SHOW PREVIEW: Cloud Nothings at 9:30 Club
There isn’t a word strong enough to portray Cloud Nothings. What began as Dylan Baldi’s solo project in the basement of his parents’ house, has developed into something that every young adult in their twenties or thirties can submerse their soul into.
Turning On signifies the start of it all. There is a sense of honesty and genuineness that effortlessly streams through Dylan’s mouth with every word he sings. The production of the album is of a much lower quality than the three that follow, but it is more suiting to the band’s style. The grittiness and lo-fi characteristics that swarm Dylan’s vocals makes for thirteen tracks that create the meaning of realism. “You Are Opening” is an unbelievable track, and one that is underrated within the Cloud Nothings discography. From beginning to end, the musicality is so on point, it’s hard to fathom. The simple, repetitive bass kicks it off, which is quickly layered with a twangy guitar melody and Dylan groaning. One of the most beautiful qualities of his vocal style is how he can turn a simple sound into something painful and raw. As he repeatedly sings, “I don’t care why, I don’t care why you are opening,” he instills that suffering into his listeners.
There was a large jump in the journey between Turning On and the self-titled. Their sophomore album inherits more of punk-pop vibe, filled with energetic and insightful tracks. “Understand At All” is the album opener. While it has some pessimistic undertones, it is relatively upbeat. Everything after it slowly becomes deeper and darker. This will not hit you until the lyrical guitar line opens “Forget You All The Time,” debatably one of the best songs Dylan Baldi has ever written. (However, I am a bit biased; I credit this track with getting me through more obstacles than any other piece of music that has been a part of my life.) It’s hard to pick a favorite track on the album, because one after another will steal your heart away.
Attack On Memory is the album that catapulted Cloud Nothings’ career, and developed their current musicality. By this point, the band has blossomed into a three-piece band with TJ Duke shredding the bass, and Jayson Gerycz on the drums. “No Future/No Past” could quite possibly be the most emotional start to any album; with all three members playing together, the timing of the instrumentation is impeccable from the haunting piano in the beginning up until the last time Dylan screams “No future, no past.” This transitions into another upper - th nine-minute ode to maturity, “Wasted Days.” The whole song revolves around the chorus, “I thought I would be more than this.” When the band performs it live, it’s a spiritual experience. Being in a room with hundreds of people all screaming that line, with sweat streaming down their face, can cause an out-of-body experience. “Fall In” will show you just how remarkable this band is.
There comes a point in our lives when we have absolutely no idea what we’re doing. There aren’t any signs pointing us in the direction that we should be headed; instead we have to some how figure it out on our own. At times it is excruciatingly painful, but thankfully there are moments of sheer clarity where everything falls exactly into place. Here and Nowhere Else embodies this feeling to perfection. Silencing any doubts, the album picks up right where Attack On Memory left off, blessing the world with another near-perfect album.
“Now Hear In” makes this obvious right from the beginning. Beautiful, reverbed guitar-goodness opens the track. As the song gradually gains speed and Baldi’s vocals edge closer and closer to his unmistakable scream, the drums suddenly cut out leaving us with, “We’re moving closer to the sun, I feel there’s nothing left to say. A simple life can be so strange.” This is what makes Cloud Nothings’ music so enjoyable: their ability to move and play together, one rising as the others fall. They are truly musical geniuses. The chorus of “Quieter Today” is one of the best the band has written. There is a brief pause right before the chorus begins jolting the melody to a slower tempo, which gradually returns to its original speed.
The emotion is exploding out of all eight tracks on the album and it will absorb you, as evident in “Giving Into Seeing” as Baldi repetitively screams “swallow.” Some may feel indifferent about his vocals, but the screaming is actually tasteful and serves as an extension of his emotions. Something could be said about every song on the album; each one is as important as the next with the first single of the album, “I’m Not Part Of Me,” serving as the perfect conclusion. You can listen to this album in your darkest hour or during your most joyful moments. Regardless, this album will make sense to you.
This Saturday, Cloud Nothings will take the 9:30 stage. If at some point in your life you have gone through a time of suffering, take the night off, and let someone speak the words you have been trying to admit to yourself. They are one of the most honest and talented bands existing today, and they will make your heart feel complete again (after tearing it apart.)
See Cloud Nothings at 9:30 Club this Saturday, October 4!