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Cloud Nothings will release their fifth album, Last Building Burning, tomorrow. With their previous four records (and now the new one), the Cleveland band has established themselves as one of the most kinetic and hard-rocking groups that we have today. There’s a good handful of power pop-leaning tracks throughout the Dylan Baldi-led band’s discography, but the focus is largely on menacing guitars, Baldi’s intense often-screamed vocals, and no-joke tempos that will melt your face off if you stand too close.
You wouldn’t know that by looking at the band’s Twitter account, though.
“You could read me [my] tweets and ask, ‘What does the band sound like,'” Baldi said to me over the phone earlier this week. “I’d be like, ‘I don’t know, it sounds like a Buffalo Wild Wings.’ You know, that band probably sucks.”
Baldi leads one of today’s finest indie rock bands, yes, but he’s also just a guy in his mid-20s… strike that, he’s actually nearly 200 years of age: “I started this band when I was 18 which means I am now 192 years old,” he tweeted recently. Like many of his peers, he’s prone to hopping on social media and sharing jokes and pearls of everyday tongue-in-cheek wisdom, including, “Commercials during football games make me feel like I need to eat a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, drink a Bud Light, and join the army,” “It’s weird that I’ve written every Drake song and gotten zero credit,” and, “Every time I see a photo of four guys, I think it’s my band.”
He’ll also stan for Buffalo Wild Wings, “the United States Of America’s greatest chain restaurant,” any day of the week, in case you were wondering what the hell he was talking about earlier.
Baldi is clearly a guy with a lot on his 192-year-old mind, so when we talked, he broke down some of his recent tweets, an exercise that may or may not have offered profound insight into the mind of an energetic rock frontman. At the very least, it yielded a funny story about meeting Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top… and, of course, an explanation of why Buffalo Wild Wings is so elite.
Laughs aside, there were also substantive pieces of conversation related more directly to the band and Last Building Burning, like Baldi’s love of Cloud Nothings album reviews, the influence that ambient and other longform types of music had on the record, and what the album’s title and overarching theme have to do with “big ugly $600,000 condos.”
I figured that you’re probably going to be doing a ton of interviews about what the album is like and that kind of thing, and I do want to touch on that, but I thought it might be fun to start by asking some more general things based on some recent tweets of yours. Does that not sound too dumb?
[Laughs] No, that sounds fine. My Twitter is dumb… this could be interesting.
That’s the point of Twitter anyway, being dumb. That’s what I use mine for.
Yeah, I don’t know what to use it for. Let’s talk about what I said on Twitter.
Sure. During the most recent NBA Finals, you were tweeting pretty often about the Warriors and the Cavs. How do you feel about LeBron [James] heading out to Los Angeles? That’s got to suck.
I mean, it’s bad, because I think it’s bad for the city of Cleveland, and the economy of Cleveland. LeBron alone brought a lot to the city. But I understand. I think he had to go. There is nothing for him here. And he wants to start this whole media empire, and all sorts of sh*t. But LA just makes sense for him, and I’m happy for him. And he got us a championship. He did everything he was supposed to do, everything he said he was going to do.
I don’t like seeing him in a Lakers uniform, though. That’s disturbing.
It looks weird still.
It’s so weird. It doesn’t look right.
I saw that last month, you shared a video of this Japanese Cloud Nothings cover band. What is that like, knowing that that’s out there?
It’s weird, because I still don’t know the full story behind that. It just seems bizarre that there would be a band like that. I really can’t imagine that there is a band that is actively just out there playing our songs all the time. But it is really strange. I found out a couple years ago, someone sent it to me or something. And they only play songs that we don’t really play live. They play songs from the first couple records, sometimes ones we’ve never played, stuff that we just have never even learned how to play. So, I guess it’s good there is someone out there doing that. Keeping the dream of the first couple records alive.
I feel like that would be strange enough if that band was playing your more known songs, but the fact that it’s your more obscure stuff, that just makes it that much weirder.
It’s really surreal, yeah. Especially because it’s in… Japan is pretty far from Cleveland. It’s always funny when you see something like that. You can look up, like, Youtube covers, and people do like drum covers of some of our songs, and that’s always great. It’s still mystifying to me that it gets that far from where we are.