Download: Cold War Kids “Something Is Not Right With Me”

Download: Cold War Kids “Every Man I Fall For”

(both from Loyalty to Loyalty out now on Downtown)

L.A. RECORD did Cold War Kids‘ very first interview, unfortunately not online and actually in a pretty rare issue. (Vol. 1 No. 13, just after the Grabs, who I believe did the rarest issue of all.) In fact, I think I was the first person to ever write about them in print at O.C. WEEKLY—and even then (as they ate breakfast burritos at 7 at night at Brite Spot) you could tell they would get up to something. They showed up to their photo shoot in full perfect costume—the barometer of competence—and they were all obviously dedicated serious hard-working guys. Four of that type in one band is pretty rare. I’ve written about them quite a bit since. (Bassist and designer Matt Maust was the first artist ever profiled in L.A. RECORD.) I haven’t heard the new album yet but I’m sure they’ll give it a good shake at the Fonda tonight. With them on the sophomore push and Jessica Dobson playing the Hollywood bowl, it’s a nice time for folks from the neighborhood. The condensed Ziegler Coldwarography below, including a review of their secret Prospector show this summer—the first or second time the new Loyalty to Loyalty tracks ever got loose.

The first time I think they were ever in print—a preview/EP review by me in O.C. WEEKLY:

I like a band that can slow a song down, that can clear out room enough for a chord to really glow, that takes a lot of deep breaths between verses. With a bad set of jitters, these songs might turn back to something like Voidoids/Velvet Underground/Modern Lovers/Pere Ubu (“Heavy Boots” is an old-fashioned echo of Pere Ubu’s Modern Dance; by the way, all those bands are just critic code for “great guitar sound, guys!”). But Cold War Kids take these basically percussive post-punk songs and let them ring right out. It’s not folk and it’s definitely not “country-punk,” but there are some real songs here that could have Loudon Wainwright singing or Tom Verlaine (not Dylan—too nice, still), and I wouldn’t know for sure unless I saw them in person and could assess whatever cowboy hats they happened to be wearing.

And here’s the most recent—a review of the Prospector show, which was the best follow-up to Friday karaoke I’ve seen there so far.

Secret ten-minute-warning Cold War Kids show at Prospector for free? Let it be, as the pros used to say: they were just packing up some stuff, said guitarist Jonnie Russell, and they really wanted to play, so karaoke interrupted and Cold War Kids follow “Push It” and “Don’t Fear The Reaper” with a set of all-new songs (from upcoming Loyalty To Loyalty, teased beautifully here and perfunctorily here) plus one Fugazi cover (“Furniture,” delivered ferociously) and one oldie (“Quiet Please”) which was nothing but a wisp of a demo the last time they played Prospector. Trainspotters will want to know: new songs (as not atypical for the wild-west Prospector mix) tonight were uniformly more fierce than the Kids of “Hang Me Up To Dry” or “Hospital Beds.” I was catching less of those instantly inviting choruses that made the peak points on Robbers and Cowards—don’t get grumpy because “Welcome To The Occupation” (introduced by singer and ex-teacher Nate as for “all the teachers”) transferred in that sturdy old charm, as did as another title-unknown that built everything from Jonnie’s gurning organ—and finding instead lyrics and music fit closely together to pursue something sharper and darker. (Will this be the “She’s So Heavy” album?) Nate (who already populates a lot of his songs with protagonists who could get temp roles in Jim Thompson stories) seems like he’s recruiting only the most anti of heroes for new songs like stand-out “Something Is Not Right With Me” and “Every Man I Fall For,” which gives Harry Powell a graveyard shift to go with his knuckle tattoos and (I think?) turns it into a love story. I’ve been very curious about the second album from this band ever since we talked just after their White Stripes tour got cancelled. I wouldn’t want to make a clinical assessment based on cheerful Prospector wildness for a crowd sometimes wondering why none of these songs had lyrics on the TV screen—though I heard at least one comment to the effect of who-that-they’re-good!—but tonight did not sound at all like more of the same, which is something I am heartened to hear.


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