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Life WITH Soundz – CLOUD NOTHINGS: Life without sound (Wichita, 2017)

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El tradicional Pop de tintes acelerados y proto-grunge de Cloud Nothings parece que continúa indemne al paso del tiempo. Los de Ohio se mantienen fieles a una fórmula eficaz y que les promete en cada disco tres o cuatro trallazos melódicos con los que no suelen defraudar…

“After the ragged angst of their last two albums, it’s not surprising that Cloud Nothings opt for a lighter approach on Life Without Sound — if only to give Dylan Baldi‘s vocal cords a much-needed break. On their fifth album, Baldi and company sand off some of the rough edges that defined Attack on Memoryand Here and Nowhere Else, and more often than not, it adds nuance to the tug of war between defiance and acceptance that drives their music. However, smoother sounds don’t always mean a smoother outlook, and Life Without Sound finds Baldi soundtracking his quarter-life crisis with songs that try to reconcile past with present, youth with growth, and grit with polish. “Up to the Surface” begins the album with piano, an instrument that is often overused by rock bands to convey thoughtful maturity, but coupled with the track’s heavy drums and Baldi‘s gravelly baritone when he sings “I knew peace in the terror of the mind,” Cloud Nothings actually do sound thoughtful and mature as they contemplate the moment when abandonment turns into letting go. Helping the band achieve this perspective is producer John Goodmanson, whose work with Death Cab for Cutie feels like a major influence. IfAttack on Memory and Here and Nowhere Else built on ’90s grunge, then Life Without Sound could be seen as carrying on the tradition of neatened-up early-2000s indie, when acts like Death Cab andModest Mouse made it big. Though the resemblance is closest on “Modern Act,” the album’s glossiest moment, the chiming melodies that steered Baldi through his crises since Turning On also take the lead on “Internal World” and “Things Are Right with You,” where the chorus “Feel right/feel lighter” feels like a mantra. Cloud Nothings don’t forsake fiery outbursts entirely; “Darkened Rings” could have appeared on Here and Nowhere Else. Still, songs like the darkly cathartic finale “Realize My Fate” and “Strange Year,” a tangle of recrimination and regret that boasts the album’s most throat-shredding vocals, aren’t quite as raw as they could have been, emphasizing how the band’s focus has shifted. By letting go of a little of their rage, Cloud Nothings let more light and shadow into Life Without Sound with promising results” (All Music)

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26 agosto, 2017 Posted by | Cloud Nothings | Deja un comentario

Wavves x Cloud Nothings: No life for me (Ghost Ramp, 2015)

“It’s an algorithmic dream date: Google “Cloud Nothings” or “Wavves” and in each case the other band is one of the top entries in the “people also search” field. The overlap is inevitable: two critically acclaimed indie rock bands that actually rock, ones that qualify as pop and punk but somehow not pop-punk. Yet, Wavves X Cloud Nothings represents a sudden intersection after the two artists have spent the past five years aiming in opposite directions. Dylan Baldi wants esteemed producers to act like P90x coaches, helping him shed the flabby baggage of his earliest recording for something meaner, leaner, and shredded, whereas Nathan Williams employs them like high-end makeup artists. You’d have to go back to 2009 for the last time Wavves and Cloud Nothings were functionally similar, or No Life For Mecan save you the trouble.
Before the turn of the decade, both bands were solo projects manufacturing confectionary nuggets about being young, bitter and bored, wrapped in metallic hiss—the equivalent of eating chocolates without removing the foil. There’s no obvious reason for either Baldi or Williams to be nostalgic for this period, as their careers have continued to evolve and prosper along with their music. Maybe they’re eager to revisit a time when their every move wasn’t subject to scrutiny, though slapping both of their highly recognizable brands on the cover doesn’t exactly lower expectations, despite the modest rollout.
Still, this album is the most effortless music either has produced in years, which ultimately serves as proof of how easy it is for both Baldi and Williams to write good songs and also the care it takes to make them great. There are solid hooks scattered all over No Life For Me, and they sound like they could’ve been knocked out in five minutes—each melodic note notches in the expected place over thrumming power chords and steady drums. The seven proper tracks are all opportunities to parse the fine difference between urgency and immediacy: much ofNo Life For Me happened without much noticeable struggle, but did it need to happen?
In the end, “Wavves X Cloud Nothings” manages to be misleading on numerous levels. It implies a full partnership or at least participation from both bands—this is essentially “Wavves feat. Dylan Baldi”, as it calls on Nathan’s brother Joel as a producer and his drummer Brian Hill, who is not Jayson Gerycz. Hill is a fine drummer but he’s not one of the few plus-value drummers in rock music, a guy who can singlehandedly change a band’s trajectory and take a song from an 8 to a 10. This might’ve reflected more on Baldi than Hill had the dreamy, drumless closer “Nothing Hurts” not been the LP’s highlight. However, “Come Down” and the title track are essentially Cloud Nothings deep cuts with a solid rhythm section that never pushes against Baldi’s vocals, never threatens any kind of chaos. It’s possible Hill could’ve provided these things had No Life For Me been the result of more protracted sessions, but you might come out of this record thinking Gerycz is somehow still underrated.
Moreover, the nominal “X” implies a factorial relationship between the two acts—maybe this could’ve been a muscling up of Wavves’ wiry surf-and-skate physique or the achromatic bleakness of Attack on Memory or Here and Nowhere Else given a suntan. Tilt that “X” 45 degrees and you’ve got a more accurate formula: This is more an example of addition, two artists with very similar writing styles piling on top of each other.
In fact, Williams and Baldi are virtually indistinguishable emotionally or sonically here. The same themes of intransigence, ennui, and self-pity that serve as the basis for nearly every one of their previous songs is shuffled and endlessly reworded, Wavves and Cloud Nothings lyrics turned into magnetic poetry tiles grabbed out of a bag. Their blunt admissions never sound insincere despite being shared and workshopped, just pro forma—”I’m such a fucking mess/ Don’t know at all how it’s gonna go,” “I feel it open up around me.” “Sometimes, you’ll find nothing ever comes down.”
Looking at the most recent, productive relationships between established songwriting entities—Run the Jewels, FFS, for example—there’s a provision of contrast, a clear quid pro quo where each party has something the other wants or needs. Whether or not there’s chemistry between Baldi and Williams, there’s no volatility. They don’t even sound like they’re having fun: the bummer attitude was a given, but neither is inspired to go beyond their own sonic boundaries, nor is there any sign of friendly one-upmanship, no indication that a truly great idea from these sessions wouldn’t be tucked away for private usage. That wouldn’t be much of an issue had this partnership reflected its low-key creative process by having Wavves X Cloud Nothings go by a different name or having the results given away as a freebie or just a lark. But No Life For Me is a 21-minute record with two instrumentals that costs $10—the same price you could pay for Attack on Memory or King of the Beach. Which is to say that Wavves X Cloud Nothings didn’t need to result in a good album to justify its existence, but No Life For Me did” (Pitchfork)

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20 noviembre, 2015 Posted by | Cloud Nothings, Wavves | Deja un comentario

Cloud Nothings: Here and everywhere (Wichita, 2014)

Desgraciadamente para los que en algún momento comulgamos con la música y la actitud de Dylan Baldi (aka. Cloud Nothings), el sonido de su grupo y básicamente su concepto ha variado sustancialmente en estos últimos tiempos. Poco (o nada) queda ya de su impresionante Hey cool kid, su debut Bedroom-Pop de hace cuatro años. Cloud Nothings ha derivado hacia un Punk-Pop más que trillado y más que sobado. Un sonido sobre el que poco nuevo se puede ofrecer, y menos si los temas no van acompañados de buenas codas y estribillos asequibles, para hacerlos menos ásperos. Se ve que Pitchfork disiente absolutamente de mis apreciaciones, pero ésa es otra historia…
Personalmente, no le encuentro nada particularmente interesante a Here and nowhere else (2014).

Cloud Nothings‘ 2012 album Attack on Memory aspired to be not only the band’s first great album, but one that would eradicate their introductory phase as Dylan Baldi’s solo, no-fi pop-punk project. It succeeded wildly on the first count, the second one not so much: on singles“Stay Useless” and “Fall In”, Steve Albini scoured the reverb and fuzz just to further expose Baldi’s facility with bittersweet melody. Baldi gives it another go on Here and Nowhere Else, enlisting John Congleton to wipe away any remnant of “Hey Cool Kid” and present Cloud Nothings as they’ve never been and probably never will be: a grisly, caustic punk trio knocking out harrowing and powerful singalongs in dingy basements that can barely contain the sound. Once again, though, Baldi is simply unwilling or unable to stop writing hook-filled songs, rendering Here and Nowhere Else even more tense and thrillingly conflicted than its predecessor.
In spite of the grayscale environs, Baldi would have you believe Here and Nowhere Elseboasts a sunnier disposition than Attack on Memory, but the lyrics sheet is filled with brusque marching orders: a strangulated repetition of “Swallow” directing the listener through the desolate wilderness of “Giving Into Seeing”, and opener “Now Hear In” stating with cold equanimity, “I can feel your pain/ And I feel alright about it.” The more noticeable shift Cloud Nothings make here is physical: they try to enact themselves into right thinking by ditching just about any verbal, mental, or instrumental unnecessary baggage.
Regardless, Cloud Nothings have not gotten “tighter”. Baldi replaces the twinkly leads of the departed Joe Boyer by acting as both lead and rhythm guitarist, alternating low-slung, detuned riffs and shards of dissonance that owe equal debts to Josh Homme and J. Robbins.More than ever, Cloud Nothings are a band that will inspire novice guitarists to play along with their records, an important role for any band to occupy—and forget about the piano that occasionally popped up on the indulgent-by-comparison Attack on Memory: despite Congleton’s C.V. (Bill CallahanSt. Vincent) the most ornate production trick featured here is an echo effect liquefying Baldi into a molten puddle during the phosphene-inducing coda of “Pattern Walks”. In fact, it’s pretty much the only production trick on Here and Nowhere Else, save for the frightening thwack of Jayson Gerycz’s snare coming off like a percussive Wilhelm scream.
To put it bluntly, Jayson Gerycz is the most beneficial addition to any rock band I can think of in the past decade, and Here and Nowhere Else reiterates that, rather than Albini, Congleton, or Baldi’s newfound vocal prowess, he represents the most crucial alteration to Cloud Nothings yet. His drums are rightfully put higher in the mix than the vocals, so he speaks for Cloud Nothings just as much as Baldi does, as the two define Here and Nowhere Else’s mind/body dynamic where restlessness and an implacable urge for action serves as a paradoxical stasis.
Here and Nowhere Else mostly moves in one direction and at a breakneck pace; by playing just ahead of the beat, taking charge of the song with torrential fills, Gerycz does everything in his power to try and throw it off course. The insatiable drive and urgency of Here and Nowhere Else, as well as the resulting cohesion, means that it might initially appear less ambitious than Attack on Memory. To call it a “grower” would be accurate, though that downplays its visceral jolt, as previous Cloud Nothings records revealed their high points fairly quickly; here, the initial sonic beating’s reflected in the unmistakable shades of purple, black, and blue-black in the resultant bruises.
Baldi told Pitchfork in an earlier interview that he wasn’t a punk himself growing up, but rather a musical loner who “didn’t really like anyone.” That’s a mentality easy to latch onto, as Cloud Nothings continue to make powerfully utilitarian music for people who don’t seek out this type of music just to be told what to think. They siphon punk’s righteous physicality and leave self-righteousness, victimization, and nihilism as the subject matter of the privileged. In ridding themselves of talking points, Cloud Nothings espouse a desire to live in the present moment, and that in itself is an admirable ambition. On Here and Nowhere Else, their music becomes a pure  resource of energy that allows the listener to do what they will.
Whether you use Here and Nowhere Else to soundtrack a grueling run or a pound-the-steering-wheel commute to work, closer “I’m Not Part of Me” is a hell of a victory lap, Cloud Nothings’ finest song to date. After the satisfying sensory deprivation that precedes it, the song acknowledges the bigger stages the band occupies right now, generously expanding the prior, potent austerity of Baldi’s songwriting to include an EP’s worth of hooks. It also serves as Baldi’s valedictory speech: “It starts right now/ There’s a way I was before/ But I can’t recall how I was those days anymore.” He’s become a trenchant critic of his own work, and as much as the title of Attack on Memory spoke for itself, that lyric encapsulates everything you’ve heard on Here and Nowhere Else: this may very well be how Baldi imagined himself in his basement back in 2009, trying to make music that reflected the mundane despair of being a kid in Cleveland with no real propsects, while secretly striving to make music that would allow him to get the fuck out. Five years later, it’s almost impossible to remember a time when Baldi failed to hit the mark” (Pitchfork)

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16 abril, 2014 Posted by | Cloud Nothings | Deja un comentario

Cloud Nothings: Cloud Nothings (2011)

 

El verdadero debut en disco grande de Dylan Baldi se ha producido a comienzos de este año, con su primer álbum, Cloud Nothings (2011), obra homónima del proyecto cuasi unipersonal de Dylan. Porque así es como se presentó al gran público el año pasado, con sus Ep´s y sencillos que le hicieron ganarse la atención de la crítica. Como sabes, algunos de esos temas se recopilaron en su Turning On (2010), aunque su verdadero disco de debut es este. Salvada esta explicación, os diré que la música de Cloud Nothings ha madurado un tanto y ha mejorado principalmente su sonido, evolucionando desde el Bedroom-Pop de sus primeros sencillos hasta este punto en que se encuentra: su música se presenta animosa y enérgica, con la vitalidad -lógica- de un chico de diecinueve años que prefiere componer temas y tocarlos aunque sea en su dormitorio que a pasarse el día chateando y jugando a consolas. ¿Sus referentes más cercanos? Buzzcocks, They Might Be Giants, Ash, Sebadoh, Weezer… Bandas que tienen como punto en común su pasión por las melodías sencillas, estribillos pegadizos y un sentido ciertamente acelerado del ritmo. Personalmente prefiero al Dylan Baldi de Hey cool kid que al de Understand at all o Not important, los dos mejores cortes del álbum. No por nada, sino porque allí encontré realmente buenas gemas Pop, y con la entrega actual me hallo ante buenos y consistentes temas, pero que pisan un terrano que ya han hollado previamente demasiadas bandas. Con todo, en Cloud Nothings (2011), los enamorados del sonido digamos que Surfero con aliños Post-Punk pueden tener material de sobra para disfrutar la media hora escasa que dura.

Cloud Nothings – Cloud Nothings (2011)

“Just over a year ago, 19-year-old Dylan Baldi was studying sax and audio recording in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Unlike most first year students cry-wanking over Facebook or smoking crystal meth through the arsehole of a cat, Dylan did more with his time out. He recorded a succession of singles and EPs in his parents’ basement through a single mic and home computer that would form a rough demo album in 2010’s ‘Turning On’.
Along with everything else last year that was branded ‘lo-fi’ or ‘scuzzy’, the blogosphere tossed itself dry over the one-man band. ‘Turning On’ did, however sound like it had been recorded in a drink can with tin-pot instruments and sung through a snorkel. But for all its technical shortcomings, it did map out a blueprint of latent pop gems – albeit in the manner of a Crayola on a fag packet.
Baldi’s debut album proper, titled under his moniker Cloud Nothings, has made his scribbles and mumblings more audible. Moreover, his ear for a hook and a holler filters through with detail beyond the debris of white noise that plagued his home recordings.
The result is a fun, frenetic and crisp debut that is more resplendent than his lo-fi scuzz. ‘Understand At All’ and ‘Not Important’ burst through the door like gunmen with jittery fingers, as snare drums snap against unhinged guitar hooks akin to the Buzzcocks. ‘Should Have’ cuts a similarly bouncy intro to that of Pixies‘The Holiday Song’, as bites like a rabid Jake Burns of Stiff Little Fingers grimacing over ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’. There are moments when ‘Cloud Nothings’ sounds like your average punk-pop record, but Baldi is willing to render outside the lines with his own idiosyncratic noodlings and daubs of C86-era colour” (nme.com)

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25 febrero, 2011 Posted by | Cloud Nothings | 1 comentario

Cloud Nothings: Leave you forever (Single, 2010)

Continuamos con el hilo iniciado hoy mismo y ese nuevo fenómeno que hemos dado en llamar Bedroom-Pop. Cloud Nothings es un proyecto del que posteamos aquí mismo hace poco otro de sus temas. El que hoy nos ocupa es Leave you forever, animoso y enérgico tema en onda más Surf-Punk, un poco al estilo Wavves. La cuestión es que Dylan Baldi parece tener ingenio y talento suficiente para tocar diferentes palos con la misma soltura, ya que este Leave you forever no tiene nada que ver con Hey cool kid, el tema aparecido anteriormente en The JangleBox. Puedes encontrarlo, igualmente, en descarga legal y gratuita.

Cloud Nothings – Leave you forever (Single, 2010)

“Cloud Nothings is the brainchild of 18 year old Cleveland resident Dylan Baldi.  Late in 2009, he started recording a bunch of catchy indie rock songs on his computer in the basement of his parent’s house. Dylan wasn’t so concerned with them being lo-fi.  But since he only had his simple computer and a crappy microphone that’s the way they turned out.  Almost immediately praise was bestowed upon young Dylan, and as new songs were unleashed, the online excitement only grew.
Dylan needed to take his songs on the road, so he formed a band with TJ Duke on bass, Jayson Gerycz on drums, and Joe Boyer on guitar.  Their first show was in New York last December opening for Real Estate and Woods.  Since then the band has played SXSW, toured with Wavves, and played shows with such bands as Titus Andronicus, Parts & Labor, Best Coast, and Kurt Vile. Their live shows have become super tight, displaying an intensity and precision rarely seen in bands of any age.
2010 has been very busy for Cloud Nothings.  First there was the Turning On EP, then a seven inch single on Group Tightener and then another one on Old Flame. In August, True Panther released a Cloud Nothings single as well, and there is a super rare split cassette release on Bathetic.  This fall, Carpark compiles the Turning On EP, the Group Tightener single, and two songs from the split cassette for a handy introductory compilation called simply “Turning On”. Cloud Nothings are recording their first full length this summer in Baltimore with Chester Gwazda who has also recorded albums for folks like Dan Deacon and Future Islands.  The album is planned for a winter 2011 release.  It probably won’t be as lo-fi as his past stuff” (rcrdlbl.com)

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23 noviembre, 2010 Posted by | Cloud Nothings | Deja un comentario

Cloud Nothings: Hey Cool Kid (Single, 2010)

Cloud Nothings es una de esas bandas que tanto nos gustan en The JangleBox. No sólo por su valor musical -que lo tienen-, sino porque es uno de esos proyectos unipersonales paridos en el garaje del domicilio del responsable musical del grupo, en este caso Dylan Baldi, un chico de dieciocho años que, ordenador, guitarra y micrófono en mano se ha marcado un disco que es altamente recomendable, por lo intenso de sus melodías y sus ritmos. Guitarras jangle, tonos Post-Grunge… Grabado con poquitos medios, este Hey cool kid, es buen ejemplo de su música. Lo podéis encontrar, como siempre, pinchando en el enlace, gentileza de RCRDLBL, para su descarga legal.

Cloud Nothings – Hey Cool Kid (Single, 2010)

“Cloud Nothings is the brainchild of 18 year old Cleveland resident Dylan Baldi.  Late in 2009, he started recording a bunch of catchy indie rock songs on his computer in the basement of his parent’s house. Dylan wasn’t so concerned with them being lo-fi.  But since he only had his simple computer and a crappy microphone that’s the way they turned out.  Almost immediately praise was bestowed upon young Dylan, and as new songs were unleashed, the online excitement only grew.
Dylan needed to take his songs on the road, so he formed a band with TJ Duke on bass, Jayson Gerycz on drums, and Joe Boyer on guitar.  Their first show was in New York last December opening for Real Estate and Woods.  Since then the band has played SXSW, toured with Wavves, and played shows with such bands as Titus Andronicus, Parts & Labor, Best Coast, and Kurt Vile. Their live shows have become super tight, displaying an intensity and precision rarely seen in bands of any age.
2010 has been very busy for Cloud Nothings.  First there was the Turning On EP, then a seven inch single on Group Tightener and then another one on Old Flame. In August, True Panther released a Cloud Nothings single as well, and there is a super rare split cassette release on Bathetic.  This fall, Carpark compiles the Turning On EP, the Group Tightener single, and two songs from the split cassette for a handy introductory compilation called simply “Turning On”. 
Cloud Nothings are recording their first full length this summer in Baltimore with Chester Gwazda who has also recorded albums for folks like Dan Deacon and Future Islands.  The album is planned for a winter 2011 release.  It probably won’t be as lo-fi as his past stuff” (rcrdlbl.com)

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5 noviembre, 2010 Posted by | Cloud Nothings | Deja un comentario

   

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