Posts Tagged ‘Jayson Gerycz’

Cloud Nothings

Though musicians make music in relative quarantine all the time, there’s undoubtedly been a different feeling around song writing during the coronavirus lockdown given the sense of claustrophobia that’s being universally experienced at present. It’s a surprise, then, that ‘The Black Hole Understands’ finds Cloud Nothings sounding freer than ever. “When the world shut down in March, making music was the only thing keeping me tethered to any sense of normalcy,” Cloud Nothings frontman and mastermind Dylan Baldi says of the 10-track album that was borne from this period which, Baldi acknowledges, does channel “this early quarantine anxiety and confusion”.

The latest album from this Cleveland group led by Dylan Baldi is a surprise release of summery, hook-filled indie-pop. Rather than the discordant, intense jams of recent Cloud Nothings records, this one features concise, brightly melodic songs with jangly guitars, driving rhythms and breezy melodies juxtaposed with often-melancholy, anxiety-fueled lyrics.

Created entirely over email — Baldi’s skeleton song ideas were sent to drummer Jayson Gerycz before making their way back to the frontman for a final polish — ‘The Black Hole Understands’ is a complete re-calibration of the process behind the making of a Cloud Nothings album. So much of their music is fast and frenetic, often recorded live as they feed off each other’s energy and thrash it out in a room together. Given the manner of its creation, their seventh album, which has been self-released on Bandcamp, feels suitably looser and more melody-focused. “Life won’t always be like this,” Baldi sings on the chorus of ‘The Sound Of Everyone’, coming across like a lifeline to both himself and the listener as we all desperately try to cling on to the idea of another brighter world post-quarantine.

It might be this sense of willing a better situation into existence that makes ‘The Black Hole Understands’ such a vibrant, melody-packed joy. ‘A Silent Reaction’ has a powerful, uplifting ‘90s pop-rock chorus that trades Baldi’s trademark grit and fury into something more soaring, recalling the breeziness of Jeff Tweedy’s Wilco at times. ‘Right On The Edge’, meanwhile, sees Baldi’s vocals follow a perfect, sugary guitar line that ends up at something approaching pop heaven.

Baldi has also described ‘The Black Hole Understands’ as “poppy and also kind of sad, which is more or less my state of mind”. Another new Cloud Nothings album, recorded as a live band just before lockdown, is said to be arriving soon, but this coronavirus-era album will still serve as a moment in time that’s detached from everything that came before and likely everything that’s still yet to come. After all, it’s hard at the moment to imagine a world in which we aren’t all quarantined.

On ‘The Mess Is Permanent’, another of the album’s buzzing pop-rock highlights, Baldi sings: “It’s hard to be in this place when all these walls are coming down.” Though much of lockdown has felt like the walls are closing in, the joyous ‘The Black Hole Understands’ sees Cloud Nothings help us feel like we can bust right through them into a brighter future.

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Cloud Nothings’ “Modern Act” remains uniquely memorable for the sole fact of debuting on November 9th, 2016. Frontman Dylan Baldi claims he simply forgot about the PR timetable of Life Without Soundwhich is how the video went live hours after Donald Trump won the presidential election, promoting an album to be released in the first week of his administration. This honest mistake set the tone for a mild reception like recent tourmates Japandroids, Cloud Nothings were docked as many points for releasing an atypically glossy and optimistic rock record as they were for failing to anticipate January 2017 as the worst possible time for glossy and optimistic rock records. The tunnel-vision approach positioned Cloud Nothings as a trusted source of spiteful and spiky mainstream punk in a less narrative-driven time, but their latest, Last Building Burningproves Baldi isn’t going to get caught failing to read the room again.

Every possible optic of Last Building Burning is directed at writing Life Without Sound out of history, reimagining Cloud Nothings going in an even grittier, grimier direction after their 2014 potboiler Here and Nowhere Else. Life Without Sound’s cover was periwinkle? This one returns to black and white. Randall Dunn plays the same role as Steve Albini and John Congleton, a guy acclaimed for impeccable sonics and ingenious microphone placement who instead tries to make Cloud Nothings sound like they recorded inside a garage with a running car. The previous album lacked an extended freakout like Attack on Memory’s “Wasted Days” or Here and Nowhere Else’s “Pattern Walks,” so not only do they bring that back for Last Building Burningthis one (“Dissolution”) is 11 minutes.

And while no one begrudges whatever happiness, maturity, and stability Baldi has accumulated in life, expressing them as Cloud Nothings songs was, at worst, a misallocation of resources. “Leave Him Now” is a sign that Baldi hasn’t completely given up trying to be topical or the better man this time around: It’s the rare song that urges a woman to ditch the loser without implying that the singer is swooping in for the rescue. Early in the band’s career, Baldi’s voice didn’t have the heft or grain to sound tough when he screamed, and that peevish edge still works to his advantage, making petulant lyrics sound convincing (“I’ll be alone in my shame,” “I wish I could believe in your dream”).

Cloud Nothings are one of the only bands that could potentially sell their isolated drum tracks, but for long stretches ofLife Without SoundI wasn’t sure if drummer Jayson Gerycz was still around. The new album’s opener “On an Edge” doesn’t even bother with the pretense of trying to build suspense or a sonic arc—in essentially trying to cover Yank Crime within three and a half minutes, Gerycz gets to play as many fills in one song as the entirety of the last record. Throughout, he’s the embodiment of Baldi’s promised “bursts of intense, controlled chaos” Gerycz’s snare is EQ’d like a reified action hero punch, and he occasionally plays ahead of the beat, jamming in fills that threaten to throw everything off-course, except that is the course it’s supposed to take, like Russell Westbrook going to the rim, the chip on his shoulder remaining implanted no matter how much contact he makes. No one would call it efficient, but it’s effective.

Cloud Nothings Perform At The Hi Hat

“I’m obsessed with energy at the moment,” Baldi stated in a press release, heavily implying that was not the case last time around. But the suggestion of an adversarial relationship to its predecessor introduces something of a horseshoe theory with Last Building BurningBy setting its course in the equal and opposite direction of Life Without Soundit becomes its evil twin, a still-incomplete picture of Cloud Nothings. Attack on Memoryand Here and Nowhere Else were pulled taut by the band’s warring impulses—Baldi’s trying when Cloud Nothings emulate the Wipers or Hüsker Dü, but the melodies that could’ve made Vagrant Records a lot of money had he been born 15 years earlier come naturally. A lot of times, the latter doesn’t sit entirely well with Baldi and with the exception of “Leave Him Now,” his hooks are almost entirely rhythmic or instrumental—“Echo of the World” with its Trail of Dead-like churn, the doomy drone of “So Right, So Clean.” Yet Last Building Burning feels like a triumphant return because there isn’t as much pressure on it to do or say anything beyond its purely utilitarian aims. It slaps, shreds, and whips ass.

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We are elated to announce the return of Cloud Nothings. Their fifth full-length album, Last Building Burning, is due out October 19th on Carpark Records (US) and Wichita Recordings (UK/EU). The new album is a culmination of the development of frontman Dylan Baldi’s ever-changing sound, following up 2017’s Life Without Sound. It is an extension of the band’s live performances, capturing the frenetic energy that’s characteristic of their shows and infusing the jagged unpredictability of guitars.

Last Building Burning are available on the Carpark/Wichita shops “I’m obsessed with the idea of energy at the moment,” Baldi says about the making of Last Burning Building. “That’s how I thought of this record: seven short, and one long, bursts of intense, controlled chaos. I wanted to make songs that come across in a way that can actually be felt.”

“The Echo of the World” is taken from Cloud Nothings’ forthcoming album, “Last Building Burning,” due out October . Cleveland’s finest indie rock band Cloud Nothing are planning their return to the UK. Developed out of singer / song writer Dylan Baldi’s solo basement studio recording project, he leads a band that also includes drummer Jayson Gerycz, guitarist Chris Brown and TJ Duke on bass.

Baldi started out by recording at his parent’s basement in 2009 using GarageBand and releasing his material through various fake profiles on MySpace, all of which directed listeners back to his work. Amongst the fake bands, a profile under the name Cloud Nothings proved to be one of the most popular which received an invite for gigs in New York prompting Baldi to seek out real members.

Now an actual band, they began to rise in popularity and soon signed to independent label Bridgetown Records through which they released the eight track EP Turning On which features the single Hey Cool Kid. They released their eponymously titled debut album in 2011 which thrilled critics,  Their incredible back catalogue also includes the albums Attack On Memory plus Here And Nowhere Else .

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