Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “I’m Not Part of Me” by Cloud Nothings from the 2014 album Here and Nowhere Else on Carpark Records / Mom+Pop Music.
Although it started as one of Cleveland-based musician Dylan Baldi’s numerous online projects, Cloud Nothings has become a band whose furiously cathartic punk-based songs reach far beyond Baldi’s initial ambitions. During Baldi’s freshman year at college, he spent his weekends in his parents basement making music under various names for his own enjoyment. When a New York promoter took interest in “Cloud Nothings”, Baldi gathered a live band to perform his songs for the first time in December 2009. Baldi went on to create the first two Cloud Nothings albums on his own, but for 2012’s breakthrough Attack On Memory, he reconfigured the project both thematically and functionally. Baldi began shifting his lo-fi aesthetic further toward punk tempos and reworked his talent for crafting melodic hooks to build throat-shredding choruses that were only matched in intensity by his new backing band of guitarist Joe Boyer, bassist TJ Duke, and drummer Jayson Gerycz. Attack On Memory brought the band into a larger spotlight and propelled them to a wave of critical acclaim and a lengthy supporting tour, during which Baldi began writing the next album. Recorded as a trio after Boyer’s departure, Here and Nowhere Else builds on Attack on Memory‘s strengths, increasing both the band’s melodic and punk characteristics to make a record that will inspire as many mosh pits as it will singalongs (probably at the same time). Perhaps more than any other track on the album, “I’m Not Part Of Me” embodies this synthesis of the sweet and splintered that Baldi has proven to be so adapt at writing. Propelled by Gerycz’s breakneck drumming, Baldi reflects on his past experiences at a speed that only augments his lyrical purge. When he reaches the bridge – often the most powerful section of his songs – his rallying cry of “you’re the thought that’s haunting me” resonates much farther than its insular perspective (“I’m not telling you what I’m going through”) would suggest. Musically and lyrically, Baldi clearly thrives in when working with dichotomy, and his ability to redirect this tension outward is makes “I’m Not Part Of Me”, and the other seven songs on Here And Nowhere Else, such an aggressive, anthemic success.
Cloud Nothings were originally booked to play the July 4th weekend of Sasquatch, but in the wake of its cancellation, they’ll now play Neumos on July 7th with Metz. Get tickets and more info on that 21+ show here, keep up with the band on their website and Facebook, and watch the oddly slumber party-centric video for “I’m Not Part Of Me” below.