One day, in 1995, my good friend and inevitable band-mate, Meredith, stopped me in the college dining hall, handed me his headphones, and told me I needed to listen to something immediately.
That something was Illinois band Hum’s song “Stars” and, being the obliging emo kid I was—Sunny Day, Braid, Split Lip early 90s emo; not Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance aughts mall emo—I stood in the corner of the dining hall and gently rocked to the awesomeness that was that song, clutching my backpack straps all the while.
Listening to current day Philadelphia band Nothing, I’m immediately transported back to that dining hall in all its fuzzy, distorted, shoe-gazey glory. Nothing’s not 100% derivative of 90s noise pop, but it’s clearly taking its cues from that era, and I unabashedly love it, original or not.
Turns out, the band and its sound is a sort of catharsis for its founder, Domenic Palermo, who formed Nothing after a particularly violent part of his life that ended in him stabbing another man and serving a two-year sentence in jail. “Saying I wrote a lot in there would be a huge understatement,” Palermo told the Deli magazine. ” I have always felt like I was covered by a wet blanket of isolation, but prison really heightened that for me. It’s the kind of thing that stays with you throughout life I think. The alone in a crowd type of thing, drifting thoughts during other people’s meaningless conversations. It’s a sad place. It comes through in the songwriting.”
Listen to Nothing’s…aptly named debut full-length, Guilty of Everything, below. You can buy it in physical form from their label, long-time metal outfit, Relapse, and digitally via iTunes. If you like to support stabbers!!!
And since we opted out of giving you a pick yesterday, today’s a twofer!
Taking a sudden, sharp, sunny corner musically, we’re also calling out a long-time favorite of ours, pop singer-songwriter, Madi Diaz.
Though the sound’s a world away, Diaz does share with Nothing roots in Philly, where she attended the Paul Green School of Rock, which actually resulted in being featured in the popular documentary, Rock School. Having survived that, Diaz went on to attend the slightly more conventional Berklee College of Music before moving to Nashville and, eventually, settling here in Los Angeles recently.
She currently lists her interests as “writing music that even our friends might like (ie not just our immidiate families), ponies, shiny objects” on her Facebook page and her influences as “pine trees. mountains. you.” Aw.
See if you can hear the pine trees below. If you like these tracks, we highly recommend purchasing her 2012 full-length, Plastic Moon.
For the thriftier individuals out there, head over to NoiseTrade, where you can download a three-song sampler of the album for whatever amount of money you see fit. At the very least, make sure you download the track “Let’s Go”—it’s seriously one of my favorite songs ever.
It looks like Madi’s done with official SXSW showcases—she “killed it” at Buffalo Billiards Tuesday, accordingly—so keep an eye on her Facebook page for coming shows to support her sophomore full-length, due out this year.