Cloud Nothings

For a band that sticks to its impulses instead of trends, Cloud Nothings accumulates critical praise and loyal fans with the type of ease modern rock bands can only dream of. That’s because the Cleveland four-piece is the byproduct of Dylan Baldi, a frontman whose melodic intuition and musical fervor are as innate as they are impressive. Baldi’s early indie rock songs welcome pop warmly without sounding trite. His later alt-rock hooks are too busy criss-crossing guitar lines to overthink things. The urgency he writes with comes across in the vividness of his guitar. Since expanding his solo project into a proper band, Baldi has positioned Cloud Nothings as the torchbearers of the frenetic, visceral, and thundering rock of bands like The Wipers and Drive Like Jehu. It’s all alternating resolves and anticipated breakdowns. And live, it’s near impossible to dispute talent that palpable. Looking back, it makes sense how Cloud Nothings got here. At the age of 18, Baldi gained attention after a string of lo-fi songs he recorded in the comfort of his basement began circulating online. It landed him a spot on a buzzed-about show in Brooklyn where, in turn, he caught the eyes of Carpark. His music began its upward ascent immediately. In 2010, Carpark released Turning On, a retrospective combo of the band’s debut EP and various 7” singles. Cloud Nothings unveiled their self-titled LP the following year, a record that showcased how crisp Baldi’s hooks sound when given proper studio time. But what followed in 2012, their breakthrough LP Attack on Memory, paved a new path for the band. The album saw Baldi throw himself into his guitar while collaborating with the rest of his touring band—drummer Jayson Gerycz, bassist TJ Duke, and guitarist Joe Boyer—to create an aggressive, unrelenting, and throat-scratching album that captured not just their sound, but their collective raw energy. Cloud Nothings fleshed out that sound further on 2014’s Here and Nowhere Else, this time as a trio after Boyer’s departure. Even when Baldi, in a decision to feed his quiet fondness for pop, used 2017’s Life Without Sound to showcase his melodic inclinations, he showed a continued growth in his songwriting skills. Cloud Nothings fold all of that forward momentum into their newest record, Last Building Burning. Just over half an hour in length, the album is a singular listen designed to mirror the experience of their live shows. Gerycz and Duke propel the rhythm section with their fastest speed to date. Baldi and guitarist Chris Brown reshape converging guitar parts into double-edged swords, reaching beyond power chords for instantly pleasing riffs that are urgent in delivery. Though the record touches on various sounds of the band’s past—“Another Way Of Life” digs its toes into the harmonies of Life Without Sound and “On An Edge” recalls the blistering peaks of Here and Nowhere Else—it showcases how untouchable the band has become. Cloud Nothings are a permanent staple of what rock music should sound like: gritty, caustic, and tireless. In that, almost a decade into their career, Cloud Nothings have become a reference point for budding rock acts while perpetually looking to outdo themselves as they go.

The Courtneys drift back to the sound of the early '90s, drawing from strong influences including Teenage Fanclub, Pavement, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, and The Clean. Courtney Loove's dreamy guitar riffs add a timeless powerpop element to the punk backbone formed by Sydney Koke's driving basslines, while drummer/lead singer Jen Twynn Payne delivers heartfelt lyrics with a powerful vocal style. These components come together through a passionate collaborative songwriting process to deliver a special blend of fuzzy "artisanal grunge."

The first, eponymous Courtneys album came out in 2013 on small independent label, Hockey Dad Records, based in the band's hometown of Vancouver, BC, Canada. They have since worked with a number of independent labels including Conquest of Noise in Australia and Waterslide Records in Japan, as well as Burger Records and Gnar tapes in the USA. They have released a number of singles and music videos, and toured throughout Canada and the USA, including spots supporting Tegan and Sara and Mac Demarco.

In 2015 The Courtneys made their way to Australia and New Zealand, where they were hosted by Flying Nun Records. Influenced by the legendary label from early on, the group are honored to now be able to call it their home.

Mock Identity

For Mock Identity, the sum is both greater than, and equal to, its parts. Comprised of some of the DC experimental music scene's most innovative and forward-thinking musicians - vocalist Adriana-Lucia Cotes (Antonia), guitarist Jeff Barsky (Insect Factory), bassist Joshua David Hoffman (Supersonic Piss), and percussionist Nate Scheible - this post-hardcore quartet is a force of musical resistance that sounds miles away from the musical worlds of avant-pop, free jazz, and ambient drone its members come from.
Of course, that's a shallow way of defining a band that contains multitudes. Formed in the winter of 2017, Mock Identity came together as artists with a shared passion of musical experimentation, social awareness, and a desire to disrupt the toxicity infecting society—racism, misogyny, patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-semitism, ableism, and white supremacy—in all forms.
On its debut LP, Paradise, Mock Identity unleashes ten tracks of twisting, angular post-hardcore that whips the senses like a howling wind. Barsky's knotty guitar riffs soar into an outer dimension, while Hoffman and Scheible lock into heavy rhythmic grooves that keep these songs grounded on Earth. But it's Cotes' soaring vocals and scathingly vivid lyrics that packs the most punch: "You want to talk about it?/ You should know all about it/ I mean it when I say/ No means no, man," she sings on "No Means No." There's no mincing words; Mock Identity isn't here to fuck around.

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