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Shuffle: Cleveland Indie Band Cloud Nothings' Renewed Love For Home

Jesse Lirola

An indie band from Cleveland that exploded into the national spotlight five years ago is reconnecting with its roots. For this week’s Shuffle, Amanda Rabinowitz talked to Cloud Nothings’ Dylan Baldi about the band’s new sound and his renewed love for home.  

Dylan Baldi started Cloud Nothings as a solo project in his parent’s Westlake basement while he was a student at Case Western Reserve University.

He added band mates, started playing shows and getting attention from record companies. He dropped out of college. The band’s 2012 album, Attack on Memory, received rave reviews, with angsty hits like “Stay Useless.”  

The band’s success drew Baldi away from home -- living as far away as Paris at one point. Now, at 26, he’s returned to Cleveland, living with Cloud Nothings’ drummer Jayson Gerycz.

This year, the band released its fourth album, the much-less angsty, Life Without Sound. Baldi says they’ve been touring all over the world, including their first ever trip to China. But, when Baldi returns home, he keeps his world small and simple.

A better mood back home
"I like places where no one goes," he says.

One of those places is Moncho’s in his Brooklyn Centre neighborhood. The Colombian-themed bar and grill is in a nondescript brick building covered by overgrown bushes. Sipping on a beer and enjoying chips and salsa on a rare summer day off, he reflects on how his city has changed for the better.

"People are just in a better mood than when I left. We played a show the other day and I said we were from Cleveland …which I haven’t said in a long time. We used to start every show like that. It was a good response! People were like, 'Yeah!'"

Life Without Sound
The band's latest album has a more upbeat, hopeful vibe than Baldi's previous work.

"The writing was pretty solitary versus the last two before it. I think when I just make stuff on my own it's a little more poppy than it ends up being when I do it with a full group."

He says he's proud of the bands latest album because of all the work that went into it after a long break. "We were doing a record every year, but then we took three years off, which is crazy."

Baldi is quick to add that he doesn’t want to take any more time off. After Cloud Nothings’ fall tour, he plans to get right back to work on the band’s fifth album, saying that while Cleveland provides a quiet home base, his real home ultimately is on the road.

Cloud Nothings have a hometown show September 24 at the Grog Shop as part of the Cleveland venue’s 25th anniversary.