Young folks doing what young folks do.
Cloud Nothings: Attack on Memory
Eight songs—all of them fast, only one very long, and none particularly wordy, though the words do count. Twenty-year-old front man Dylan Baldi is a born yowler who likes his guitar more than his thesaurus, but when he screams his way through a dozen or so repetitions of “I thought I would be more than this” on “Wasted Days,” you don’t have to suffer from his troublesome combination of entitlement and self-doubt to feel where he’s coming from (though it probably helps). His themes are tried and true for 20-year-olds with guitars—Why does time move so fast? Is tomorrow just a rumor? Is she really going out with him?—but no less cathartic for it. Baldi, recording with a full band for the first time and enlisting the engineering services of none other than Steve Albini, keeps the whole thing brutal and hooky. Play it loud. A-
Sharon Van Etten: Tramp
“You’re the reason why I’ll move to the city/You’re why I’ll need to leave,” this Brooklyn-via-Jersey girl sings on “Give Out,” the second song of her third album. You’d be right to call her a fatalist, and to hope she gets over it soon, but she knows herself well. Chances are you’ll recognize her too. Van Etten has hurt more than her share of really nice guys and fallen victim to at least as many bad ones, but when she catches herself playing the type—which she usually does—her plain, punishing asides tell her whole story. You might expect someone who drops lines like “I wanted to try for you/Wanted to die for you” to be tedious company, but Van Etten is in on the joke, and follows them up with a mocking “dramatic things.” Better still is “tell me I’m worth all the miles that you put on your car,” which I like to think is an actual text message she sent one of the nice guys. The offhandedness of her lyrics is a double-edged sword, and the basic strum-and-thump of the music can wear thin, but her ruefulness wins in the end. A plea from the closing track: “Tell me to leave the next time I’m in front of you.” She sounds restless enough to go places. B+