Last year, Cloud Nothings was all about lo-fi fun and the whimsical musical impulses of Dylan Baldi -- who recorded all of the material on his own and taught a backup band all the parts. But now Cloud Nothings is a full-on kickass band with a serious new album, "Attack on Memory."
"It's a depressing record, lyrically speaking," says Baldi. "I was bored making the same kind of stuff over and over."
He is sitting on a set of steps just a bit outside of the SXSW action in Austin, Texas, where Cloud Nothings played six gigs in three days. He says changing the band's sound was almost a challenge he posed to himself.
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"It's kind of nerve-wracking at first," he says, "because I changed it to something I wasn't comfortable with. ... But once you kind of settle into it and realize, 'I'm happy with the record and the band is happy with the record; and if no one else is, I don't care because I've made something that I'm really proud of, naturally,' you kind of get over the fact that people are going to review it."
Whether he gets over it or not, a lot have people have been reviewing the album -- positively. Pitchfork gave it an 8.6 out of 10 and Rolling Stone gave it 3.5 out of five stars.
"Attack on Memory" oozes with the frustrated energy of Baldi constantly railing against the possibility of life's futility.
"The whole record is sort of about what I think a lot of people my age go through," he says. "Around like 20 and 21, people just sort of think about what they're going to do with the rest of their lives."
If this is what he's going to be doing for the rest of his life, then the world will be better off for it. But there is one threat to that longevity. Cloud Nothings play at thunderous volume levels.
"Our drummer is super loud, so we all have to meet his level," he says. "I'm gonna go deaf by like age 25."