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Song You Need to Know: Cloud Nothings, ‘Nothing Without You’

Dylan Baldi remains an endless engine of catchy, bruising indie-rock ambiguity

When Dylan Baldi started releasing music in the early 2010s, he was a teenage recording machine from suburban Cleveland, cranking out tune-happy, noise-caked, supremely lo-fi power-pop. At first he obscured his identity, early-Pavement-style, and rode his music blog hype towards a kind of instant success that might’ve taken a basement savant of a different era years to accrue. A decade down the road, he’s an indie-rock grand old man of sorts, with a series of great releases to his name (the best one is still 2012’s Steve Albini-produced Attack On Memory, which combined the catchiness of Superchunk with the sonic muscle of the Jesus Lizard). Last year, Cloud Nothings put out a quarantine quickie, The Blackhole Understands, via Bandcamp, and they just celebrated their 10th anniversary with a reissue of their 2011 debut, Turning On.

Now Cloud Nothings are back again with the fine new album The Shadow I Remember, due out at the end of this month. They just released three songs from the LP, including the fantastic “Nothing Without You,” the first Cloud Nothings song to have the word “nothing” in its title since 2011’s “Nothing’s Wrong” (if you’re keeping score at home). It’s pure punk-rock power-pop gold, a plaintive riff on neediness and dependency rendered with bright, breakneck guitar racket, giddy, bone-snap drum tumble, and shabbily pretty call-and-response vocals that imply reaching out in the darkness and finding, well, maybe more darkness, but perhaps not. This is frantic existential ambiguity you can jump around your room and hum along to. Cool video, too.

Find a playlist of all of our recent Songs You Need to Know selections on Spotify.

From Rolling Stone US