Nothing’s Guilty of Everything has spun repeatedly in my car this past month. At home, I’ve chugged from an endless keg of Nothing’s previous EP, Downward Years to Come. Either way, in either place, it’s been Nothing or its been nothing at all these past weeks. Hey, did you see what I did there? Nice.
My buddy Pepe loves this band called Starflyer 59. They play a brand of rock I only know as “shoegaze”: densely layered guitars over syrupy bass chugs and a smattering storm of uncharacteristically quick drum work. I hear there’s another band called My Bloody Valentine (who Nothing’s founder, Dominic Palermo, listened to incessantly during his impressionable years) that plays a similar brand of rock, but I’ve never heard of them and I’ll only embarrass myself here by mentioning them. But the point is that I’ve never taken to such swarmy guitar drones. I’ve always preferred a choppy metal riff or a smashing death growl, leaving the “shoegaze” luxuriance to Pepe and the My Bloody Valentine myth to the critical minority.
All that to say, surprisingly, Nothing won me with a single track NPR preview of their song “Dig”. And even though Nothing reminded me of Pepe’s Starflyer 59, I was hooked. It makes me wonder if I’m aging? Maturing? Is my musical palette performing on a more gourmet level? Hell, I’ve all but abandoned my Kelly Clarkson discs while just the other day I found myself actually grooving to REM’s “Nightswimming”! The tides are changing o’er my celestial berms.
Or maybe Nothing’s Guilty of Everything is truly a game-changer of a record. Especially this fourth track, “Endlessly”, that sounds solar and aquatic and cavernous all at once. Everything here – the sounds, the lyrics – feels elemental – “Mother / Reflect the Heaven sky / Father / Angel with bestial eyes / Gently / Love us gently . . . / In circles we spun / And fell to her Earth to the dirt we came from”. Or the third track “Bent Nail” – “I’m caught between a beggar’s teeth / Buried in the wilted roses and the pregnant weeds” – which rises and falls, rushes and slides. It’s fucking rich.
Still, congrats to Nothing for signing with Guilty, but I can’t help feeling Downward Years to Come is the superior title. Relapse Records released Guilty at the beginning of March, while Downward remains a Bandcamp only digital release – a damn shame in my book. There’s something eerily special about Downward, something possessing that makes it impossible to walk away with the same gaited cadence in which I approached. If I’ve never won you to any action before, act on this: check out Nothing’s Bandcamp page. Give them a listen. Buy their records. If enough of us do so, Downward will eventually release to LP, which is where it belongs.