Now Hear This: Not For Nothing...

The new Cloud Nothings album is the talk of the town this week - and not for nothing. The energy on Here and Nowhere Else is relentless, beginning with opener "Now Hear In." It's a tune that guitarist Dylan Baldi says came from scratching a mean riff across a friend's old classical acoustic guitar. The end result is a pulsing rock tune, setting the stage nicely for the rest of the trip.

This time around, Baldi and Co. build off the same recipe that made Attack on Memory such a memorable album. Where the 2012 album gave us the melodic build-up to screaming ravages in "No Future/No Past," here we get "Psychic Trauma," which accomplishes similar, if altogether less intense, ends.

"There's a lot of screaming on a lot of these songs. I like to yell. I did an interview once and I said I was continuing the family tradition of yelling at kids because my parents were teachers in Cleveland," Baldi tells Scene, and that much is quite apparent.

Album closer "I'm Not Part of Me" is probably the best song on the album. All of the most enticing elements of Cloud Nothings are present: the quick riffs, the wide-open chords, the tight drumming, the lazy aggression of Baldi's lyrics. The bass-heavy outro on this one sends us back into the present moment, where we quickly realize there is such a thing as a "repeat" button on the ol' stereo. Fire it up again!

Coming from a much more chilled-out corner of the music world is the new Infamous Stringdusters album, Let It Go. It's a relaxing collection of tunes that fits in really well with those occasional bouts of spring weather we're getting in Cleveland.

"We're just trying to become more essentially ourselves," banjo player Chris Pandolfi says. The writing and recording process brought the band back members back to their bluegrass roots, which they'll in turn expand wholly throughout their tour. Light up "Where the River Run Cold" for an upbeat jaunt outdoors. Or flip to "Summercamp" and let your mind drift to thoughts of laid-back getaways from real life. This album is full of moments like that.

And despite building songs out of typical bluegrass tools, the guys in Infamous Stringdusters route everything through more contemporary pop sensibilities, essentially making this album accessible for anyone with a willing ear. It's a better album that 2012's "Silver Sky," which seemed a lofty marker prior to release.

Lastly, if you haven't been following the trajectory of Chevelle over the past 10+ years, you're missing out on a fine example of a band honing its chops to the tightest possible point.

You were either into the turn-of-the-millennium scene that spawned Chevelle, Linkin Park, Mudvayne, Seether, etc., or you weren't. But if 2002's Wonder What's Next sparked your interest, Chevelle's later albums are probably right up your alley. Though they fell quite far under the radar, outings like Sci-Fi Crimes and Hats Off to the Bull showcased a band intent on sharpening its sound and growing the seeds first planted in their early years.

La Gargola maintains that latter-day tradition, offering up Chevelle's hook-laden brand of rock in tunes like "An Island" and "Take Out the Gunman." Regarding the former: "It's a good song if you've had a bad day and you're pissed off at someone," drummer Sam Loeffler says.

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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