Cloud Nothings reunite with Steve Albini for new album, share new song
Cloud Nothings have been busy lately. Earlier in the year, frontman Dylan Baldi released an album of shelved demos, and then Cloud Nothings released the new album The Black Hole Understands in July that Dylan and drummer Jayson Gerycz made by trading files back and forth during the pandemic, and Baldi and Gerycz have a new album with their jazz project Baldi/Gerycz Duo coming this month. They've also just now announced another proper Cloud Nothings album, The Shadow I Remember (due February 26 via Carpark), as well as a 10th anniversary reissue of their debut album Turning On, which Dylan recorded himself before turning Cloud Nothings into a full band.
New album The Shadow I Remember reunites Cloud Nothings with Steve Albini, who recorded their 2012 fan fave Attack On Memory (which we named the 80th best album of the 2010s and 4th best punk album of the 2010s), and here's a little more background, via press release:
Another throwback was Baldi’s return to constant songwriting à la the early solo days, which led to the nearly 30 demos that became the 11 songs on The Shadow I Remember. Instead of sticking to a tried-but-true formula, his songwriting stretched out while digging deeper into his melodic talents. “I felt like I was locked in a character,” Baldi says of becoming a reliable supplier of heavy, hook-filled rock songs. “I felt like I was playing a role and not myself. I really didn’t like that role.” More frequent writing led to the freedom in form heard on The Shadow I Remember. What he can’t do alone is get loud and play noisily, which is exactly what happened when the entire band— bassist TJ Duke, guitarist Chris Brown, and drummer Jayson Gerycz—convened.
The band had more fun in the studio than they’ve had in years, playing in their signature, pulverizing way, while also trying new things. The absurdly catchy “Nothing Without You” includes a first for the band: Macie Stewart of Ohmme contributes guest vocals. Elsewhere, celebrated electronic composer Brett Naucke adds subtle synthesizer parts.
The songs are kept trim, mostly around the three-minute mark, while being gleefully overstuffed. Almost every musical part turns into at least two parts, with guitar and drums opening up and the bass switching gears. “That’s the goal—I want the three-minute song to be an epic,” Baldi says. “That’s the short version of the long-ass jam.
The first single is "Am I Something," and you can hear on this song how Dylan is distancing himself a bit from "heavy, hook-filled rock songs." It's a little calmer than the band's first Albini collaboration, but still with that classic Cloud Nothings sound and Albini's trademark bare-bones recording style. It comes with a video directed by Lu Yang, and Dylan says:
I became familiar with Lu Yang's work through her exhibit in Cleveland, Ohio at MOCA Cleveland in 2017. I was really drawn to her approach of tying religion into gender and various gendered bodily functions. The animation style of some of her work is also exactly on my wavelength - like a psychedelic genderless Sims game. Very excited to be able to work with Lu!
The music video created for Cloud Nothings is a scene from my videogame "The Great Adventure of Material World" which depicts an artistic reality where we are exploring and roaming, in a non-binary way, post-death delusions and the intermediate state of Bardo. Bardo has a particularly special meaning in Buddhism as the connecting point and intermediate state between life and death, past and future lives, waking and sleep, and the space in-between.
Check out the "Am I Something" video and the new album's artwork and tracklist below. Pre-order it at Carpark.
The Turning On reissue comes out January 29 via Carpark (pre-order).
2. Nothing Without You
3. The Spirit Of
4. Only Light
6. Open Rain
7. Sound Of Alarm
8. Am I Something
9. It's Love
10. A Longer Moon
11. The Room It Was
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See albums 100-26 here.