Cold War Kids
Cold War Kids formed in Fullerton, CA, but relocated to Long Beach before recording demos in L.A. and embarking on a heavy tour schedule. Three EPs and an appearance at the '06 edition of SXSW got them signed to Downtown Records.
From Cold War Kids' '06 full-length debut, "Robbers & Cowards," the song "Hang Me Up To Dry" earned them radio and MTV play.
The group contributed "Electioneering" to '07's "OKX," a tribute celebrating the tenth anniversary of Radiohead's epic "OK Computer. "'OK Computer' is the single most important album to be released during my youth andů it was a rite of passage," said Nathan Willett. "That really is the truth and I have never had an emotional connection with an album quite like I have with this one."
As for why the band chose "Electioneering," Willett felt it was "OK Computer's" most "badass track." "It's lyrically everything we want to do - bursts of concrete imagery."
In December, Cold War Kids entered the studio to record their sophomore album "Loyalty To Loyalty" which hit nine months later. The set peaked at a respectable #21 on the Billboard 200. The group spent '08 and '09 on the road, including a jaunt with Death Cab For Cutie.
Session conducted between tours resulted in the "Behave Yourself." "The EP is the final reminder of the good old days of quick and fun, minimal Cold War Kids recording," said Willett. The EP preceded the full-length "Mine Is Yours," which was produced by Jacquire King, a Kings Of Leon vet ('10's "Come Around Sundown").
"Dear Miss Lonelyhearts," was Cold War Kids fourth album. The '13 set was recorded in California with producer Lars Stalfors (The Mars Volta) and marked the first release to feature former Modest Mouse member Dann Gallucci, who replaced the Jonathan Russell earlier in the year.
2006 Robbers & Cowards
2008 Loyalty To Loyalty
2011 Mine Is Yours
2013 Dear Miss Lonelyhearts
Cold War Kids project nagging angst that is off-set by self-absorption. They are at their best when slightly off kilter, employing angular rhythms and Willett's fervent vocals (with occasional yelps).
As on "Hang Me Up To Dry," Cold War Kids' songs have a quirky nature to them. Not everything is where it should be but where it is works. This is a group that warrants repeated listens because the first go round will often seem odd and disjointed. A couple more listens and it starts making sense in a charmingly offbeat way.
The group's askew rhythms and Willet's frantic, loose limbed vocals are in abundance on "Loyalty To Loyalty. When they hit the mark as on "Something Is Not Right With Me," with its pulsating '60s guitar and insistent drums, it can be awesome. The throbbing "Mexican Dogs" dishing classic Rock riffs is another draw.
Cold War Kids employ a nostalgic shuffle on "Golden Gate Jumpers." They pull it off while giving voice to one of the most basic human dilemmas, "scared to jump, terrified to stay." The Beat poet wailing on the set opener "Against Privacy" is OK but the dirge-like "Avalanche In B" is not. "I've Seen Enough" and the compressed "Welcome To My Occupation" hold together but many of the remaining tracks simply unravel before reaching a conclusion.
Cold War Kids have been called Soul-Rock but on "Mine Is Yours" they're closer to heart-on-your-sleeve Rock. The album generates some drama in a Coldplay way and throughout there are tempo changes and arrangements, some novel, like the tribal sound on the title track, that support the lyric's emotive destinations.
The original Cold War kids came of age in the '50s and '60s. They grew up being told to "duck and cover" under their school desks in the event of an attack. As if the thin metal covering would protect them from a nuclear holocaust. It's analogous to airline attendants suggesting that your seat cushion can be used as a floatation device in the event of a water landing. Sure.
The Cold War (as oppose to a "hot" war with shooting and bombs) was not a happy time. The U.S. and the Soviet Union were locked in a grudge match with click points along the way - the fall of China to communism, the Korean War, the Berlin Wall (and the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe), the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam. Some people buckled under the constant tension. They began living life as if there was no tomorrow - who knew? This feeling played a significant role in the birth and popularity of Rock N' Roll.
By the mid-70s both sides backed away from the brink. Eventually, the Cold War ended - oddly, in rather undramatic fashion. The Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union dissolved. What was left became Russia again.