Concert preview: Cleveland singer/guitarist Dylan Baldi making something of Cloud Nothings

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

On Here and Nowhere Else, the explosive fourth album from Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings, the characters in singer/guitarist Dylan Baldi’s songs frequently find themselves at a loss for words, the frontman singing: “I don't know what you're trying to say”; “You don't really seem to care/ And I don't even talk about it”; “I feel there's nothing left to say.”

“It’s this idea of not being able to communicate — and not just me, but people in general,” said Baldi, 22, who joins his bandmates for a show at Double Happiness on Friday, Oct. 3, during a late September phone interview from his Lakewood apartment. “I didn’t realize I was writing about that at the time, but I guess it was something I was thinking about while we were making the record. I tend to write everything very last minute in one draft … and then figure out what it means later.”

The band tends to take a similarly instinctual approach to its music. Baldi said the songs tend to come together quickly and with minimal thought, because when the bandmates invest too much time in things the results generally feel stiff and labored.

“If I didn’t write everything last minute I would think about it too much and end up with some garbage, overwrought poem like ‘Beowulf’ or something,” he said. “It would be intense, and I don’t want to do that. I like not knowing what’s going on until the last minute. I like that chaos.”

This becomes abundantly clear throughout Here and Nowhere Else, a ferocious effort packed with fevered riffs, thundering drums (Jayson Gerycz must have the most resilient kit in the business considering the whooping it takes) and Baldi’s tortured howl, which occasionally takes on a primal, borderline animalistic quality. Such is the case on the rumbling, rough-edged “Giving Into Seeing,” where the frontman repeatedly growls the word “swallow” as though he were trying to purge the syllables from his body altogether.

“It was fun to do that, and it was cathartic in a way,” said Baldi, who was raised by public school teacher parents (both have since retired, and he’s joked of continuing the family tradition of yelling at kids) and got his start in music playing piano and saxophone. “Everybody wants to scream at some point during the day … so I tossed it in there. [Music] is as good an outlet as any to get rid of feelings like that, I guess.”

Pooneh Ghana photo

Double Happiness

7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3

482 S. Front St., Brewery District