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Album Review

Nothing – ‘The Great Dismal’ [Album Review]



There are times at the crossroads of life when an act pops out of nowhere and is the living concept of what you’re going through and about to witness. Bands like Nothing set the mood for a relationship, a breakup, a death, or childbirth, and life is as unexpected as is the music that accompanies these moments.

Instead of relying on my instincts to what I would call a phenomenon, I simply called a few record stores around the Southwest to find out their understanding of a band called Nothing. Please keep in mind The Great Dismal is the perfect soundtrack to every indie store in the western part of America. Erica from Phoenix said, “I asked a few people around the store who are really into music, and they know nothing about that band.” Josh, also from Phoenix, said, “I like them, I’ve heard of them and seen them open for AFI. They’re kinda shoegazer, but I do like them.” Taylor chimed in from Las Vegas, stating, “I know they’re a band that I enjoy, and the bassist and guitarist are in a band called Jesus Peace,” and, finally, Elli from Los Angeles sadly reported, “Unfortunately, none of my associates are familiar with that band.”

Few people seem to know who Nothing is, which amazes me; it’s like a secret I’ll only divvy up at my disclosure. I wouldn’t call it shoegaze, as much as I would call it atmospheric or ambient not unlike The Smashing Pumpkins meets an Oasis daydream. Pink Floyd, Dead Can Dance, The Smiths, and Ministry are a few others that come to mind and trigger illuminating thoughts.

The Great Dismal is a downtrodden black hole sweeping you into an interplanetary kaleidoscope with outlets that spin you in any direction your subconscious might want to go. Nearly admission free, this carousel dream-ride is welcomed only by you with no permission given to outside world hallucinations. “Catch a Fade” is straight-up ‘50s sock hop with James Dean driving around blasting Weezer, which unavoidably tailgates “Famine Asylum,” a Smashing Pumpkins catch-22. “Bernie Sanders” is a sure-fire hit, but after a few teaspoons of Tiamat’s Wildhoney, “Blue Mecca” helps the medicine go down with its Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face” vs Pink Floyd’s “Fearless” heavyweight championship fight.

This isn’t a soundtrack to experience by yourself as you drive off into the sunset. I would slide this on towards the end of the evening to let a lady know exactly how you feel and see if she be vibing the same way too. After some soul searching, spend the evening together, and sleep on it with Nothing as your astral guide. This should be one of the greatest things you’ve heard in decades. But checking in with Robert from an independent record store in LA, he had this to add before last call: “Nothing? I don’t know anything myself.”

Sigh. Everyone inhale and just breathe. Shhhhhh…

The Great Dismal Track Listing:

1. A Fabricated Life
2. Say Less
3. April Ha Ha
4. Catch a Fade
5. Famine Asylum
6. Bernie Sanders
7. In Blueberry Memories
8. Blue Mecca
9. Just a Story
10. Ask The Rust

Run Time: 39:02
Release Date: October 30, 2020
Record Label: Relapse Records

I was born in the late 60's amongst hippies and bikers. Cut my teeth on 70's rock and roll surrounded by motorheads and potheads, and in the 80's spread my wings and flourished as a guitarist. In the 90's I became a semi-professional musician knocking on death metals door, as well as entering the world as a freelance writer. In the 2000's I moved to Hollywood and watched the music industry crumble in front of my dreams and then took a break. Now, in the early 2020s I'm ready to rock again… or swing, blues, bluegrass, country, jazz, classical, etc. Its not so much a job to me anymore, but a great way to express myself and have a good time, and, "I know, its only rock and roll but I like it".