Brand New Track from Cloud Nothings

The self-titled release by Cloud Nothings this past January was one hell of a ride, consistently staying in my player for most, if not all, of 2011. And now we’ve got news that Dylan and his group are at it again, ready to rock and roll with a brand new record on Carpark.  As of now, it’s titled Attack on Memory, and it should be hitting the streets on January 24th, so we’ll probably have another year to enjoy fresh new Cloud Nothings jams.  Don’t think that you’re gonig to get the same fare this run around, as this first single displays a more subdued group, tossing out a more stripped down, slow-burner, as opposed to the furious blisterning rock of last year.  I’m interested to see where this goes.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/01_No_Future_No_Past.mp3]

Download: Cloud Nothings – No Future No Past [MP3]

Total Babes – Swimming Through Sunlight

Rating: ★★★ · ·

When press first came out for Total Babes, a lot of attention was given to the fact that it featured a member of Cloud Nothings, and to a certain extent, that’s a fair association, as the similarities are definitely visible. However, Swimming Through Sunlight, the band’s debut on Old Flame Records isn’t just a re-imagining; it stand up on its own merit.

If you’re looking for a catchy lo-fi hook, you won’t have to look beyond the first song, as “Like They Always Do” features a chorus that grabs you while the noise distortion swells in the background.  It’s a quick hammering, not staying around too long for fear of giving you a little bit too much sugar. But, while this shares that affinity for noisy-garage pop a la the aforementioned association, the next track, “Be So Sure” shows resemblance to another lo-fi pop band, The Thermals (it’s not just me is it?).  Perhaps the vocals could be cleaned up a bit more on the recording, but it definitely has that sweetness mixed nicely with a bit of excessive noise, just like Hutch would want it.

One of the best things about listening to Swimming Through Sunlight is that you can see various touches of the modern musical landscape, but the inherent melodies and songwriting enable to group to move beyond pure mockery.  “Someone to Blame” sounds an awful like Wavves at their best, even featuring a similar lyrical style, using simple words to convey a message.  I suppose that various sources can knock the group for a lack of originality, but you can easily look beyond that once you get to the core of the songs.  They’re not too long, giving you just a taste of their glory, then moving on, asking you to revisit at a later point.

Personally, I would like to see Total Babes revisit the studio with a bit more of a polish and sheen.  For instance, there’s a brightness to the opening guitar line in “Without Your Heart,” but that clarity eventually parts for a grittier sound.  This isn’t entirely a bad thing, as it serves its purpose in a great deal of the tracks featured on the record, but a certain sharpness could really propel these songs to the next level.  Even in the closer, “Tip of My Tongue,” there’s this incredible element of pop, but it’s buried so far beneath the mix that it comes off sounding more like a demo than a final product.  It’s the slightest difference between an incredible song and just a really good one.

All in all, Swimming Through Sunlight is full of bright spots, and its clear that the songwriting is far more than just your moderate fare, but Total Babes still have a bit of work to do in the finished product.  Clear vocals here, bit of distortion removed there, and you’ve got a wonderful record full of memorable hooks, sing-a-long moments, and enough power to kick the rest of the genre in the face; looking forward to that day!

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/02-be-so-true.mp3]

Download: Total Babes – Be So True [MP3]

More New Music From Total Babes

Earlier this summer, Nate offered up a new song by Total Babes which features Cloud Nothings members Jason Gerycz and Joe Boyer.  Well here’s a another new song for you called “Be So True” off the group’s upcoming LP Swimming Through Sunlight due out August 30th.  We’re looking forward to getting our hands on that full length when the time comes.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/02-be-so-true.mp3]

Download: Total Babes – Be So True [MP3]

FT5: Albums of the Year…so far

Let’s face it, every site is doing it, and perhaps we’re a little late on the run in, but technically, we just got to the midway point of the year, so I was holding off until the exact date–I don’t want to get ahead of myself.  So, in all honesty, this is going to be sort of a list of my 2011 albums of the year up to now, but I reserve the right to drastically change my opinion on any, if not all, of these choices. Come on, it’s just now July, so I’ve still got six months to hammer things out in a fully functional list.  Please remember, this is one man’s opinion, not the site as a whole, nor do we disagree with your opinions, unless you like that new Beyonce.

Read more

New Track from Total Babes

One of my favorite records of the year, which still gets spins was the smash hit by Cloud Nothings, so I’m really excited to see what Total Babes has to offer.  TB is the side-proejct of Jason from Cloud Nothings, who’ll be releasing Swimming Through Sunlight on Old Flame Records later this summer or early fall.  While you can definitely see some similarities between Jason and CN frontman, Dylan, this has more of an early Wavves feel to me, with its lo-fi tendencies and vocals shrouded in bits of noise.  Give this one a try, and I’m sure you’ll want to go play it again and again; this is a good thing mind you.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Total-Babes-Like-They-Always-Do.mp3]

Download: Total Babes – Like They Always Do [MP3]

New Track from Gold Bears

First, I’d like to take a minute to thank my fictitious friend Toby over at Finest Kiss for alerting me to this band.  Gold Bears are a group from Atlanta, and they seem perfect to fit right into the stable of Slumberland Records, who will be releasing a full-length from the group later on this year.  But, what you need to know is that this track is on a recent 7″ (on Cloudberry) and it sounds just like Cloud Nothings, minus the lo-fi tag, and with a more adult lyrical approach.  Don’t get be wrong, both options are great, but I definitely am enjoying the more developed vocal approach apparent on this track.  Give this a spin, and get ready for big things from this group.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/GoldBears-SomethingToThinkAbout.mp3]

Download: Gold Bears – Something To Think About [MP3]

Cloud Nothings – s/t

Rating: ★★★★½

It’s funny how one of the great hopes for indie rock is being played by a 19 year old from Cleveland.  Dylan Baldi is the teen sensation behind Cloud Nothings, and perhaps his youth and naivete allowed him to create one of the best records of the year.   The self-titled album is everything you could ask from a record: creative, energetic, heart-felt, and just fucking great.

As soon as you press play you just get highly-fueled kick to the face, as “Understand at All” opens with a statement that you’re not going to have much room to breathe here.  Incredibly, you have these angular guitars cutting in and out, yet it all holds tightly onto several melodic moments of hook; you don’t find good energetic rock these days with such pop undertones.  “Not Important” works as the excellent follow-up here, moving just as quickly into the fray as the opener.  A little twist is the rawness of Baldi’s vocals here, almost straining a bit, but it’s pulled off successfully.  Personally, the drum work on this track really  is the winner, though it’s hard to say there’s anything wrong with Cloud Nothings up to this point.

However, it’s not all high octane indie rock.  “Forget You All the Time” might actually be one of the best kept secrets on this album, wrapped at the four spot.  Pacing is slowed, and the melody is really sensational.  Dylan’s vocal performance is one of the warmest of all the tracks here, and you can’t help but be won over by every inch of the recording.  But, it’s sort of the one-off, and though rewarding, it might be nice to see if Cloud Nothings explore a little bit more of that direction in the future.

You know, writing a record review typically isn’t too difficult. You write about a couple of your favorite tracks, point out the flaws you saw, etc, but Cloud Nothings is pretty impossible to write about if you cut it into pieces.  There’s probably not enough praise I can give Baldi on this installation in his catalogue.  Everything seems to offer up little pieces of my somewhat tainted indie past.  Perhaps its the chorus in “Heartbeat” that recalls twee C86 records on speed or the brashness of “Rock.”  You’ll find bits of influences all over the map, from Superchunk to GBV to possibly Pains of Being Pure at Heart (or the like), but it sounds refreshingly sincere, as if Baldi has no intention of just copying his peers or his record collection.

While I’m not sure Cloud Nothings are here to save indie rock, this self-titled record is about as good a record as I’ve heard in a long time.  You can cut your favorites and put them into playlists, or you can play the whole album in its entirety, as its not too long by any means.  In the long run, I’m sort of glad Baldi is so young.  It means, as long as life goes well, that we can expect more excellent records for years and years to come. And if you take one listen to this record, you’ll be grateful.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Cloud-Nothings-Understand-At-All.mp3]

Download: Cloud Nothings – Understand At All [MP3]

New Tunes from Cloud Nothings

After re-issuing some work earlier this year, Cloud Nothings are prepping us all for the release of their new record on January 25th, which is going to be self-titled.  We know the single came out earlier this week, but we had to give you a taste.  It’s pretty noisy and boisterous, until you find the hook lying deep beneath the chorus.   If anything, the song only grows with power and accessibilty as it goes along.  Look for the record in 2011 on Carpark.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Cloud-Nothings-Understand-At-All.mp3]

Download: Cloud Nothings – Understand At All [MP3]

1 2 3