“Give up/ Come to know/ We’re through,” Cloud Nothings singer Dylan Baldi echoes during the opener for 2012’s breakout album, Attack on Memory, before a bludgeoning wall of noise hits and Baldi repeatedly screams the track title, “No future/ No past.” Up to that point, the band had been composing above-average indie-rock that routinely got brushed off as boring and uninventive. But with that first track off their third album, everything flipped. And the music itself spoke much more than those 11 words. It was brash, upfront, immediate and unrelenting. Cloud Nothings were no longer a band to be ignored.
The rest of the album doesn’t loosen the stranglehold, either. The following song, “Wasted Days,” is a screed on the singer’s directionless life and his failings of living up to expectations that, over its nine-minute track time, slowly builds into a pummeling, anger-fueled conclusion. Later, on “No Sentiment” behind a screeching guitar, Baldi presents a clear rejection of the past. “Forget everything/ No nostalgia/ No sentiment,” he scowls.
While that album provided a very visceral, cathartic release, the band’s latest record, Life Without Sound, presents a more introspective angle. The breakneck speed and unstoppable anthems are tamed down, but the restraint shows off Baldi’s impeccable songwriting skills, now that it’s unmasked from pop hooks. It’s an album that accurately represents his current worldview. On Attack On Memory, Baldi was disaffected and upset with the world, on Life Without Sound, he has settled into a more comfortable place. “This record is like my version of new age music,” Baldi said the album’s press release. “It’s supposed to be inspiring.”
Cloud Nothings headline Turner Hall Ballroom, 1032 N. 4th St., on Sunday, February 12 with openers Moon Bros and Dramatic Lovers. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Stream of the Week
Last month, The Fatty Acids returned with new music and announced a new album, Dogs of Entertainment (due out February 21). Now, the band has unveiled another song from the record. “Ghostess” finds the group exploring new sonic territory; the track is more laid-back and contemplative than anything off their bombastic pop debut Bolero. “Only Give You Business,” a remix by Milwaukee producer Seakn, injects production that’s both sinewy and free-form and gives the song an otherworldly feel.
This Week in Live Music
Tuesday, February 7:
Less Than Jake with Pepper, Kash’d Out and Red City Radio at The Rave, 7 p.m. ($21.50-$26.50) – (2401 W. Wisconsin Ave.)
Also: Geoff Tate at Shank Hall, 8 p.m. ($25) – (1434 N. Farwell Ave.)
Wednesday, February 8:
TESLA with The Cringe and The Raskins at The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m. ($39.50-$59.50) – (144 E. Wells St.)
Thursday, February 9:
Stephen Lynch at Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m. ($27.50) – (1032 N. 4th St.)
Friday, February 10:
Gladys Knight at The Pabst Theater, 8 p.m. ($55-$85) – (144 E. Wells St.)
Also: Rhett Miller of Old 97’s with Trapper Schoepp at The Back Room @ Colectivo Coffee, 8 p.m. ($22 advance; $25 door) – (2211 N. Prospect Ave.)
And: Dope KNife with Rusty Pelicans, Bo & Airo and Nate Brady at Cactus Club, 10 p.m. ($5) – (2496 S. Wentworth Ave.)
And: Nineteen Thirteen at Walker’s Point Anodyne Coffee, 8 p.m. ($5) – (224 W. Bruce St.)
And: Florida Brothers Band with Heavy Hand, Doubletruck and Iron Pizza at Frank’s Power Plant, 9 p.m. ($5) – (2800 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.)
And: The Red Flags with Three Unassisted and Paladino The Club Garibaldi, 9 p.m. – (2501 S. Superior St.)
Saturday, February 11:
Noname with Ravyn Lenae and Siren at The Miramar Theater, 9 p.m. (SOLD OUT) – (2844 N. Oakland Ave.)
Also: Club Ritual at Landmark Lanes, 10 p.m. – (2220 N Farwell Ave.)
And: Robert Ellis with Jenny O. at The Back Room @ Colectivo Coffee, 8 p.m. ($15) – (2211 N. Prospect Ave.)
And: Eagle Trace with The Mike Benign Compulsion at Walker’s Point Anodyne Coffee, 8 p.m. ($8) – (224 W. Bruce St.)
And: Jim Brickman at The Pabst Theater, 7:30 p.m. ($30-$60) – (144 E. Wells St.)
Sunday, February 12:
Cloud Nothings with Moon Bros and Dramatic Lovers at Turner Hall Ballroom, 8 p.m. ($15) – (1032 N. 4th St.)