Cloud Nothings – ‘Stay Useless’ (Carpark)


The prophesied 90s alt-rock revival of 2010 was as short-lived as the hype surrounding its two main proponents, Yuck and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. Caught in the oncoming headlights of an economic crisis, the western world retreated instead to those genres that all seem to end in a ‘-wave’ suffix, drowning our sorrows in the dreamy escapism of synthesizers and a thousand superfluous effects pedals. However, if you like your guitars crunchy and your vocals melodic but only vaguely comprehensible, you need not give up hope. Stay Useless, the first single from Cloud Nothings’ forthcoming third album Attack On Memory, is a thrilling reminder of everything that was wonderful about music at the end of the 20th century, and could just bring the ailing revivalist movement back to angsty, insurgent life.

It’s not a huge departure from the band’s previous sound, reliving the lo-fi unruliness and singalong punk of their self-titled sophomore release, but it’s a very different listening experience all the same. Steve Albini’s expert production gives it the same abrasive, restless energy that made his work with Pixies and Nirvana the soundtrack to teenage rebellion across the world, with a thundering rhythm section hauling the song along by the scruff of its neck while the guitars and vocals scream in apparent resistance.

The chorus should lock itself inside your head and refuse to come out for days, with Dylan Baldi’s cracked vocals yelling a simple, powerful refrain against the incessant demands of modern life. When he sings: ‘I need time to stop moving/I need time to stay useless’, he makes his own contribution to the great canon of slacker anthems, and does it in a way that has never been more powerful. In a world that seems to demand more of us everyday – buy more, sell more, do more, eat more – to profess a yearning for a chance to just do nothing is about the most radical statement you can make, and the sheer energy of Stay Useless serves to hammer this point home.

Attack On Memory is released on Carpark on January 24th, and if it keeps up the momentum we see here it might just be something special.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.