The Courtneys, Rosali
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.
Rosali is the solo incarnation of Philadelphia-based musician Rosali Middleman. Through songwriting and performances, Rosali shares resonant emotions and the authenticity of being, unveiling herself to connect with broad audiences. Rosali’s songwriting realizes life as rich and alluring melodies within the framework of traditional popular songwriting. Her 2016 debut album, Out of Love (Siltbreeze), shimmers with open expression. The ten songs on Out of Love weave intimate words, strong melodic and rhythmic structures, and mellifluous singing while hanging onto the free nature of the songs’ origins. Her music is all at once ethereal, familiar, unearthing, and expansive. Rosali’s full band, Rosali & the Middlemen, is a natural expansion of her psychedelic and enveloping sound. Out of Love was one of Uncut Magazine’s top 100 records of 2016, and Magnet Magazine hailed the debut as essential new music.
Rosali’s forthcoming album, Trouble Anyway, out on June 8 via Spinster Sounds, expands her tonal register. With amplified purpose, Rosali furthers her explorative singing into renewed maturity. Sharing openly on love, power, aging, suffering, confusion, self-doubt and anger, the collection of songs on Trouble Anyway embody the universality of human nature. A vulnerable force, they are a woman rising and in flight.
Lyrical and wordless intensity, alongside intuitive musical arrangements, make for a powerful sophomore release. With collaborations from musician friends—Nathan Bowles (Steve Gunn, Black Twig Pickers), Dan Provenzano (Writhing Squares, Purling Hiss), Mary Lattimore, Paul Sukeena (Angel Olsen, Spacin’), Charlie Hall (The War on Drugs), Mike Polizze (Purling Hiss), Mike Sobel (Oldermost), and Gretchen Lohse (Carol Cleveland Sings)—Trouble Anyway is both otherworldly and straight-forward. The collective instrumentation simultaneously accentuates Rosali’s singular sound and magnifies its orbit. Trouble Anyway was recorded and mixed by Uniform Recording’s Jeff Zeigler, who has also engineered records for The War on Drugs, Allison Crutchfield (also of Waxahatchee), and Kurt Vile, among others.
You can also see Rosali as guitarist for Philadelphia trio, Long Hots.