Cloud Nothings Bring Midwest Post-Punk To Lincoln Hall This Saturday
By Jessica Mlinaric in Arts & Entertainment on May 2, 2014 8:30PM
Credit: Pooneh Ghana
Releasing four albums in five years is an impressive feat for any artist. Since dropping out of college in 2009 to form Cloud Nothings in his parents’ basement on the west side of Cleveland, Dylan Baldi has managed to evolve the group’s sound with each successive release.
The band’s 2012 breakout, Attack on Memory, jettisoned the jangly pysch-pop of their first two albums to plunge into snarling post-hardcore territory. Cloud Nothings’ garage punk thrashing is less melodic than their early output, but it’s still hooky as hell.
Cloud Nothings pummel out scraping rust belt brutality on their fourth LP, Here and Nowhere Else. The album builds on the frantic, visceral sound developed on Attack on Memory. “Going into this record was the first time where people knew and liked the band already,” Baldi told Chicagoist. “I didn’t know if I could totally change the band again. I spent a long time thinking about writing before I actually sat down to write stuff.”
While the pacing is often breakneck, the well-crafted songs convey intentionality and an increased tightness. After all, this is Cloud Nothings’ first outing as a power trio after the exit of guitarist Joe Boyer. Baldi now does double-duty as lead and rhythm guitar with TJ Duke on bass and Jason Gerycz walloping drums until the bottom seemingly drops out.
The album’s opener, “Now Hear In,” is especially rewarding for Baldi. “I was carrying it around in my head for years at that point and I didn’t know what to do with it. At one point it was a country sounding song. When I finally turned it into a real song I felt ok, but that one will always stand out.”
Cloud Nothings have worked with some notable producers, highlighting the young band’s sound rather than forming it. Legendary local producer Steve Albini produced Attack on Memory. “It was his birthday when we were making the record,” said Baldi. “We bought him Indian food.” For Here and Nowhere Else, Cloud Nothings partnered with John Congleton (Okkervill River, St. Vincent).
“It’s exciting getting to work with those people because they’ve done so much stuff,” said Baldi. “Steve and John actually have really similar styles. Neither had too much to say really. The songs were all done we just went in there and they were really laid back and let us do what we wanted to do. That’s kind of why I think we sound like ourselves on every record. Those guys are both really great producers, and I like working with people who know what they’re doing because I don’t know how to record things at all.”
Baldi has also been busy recording with Wavves’ Nathan Williams. He stayed with Williams in LA for ten days this year following SXSW and recorded about seven songs. “They’re pretty good,” Baldi laughed. “They’re just like a mix of Wavves and Cloud Nothings really. You can still probably hear, ‘Oh Nathan did this or I did this.’” Baldi doesn’t know what form the songs will take but assured, “We’ll get it out there somehow.”
Cloud Nothings play a sold out show at Lincoln Hall this Saturday, and we’re especially excited to catch Detroit’s raw garage rockers Protomartyr on the bill. So how did the Midwest impact the development of Baldi’s lo-fi, basement-punk sound? “Well growing up in Cleveland the only influence is that there was nothing to do. I stayed inside and played music the whole time so that helped me.”
Cloud Nothings perform Saturday, May 3, at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln, 10 p.m. SOLD OUT, 18+