Release Date: May 13, 2016
Record label: Relapse Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Noise-Rock, Shoegaze
Every now and again, there comes an album that muscles its way into your head, into your gut and into your heart and makes you feel some serious shit. After 2014's Guilty Of Everything, it certainly felt as though the Philadelphia-based quartet NOTHING had the power to produce a powerful, overwhelmingly emotive record like that. Their misanthropic lyricism and shoegazy instrumentation seemed like the perfect backbone for a tour de force.
If Nothing’s sullen music seems to slouch into the room, eyes to the floor and shoulders hunched, it’s at least heralded by wincing self-reflection and a notorious history – debut album Guilty Of Everything dealt with singer Dominic Palermo’s cleared assault charges. New album Tired Of Tomorrow is purportedly informed by personal tragedy, family troubles, and Martin Shkreli: a classic laundry list of modern existential scourges. If you weren’t familiar with the band it would almost seem like a joke at first, most of the tracklist suggesting an album spilling over with nihilism and gore – Eaten By Worms, Our Plague, Abcessive Compulsive Disorder – on paper, Nothing sound like angry metal and grim navel-gazing, pustulence laid on egregiously and gratuitously.
It’s been two years since [a]Nothing[/a] released their debut album ‘Guilty of Everything’ – not a lengthy absence given the barrage of shit the band have been dealing with ever since. After being beaten up outside one of his shows, lead singer Nicky Palermo was left severely injured and with a $60,000 medical bill. Battling health problems, depression, addiction and the loss of both a parent and a close friend, Nothing still managed to knock out a second album, only to discover that they had a silent financial backer in one Martin Shkreli – the villainous ‘entrepreneur’ best known for hiking up the price of HIV drugs (and buying Wu-Tang’s one-off record for two million dollars just to “show off”).
On the surface, the stories that swirl around the Philadelphia band Nothing feel out of sync with the music on their second album, Tired of Tomorrow. The group’s oft-discussed past includes violence, jail time, and a mob of hardcore guys wanting to beat up singer/guitarist Domenic Palermo. Before forming Nothing, Palermo spent two years in jail for stabbing someone at a show.
Relapse Records signees NOTHING's Tired of Tomorrow is a shoegaze masterwork, a 10-track album on the cutting edge of its genre. From the wall of noise that is "Fever Queen" to the fast, dance-y, pop-infused "Vertigo Flowers" to the dark, muddy Alice In Chains-esque track "Curse Of The Sun," the album leaves no sonic stone unturned.The band take so many left turns here that the project could have ended up distracting for listeners, but NOTHING somehow manage to pull everything together. The album features the genre-familiar loud, fuzzy guitars in "Eaten By Worms," but also plays with softer, cleaner sounds on more melodic tracks like "Everybody Is Happy" immediately after.
Nothing incorporated a lot of styles and elements into their last record, Guilty of Everything, which left me wondering if they'd repeat here or amp things up to a more aggressive nature. Given their guitar-centric approach to things, they're a band I enjoy more when they kick it up a notch. That doesn't happen much on Tired of Tomorrow as I'm left asking for some heavier moments which never come but that said, the record benefits from the melodic sprawls that Will Yip seems hellbent on producing lately.
Review Summary: Beneath all the different layers of sound, Nothing’s latest record is both beautiful and hard to pin down. The way that Nothing exploded onto the scene in 2014 – as if they had been a shoegaze fixture for ages – was one of the year’s most pleasant surprises and best storylines. The dichotomy of Palermo’s hushed vocals alongside dense, wall-forming guitars made Guilty of Everything sound both in-your-face and far away, resulting in an experience that was enthralling almost to the point of exhaustion, yet never quite overbearing.
It's pretty emotional, guys. ‘Tired of Tomorrow’ is an inarguably pessimistic name for a follow-up album, although there’s at least some hope in the music it represents.Nothing have taken the bleak down tempo alt-rock that they nailed on their first full-length ‘Guilty Of Everything’ and interspersed the desolation with life-affirming melodic passages, emotively delivered via reverb-soaked guitar and Domenic Palermo’s disarmingly quiet vocals.The resulting sound is one of wistful melancholia, designed for dark rooms, loud headphones and the flickering feeling that while life can be shitty at times, there’s always a chance to find happiness. .
The first thing that hits you is a brief shot of feedback, followed by a pummeling of guitar chords and crash cymbals, before the band settles into a lazy half-time beat with dreamy vocal harmonies. But the guitars are still there. They rarely go away, except in some rare moments of restraint, and even during those quieter moments, there’s an intensity that runs through the whole album.
There's no romance in a Nothing track. There's no glamour, triumph or tragedy, even though each of their albums is born out of the third. Nothing never bemoan their lot. Their days, like ours, are made of bad decisions and bad luck. Their lives, like ours, a series of unfortunate events. And while ….
Philadelphia band Nothing’s debut Guilty Of Everything was a promising if flawed proposition. It excelled on the tracks where the band presented its shoegaze side, but these songs were paired with alternative rock that didn’t fare as well. If you tended to find the latter appealing, then you may find lots to love about about that album’s follow-up, Tired Of Tomorrow, which arrives carrying the same baggage with a slightly glossier finish.
After the release of their impressively dark and beautiful debut album, Guilty of Everything, in early 2014, Nothing had a stretch of bad luck and close calls that would have broken most bands. Maybe it was resolve picked up during his time in prison, but the band's frontman Domenic Palermo was able to persevere through a serious mugging that left him in the hospital, the ridiculous label shenanigans that returned the group to Relapse, and an ugly twitter scandal that severely tested a friendship between bandmates, to deliver the band's second album, Tired of Tomorrow, in May of 2016. On it, the band sticks closely to the shoegaze sound of Guilty, while adding Mellotrons, pianos, and even more '90s (grunge, Nirvana) influence.
There’s a “meme contest” on Relapse Records’ website for the release of the second record from Nothing, Tired of Tomorrow, in which participants are encouraged to submit photos with captions noting what they’re tired of. At some deeply philosophical and metaphysical level, I feel like that works as an encapsulation of their new album. It could be tongue-in-cheek, the kind of thing you’d expect from Sub Pop.
Nothing: The Incredible Sulk. Emma Johnston on new releases from Nothing, The Joy Formidable, Future Of The Left, Broncho and Mogwai Nothing: Tired Of Tomorrow There’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned mope as we start heading into the warmer months, and right now, no one is getting their sulk on with quite so much style as Philadelphia’s Nothing, as they prove on their accomplished second album, Tired Of Tomorrow. This, in case you were wondering, is a compliment.
Far from being defined by just their heavy shoegaze style, Nothing is a band that can be more accurately characterised by a propensity for catharsis. Their all-encompassing, fuzzy blanket of sound has, since their early EPs, been a comforting and effective outlet for a lot of highly-charged emotions, for both the band and their listeners. Of course, the main reason this expression feels so genuine is because the band are pooling from an unfortunate and tumultuous past.
The Upshot: The heavy shoegaze Philly band may not be particularly imaginative, but it’s so competent at its craft it’s hard to imagine any fan of the style complaining. Back when shoegaze first started, it wasn’t unusual for a band of that ilk to move from overwhelming sonic overload to shimmering pop majesty. Nothing shows an inclination to follow a similar arc on Tired of Tomorrow.
Nothing's frontman, Domenic Palermo, has had a rough life. Over a decade ago, he served two years for aggravated assault (pleading self-defence), which eventually became a major inspiration for the Philadelphia band's 2014 debut, Guilty Of Everything. Eight months into their 2015 tour, he was mugged and left with a fractured skull and orbital, and needed 19 stitches.