Cloud Nothings is a young rock group based in Ohio, who have been gaining momentum with their 2012 release Attack on Memory on Carpark Records. Recently, AudioFile talked to the band members before a sold-out show at The Studio at Webster Hall in New York City.
If you ask Cloud Nothings about their “first album,” they’ll insist that Attack on Memory really is their first album in many ways. Everything prior to Attack on Memory was more Dylan Baldi’s solo project with instrumentation to back him. Attack is the first collective effort by all of the Cloud Nothings band members – Dylan Baldi, TJ Duke, Joe Boyer and Jayson Gerycz.
The album was produced by accredited recording engineer Steve Albini at his Chicago studio. The sound is heavy, raw, garage punk, reminiscent of Nirvana, Sonic Youth and the Wipers.
The band admits the music and lyrics are darker and more intense than Baldi’s earlier songs, which could be categorized as catchy indie pop. The first track off the new album is “No Future/No Past.” The song builds slowly; Dylan’s voice creeps in over a sinister melody and works its way into a throaty, pessimistic shout. The 5-minute anthem sets the tone for the rest of the album.
In addressing the decision to put this track first, bassist TJ Duke explains, “Your first foot forward should be assertive.” Dylan Baldi says “No Future/No Past” tells you that “right off the bat, you’re listening to something that isn’t quite the same.”
None of the band members make an appearance in the first music video from Attack on Memory. The video for “No Future/No Past” is an eerie narrative of an older man dragged from his home by an invisible force. The man’s expressions are painfully distraught as he is pulled down the street and through the woods. The video was directed by John Ryan Manning, and Baldi admits, “I’m not really sure what it means,” “I just tell [Ryan] to do whatever he wants.”
At only 20 years old, Dylan Baldi sometimes “can’t even be in the venue until [they're] performing.” Baldi flashes under-21 lightning bolts on his hands and laughs that some venues only let him inside for the 40 minutes the band is slated to play.