Cloud Nothings

True Endeavors Presents / Jonk, WSUM, & Strictly Discs Welcomes:

Cloud Nothings

Protomartyr, Fire Retarded

Friday, May 2nd 2014

9:30 pm

$13 adv / $15 dos

Tickets Available at the Door

This event is 18 and over

Cloud Nothings
Cloud Nothings
Cloud Nothings was founded in a Cleveland basement, the one-man recording project of Dylan Baldi, an unassuming, then 18-year-old student of song with a breathtaking ear for melody. Prolific from the start, Baldi’s early work was rough but immediate: crudely recorded, spring-loaded spasms of Buzzcocks-informed pop that quickly found an online following among the lo-fi-inclined. When an opportunity presented itself to open a small show in Brooklyn, Baldi abandoned a still-in-progress final project to be there. The gamble paid off — he’s been touring ever since, using every available break to write and record more.

In 2010, Carpark unveiled Turning On, a retrospective introduction that combined early 7″ singles and the full-length debut (a limited release on cassette and vinyl) from which it took its name. The following year, Cloud Nothings made its proper Carpark debut with a thrilling self-titled LP that found Baldi in a studio for the first time, shedding the many layers of hiss and distortion that had once obscured (or enhanced) his every sugary hook. What followed was an unexpected breakthrough, 2012′s Attack on Memory, an album that very loudly (with the help of producer Steve Albini) announced the arrival of Cloud Nothings as the sound of more than just Baldi: Caustic and gargantuan, it marked the first time our young hero wrote with and for his longtime touring band, drummer Jayson Gerycz, bassist TJ Duke and since departed guitarist Joe Boyer. Touring intensified, rock critics slobbered, and the ceiling was raised considerably.

Enter yet another first: the highly-anticipated follow-up. Here and Nowhere Else is the sound of Baldi further realizing his potential not just as a collaborative bandleader but a singer as well. The sometimes frightening interplay that galvanized its predecessor is refined here, Baldi’s cyclonic guitar parts and Gerycz’s seismic drumwork more tightly clenched and nuanced than they’ve ever been before. It’s an album every bit as ferocious as what we’ve recently come to expect — only smarter.
Protomartyr
Protomartyr
In a city full of brilliant people with dead-end jobs and dampened by bitter-cold winters, playing music offers a cheap outlet. Protomartyr’s taut, austere rock was incubated in a freezing Detroit warehouse littered with beer cans and cigarette butts and warmed, feebly, by space heaters. Short songs made for short practices, and the band learned quickly not to waste time. Despite the cold, Protomartyr emerged with a sound that is idiosyncratic but relatable, hooky but off-kilter.

There’s a temptation to call it garage rock, but that doesn’t quite fit. With respect to the local predecessors, this isn’t the primitive stomp of The Dirtbombs or The Stooges’ greasy roar. Punk works, kind of, even if it leaves the hardcore kids confused. Post-punk suggests something too retro; indie rock, something too precious. What Protomartyr is, is “stuck between the cracks.” If that’s the case, though, they aren’t alone. Protomartyr’s economical rock elicits comparisons to possible antecedents like Pere Ubu or The Fall as well as local contemporaries like Frustrations or Tyvek (whose frontman Kevin Boyer played bass in an early iteration of Protomartyr). Singer Joe Casey’s dry declarative snarl serves as a reliable anchor, granting his bandmates — guitarist Greg Ahee, drummer Alex Leonard and bassist Scott Davidson — the opportunity to explore textures and reinforce the rhythm section. In other words, to “fuck around a little bit more.”

This is never more apparent than on the band’s sophomore LP and Hardly Art debut, Under Color of Official Right. Where 2012’s No Passion All Technique favored comparatively straightforward punk structures, Under Color takes a more exploratory approach.

Recorded in a single weekend with Bill Skibbe and Jessica Ruffins (Wolf Eyes, Cass McCombs, Lower Dens, Six Organs of Admittance) at Key Club Recording Studio in Benton Harbor, MI, the album straddles studio professionalism and punk impulse. Shades of the band’s less obvious pop and R&B influences can be glimpsed in the sinuous grooves of songs like “Maidenhead” or “Violent.” Elsewhere, “Tarpeian Rock” places punk vitriol against a minimalist backing and “Scum, Rise!” casts shadows with guitars that alternately chime and clang.

Post-punk’s biggest inspiration, it seems, was its eagerness to demolish punk’s orthodoxy, to push against the arbitrary boundaries of genre — at least until it became one itself. For Protomartyr, inspiration usually arrives in the form of ideas or feelings, more than explicit musical references. By the time the band has shaped it to its needs, the source material is almost unrecognizable.

Casey’s lyrics often draw their details from books, real people and local landmarks. They’re relatable because they’re so specific. Take for instance, “Pagans,” in which Casey asks, “Livy recalled when the giants came / I didn't care about anything, except warm hands in the cold air.”

It’s emblematic of the band, this small moment captured and repurposed into something greater. Influences are managed the same way, condensed to a moment and ground into the new whole. The cheap outlet, crafted by cold hands in a poorly insulated practice space has, perhaps unwittingly, become a model of Motor City efficiency. And, more than that, it’s produced a stunner of a sophomore album.
Fire Retarded
Fire Retarded
Started in the summer of 2012, featuring members of Giant People, The New Years Gang and The Hussy. Fire Retarded plays loud garage-punk.
Venue Information:
High Noon Saloon
701A E. Washington Ave
Madison, WI, 53703
http://www.high-noon.com/