There’s this thing that happens when, once you’re older than 30 or so, you start to notice that every band you like is younger than you. It’s a fact of life. The Hard Times even wrote an article about it, and the reason the Hard Times is so funny is because it’s real, like The New Yorker ripping off a Ziggy. I’m used to it now, but it was actually sort of weird for me for a brief moment in my early thirties. I actually interviewed Dylan Baldi of Cloud Nothings in the green room at Soda Bar (which, maybe doesn’t exist anymore? at the time it had a guestbook where Grimes left some neat sketches though) and he wasn’t quite old enough to be hanging out in the bar. That was weird.
But youth brings a lot to music that experience doesn’t. On one hand, the longer someone plays, the better they get. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for not having absorbed quite so much. Which isn’t to say that Cloud Nothings don’t display their influences, which they certainly do—Wipers, Husker Du, any number of post-hardcore bands from the ’90s. But it speaks to a certain youthful quality that they can pull off this intense, high-energy music so relentlessly.
Here and Nowhere Else may or may not be Cloud Nothings’ best album, but it definitely features their best song: “I’m Not Part of Me,” a hard-driving, catchy and explosive song that happens to speak directly to a certain self-examination as a young person. I probably would have LIVED on this song when I was in my early twenties. As it is, it’s still something I relate to now, even if it’s in the rearview.
When I bought this album, I had no idea the band did a promotion in which they wrote messages or drew pictures on the album covers, which is pretty fun. I picked up a copy at M Theory with the message “Tuna Melt Thompson and the Fat Tuesday Big Band” on the cover, and I had no idea what was going on. Apparently that’s added a bit of value to the record, since Baldi’s one-of-a-kind doodling is on it. There are other copies with fun drawings and stuff on them. I haven’t seen them all, but still, pretty neat.
Maybe it helps that they’re a little younger to come up with an idea like that. Maybe not. Still fun though.
Sound Quality: Great