With as many physical, mental and spiritual griefs as Domenic Palermo has been through, music and his band Nothing remain an incessant driving force. Growing up in North Philadelphia, Palermo delved into the city’s hardcore scene and in the early 2000’s formed punk/hardcore act Horror Show, receiving their first signing on Jacob Bannon of Converge’s label Deathwish. Shifting gears towards a darker, shoegaze sound, Nothing came to life in 2010 with their self-released Poshlost demo (its title borrowed from the Russian term for intensely felt spiritual absurdity) followed by 2012’s Downward Years to Come before signing onto Relapse Records for their last three studio albums. Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Brandon Setta, drummer Kyle Kimball and recently added bassist Aaron Heard, the quartet’s output of critical and conscious work seems to fuse in the shadows of suffering; their acclaimed debut record, Guilty of Everything, remains heavily laden with Palermo’s charge and two year prison sentence for aggravated assault and the remorse that binds, followed by 2016’s Tired of Tomorrow in wake of a violent mugging and attack on Palermo after a Nothing concert at the Oakland Metro. Diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy due to severe head injuries, prolonged hospital stays and rehabilitation remained a necessity with Palermo’s permanent brain damage bearing uncertainty to the prognosis for which there is no cure or treatment. Last month’s release for their full length Dance on the Blacktop is a reference to to a term for a prison fight, mirroring themes of conflict and the inanity of life while interweaving a rousing message of perseverance throughout. Featuring New York writer Chelsea Hodson on the cover art wearing a blank white mask, their imagery provokes both obscurity and distinctiveness, their music simultaneously embracing distorted guitars and brash noise with melodic and tranquil beauty.
Taking solace in music while he was in prison, Palermo envisions helping out his old neighborhood and the city at large in a multitude of ways with Nothing. Donating profits towards New Alternatives, a NYC organization providing support services for homeless LGBT youth, and Wigs for Kids, a childhood cancer nonprofit, he’ll be launching Belly of the Beats which takes place on Saturday, October 6th at Union Transfer in PA. Serving as a non-profit and fundraiser for the Pennsylvania Prison Society, their ultimate goal is to help create a more humane justice system as well as improving the lives of people affected by it. You can RSVP to their benefit show here, with additional sets from Swirlies, Big Bite and Smut. The lineup is currently on tour in North America, with Nothing also having a month run of dates in Europe to follow in November and December. You can catch them tonight in Austin at Mohawk and be sure to follow us on Instagram at @anonmag as the band takes over our account, catching sights from the road and their show.
Trish Connelly is an Austin TX based booker & promoter at Cheer Up Charlies, writer & editor at ANON Magazine with a burgeoning record label under The Nothing Song. She’s always down to collaborate and press play on new tunes. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.