
4. Stay Useless
5. Separation
6. No Sentiment
7. Our Plans
8. Cut You

Audio

Other Info

Press Photos

Artist Bio

Cloud Nothings was founded in a Cleveland basement, the one-man recording project of Dylan Baldi, an unassuming, then 18-year-old student of song with a breathtaking ear for melody. Prolific from the start, Baldi’s early work was rough but immediate: crudely recorded, spring-loaded spasms of Buzzcocks-informed pop that quickly found an online following among the lo-fi-inclined. When an opportunity presented itself to open a small show in Brooklyn, Baldi abandoned a still-in-progress final project to be there. The gamble paid off — he’s been touring ever since, using every available break to write and record more.

In 2010, Carpark unveiled Turning On, a retrospective introduction that combined early 7″ singles and the full-length debut (a limited release on cassette and vinyl) from which it took its name. The following year, Cloud Nothings made its proper Carpark debut with a thrilling self-titled LP that found Baldi in a studio for the first time, shedding the many layers of hiss and distortion that had once obscured (or enhanced) his every sugary hook. What followed was an unexpected breakthrough, 2012′s Attack on Memory, an album that very loudly (with the help of producer Steve Albini) announced the arrival of Cloud Nothings as the sound of more than just Baldi: Caustic and gargantuan, it marked the first time our young hero wrote with and for his longtime touring band, drummer Jayson Gerycz, bassist TJ Duke and since departed guitarist Joe Boyer. Touring intensified, rock critics slobbered, and the ceiling was raised considerably.

Enter yet another first: the highly-anticipated follow-up. Here and Nowhere Else is the sound of Baldi further realizing his potential not just as a collaborative bandleader but a singer as well. The sometimes frightening interplay that galvanized its predecessor is refined here, Baldi’s cyclonic guitar parts and Gerycz’s seismic drumwork more tightly clenched and nuanced than they’ve ever been before. It’s an album every bit as ferocious as what we’ve recently come to expect — only smarter.