Cloud Nothings Last Building Burning

CAK130

Oct 19th, 2018

“I wrote this because I feel like there aren’t too many rock bands doing this right now,” says frontman Dylan Baldi. “A lot of the popular bands with guitars are light. They sound good, but it’s missing the heaviness I like.”

Right now, indie rock is centered around controlled solos instead of unpredictability, tight chords instead of jagged riffs, clean tones instead of rough edges. That much is evident by the comparisons thrown at Cloud Nothings, all touchstones from the past: the Wipers, Drive Like Jehu, Sunny Day Real Estate, Nirvana. The Cleveland four-piece want to keep doing this, to be a band that continues the evolution of barbed, rapid-fire, energetic rock without ever trying to replicate those artists, if it means this current era can have benchmark artists of their own. With Last Building Burning, their fifth full-length studio album, Cloud Nothings become the torchbearers they want to see in the world.

Last Building Burning is the product of eight days with producer Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Wolves in the Throne Room, Boris) in Texas studio Sonic Ranch. Clocking in just over half an hour, the eight-song album sees Cloud Nothings capture their onstage appeal with help from Dunn, who Baldi describes as “technically minded without relying on technology to perfect the live sound.”

“I’m obsessed with the idea of energy at the moment,” says Baldi. “That’s how I thought of this record: seven short, and one long, bursts of intense, controlled chaos. I wanted to make that come across in a way that can actually be felt. There are certain albums I’ve heard where you can feel the energy of the record, even if it’s not particularly crazy-ass music, because there are sounds you can latch on to. It makes me energized. I like that music can do that, and I wanted to figure out how our songs could be arranged to make that happen.”

After touring behind last year’s Life Without Sound, the first pop-leaning record Cloud Nothings recorded as a unit, drummer Jayson Gerycz, bassist TJ Duke, guitarist Chris Brown, and Baldi found themselves feeling stilted by an elongated recording process and hyper-polished sound. So the band used the songwriting process of albums like 2012’s Attack on Memory and 2014’s Here and Nowhere Else, which emphasizes dynamics, energy levels, and tempo. “We spent a lot of time talking with one another to nail that down,” says Baldi, “whether it’s getting quiet for two bars or filling the next bar with constant noise.” Given the fact that Baldi, Gerycz, and Brown live in a house together, with Duke mere minutes down the street, that near-flawless cohesion comes from jamming free of the restrictive structure of rented studio time. The fact that they can (and do) practice whenever they want to explains how Last Building Burning captures their insatiable hunger for live energy.

Last Building Burning plays like the meeting point of Cloud Nothings’ catalog. “On An Edge” continues the band’s tradition of bold opening tracks. A psychotic onslaught of guitars of drum fills, the song explodes when you least expect, earning the title of “the craziest song we’ve ever done” from Baldi. During “In Shame,” Brown splices guitar pans like a jouster who swapped their lance for a sword. Gerycz became a perfectionist for the subtly difficult drumming in “The Echo Of The World.”  On slow burner “So Right So Clean,” Baldi adopts a stentorian way of singing. Even the feedback-filled drone of 10-minute number “Dissolution” maintains their trademark focus.

In that, Last Building Burning is a return to Cloud Nothing’s sharpest form — the unhinged, feverish, guitar-heavy sound that they explode with onstage — without their early angst. “It’s not an angry record,” says Baldi. “It’s a very joyous thing for me. And it feels so nice to scream again, especially when you know people in the crowd will be screaming along back at you.”

Tracklisting

1. On An Edge
2. Leave Him Now
3. In Shame
4. Offer An End
5. The Echo Of The World
6. Dissolution
7. So Right So Clean
8. Another Way Of Life

Audio

Other Info

PRESS
North America: nick@orienteer.us
Europe: ben@wichita-recordings.com
Japan: keita@hostess.co.jp
Australia: andy@stopstartmusic.com
Brazil: marcoskilzer@coqueiroverderecords.com.br

LAST BUILDING BURNING
• North American publicity by Orienteer
• College/Non-Commercial/Commercial Specialty radio by Terrorbird
• Digital Marketing by Terrorbird
• Limited clear-colored vinyl
• All LPs come in a mirror foil single sleeve jacket
• Produced by Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Marissa Nadler, Boris, Akron/Family) at Sonic Ranch in El Paso
• “The Echo of the World,” “Leave Him Now,” and “So Right So Clean” music videos in the works
• North American fall tour dates
• Vinyl includes free digital download

UPCs
Limited LP: 677517013047
Regular LP: 677517013016
CD: 677517013023
Cassette: 677517013030
Digital:  677517013054

Press Photos

Hi-Res TIFF album art:

Photos by: Daniel Topete


Artist Bio

For a band that sticks to its impulses instead of trends, Cloud Nothings accumulates critical praise and loyal fans with the type of ease modern rock bands can only dream of. That’s because the Cleveland four-piece is the byproduct of Dylan Baldi, a frontman whose melodic intuition and musical fervor are as innate as they are impressive. Baldi’s early indie rock songs welcome pop warmly without sounding trite. His later alt-rock hooks are too busy criss-crossing guitar lines to overthink things. The urgency he writes with comes across in the vividness of his guitar. Since expanding his solo project into a proper band, Baldi has positioned Cloud Nothings as the torchbearers of the frenetic, visceral, and thundering rock of bands like The Wipers and Drive Like Jehu. It’s all alternating resolves and anticipated breakdowns. And live, it’s near impossible to dispute talent that palpable.

Looking back, it makes sense how Cloud Nothings got here. At the age of 18, Baldi gained attention after a string of lo-fi songs he recorded in the comfort of his basement began circulating online. It landed him a spot on a buzzed-about show in Brooklyn where, in turn, he caught the eyes of Carpark. His music began its upward ascent immediately. In 2010, Carpark released Turning On, a retrospective combo of the band’s debut EP and various 7” singles. Cloud Nothings unveiled their self-titled LP the following year, a record that showcased how crisp Baldi’s hooks sound when given proper studio time. But what followed in 2012, their breakthrough LP Attack on Memory, paved a new path for the band. The album saw Baldi throw himself into his guitar while collaborating with the rest of his touring band—drummer Jayson Gerycz, bassist TJ Duke, and guitarist Joe Boyer—to create an aggressive, unrelenting, and throat-scratching album that captured not just their sound, but their collective raw energy. Cloud Nothings fleshed out that sound further on 2014’s Here and Nowhere Else, this time as a trio after Boyer’s departure. Even when Baldi, in a decision to feed his quiet fondness for pop, used 2017’s Life Without Sound to showcase his melodic inclinations, he showed a continued growth in his songwriting skills.

Cloud Nothings fold all of that forward momentum into their newest record, Last Building Burning. Just over half an hour in length, the album is a singular listen designed to mirror the experience of their live shows. Gerycz and Duke propel the rhythm section with their fastest speed to date. Baldi and guitarist Chris Brown reshape converging guitar parts into double-edged swords, reaching beyond power chords for instantly pleasing riffs that are urgent in delivery. Though the record touches on various sounds of the band’s past—“Another Way Of Life” digs its toes into the harmonies of Life Without Sound and “On An Edge” recalls the blistering peaks of Here and Nowhere Else—it showcases how untouchable the band has become. Cloud Nothings are a permanent staple of what rock music should sound like: gritty, caustic, and tireless. In that, almost a decade into their career, Cloud Nothings have become a reference point for budding rock acts while perpetually looking to outdo themselves as they go.