The Big Chill

Posted November 4, 2010 in Music

The first chance fans can hear Cold War Kids’ much anticipated upcoming release Mine is Yours is tomorrow at the Glass House. The album hits stores Jan. 24. Score one for the IE.


 Known for their raw sound and energetic live shows, the self-proclaimed soul punksters never fail to get a witness as they spread their gospel. But now they’re ready to put on the production ritz. The songs on their third full-length will likely make the Long Beach/Silver Lake-based band arena-filling rock stars thanks to the pop polish of new producer Jacquire King.


After their debut full-length release Robbers & Cowards turned the band into a critically-praised indie rock outfit, they followed with the less autobiographical, more-literary leaning Loyalty to Loyalty.


 The album didn’t galvanize rock snobs the way the first did—although the lyric “I tried to call you collect/You said you would not accept/Your friends are laughing because nobody uses pay phones” and Matt Maust’s bumping bass line made the album’s “Something is Not Right With Me” a searing rocker.


The Kids looked to King (Modest Mouse, Kings of Leon, Tom Waits) based on his success rate with bands they know and like. They spent more time in the studio than ever before, giving up their less-is-more mentality for the next step toward superstardom.


For the next few months before the marketing blitz begins the band plays some smaller venues to kick into gear.


“It’s kind of a big field trip,” says front man Nathan Willett. “It’s a fun adventure.”


Other stops, like the kitschy Pioneertown haunt Pappy & Harriett’s on Saturday, provide a much-needed break from monotony.


“People forget how monotonous it can be for musicians to just be in another big city that looks like the big city you were in the day before,” Willett says.


The intimate venues are perfect for Willett to warm to baring his soul again. Songs like “Hang Me Up to Dry” and “We Used to Vacation” from Robbers tugged at heartstrings, exposing their author’s inner struggles. The band exploded from small stages like Costa Mesa’s strip-mall small Detroit Bar to the main stage at Coachella within a couple of years.


“With the first record, Robbers, there was a sense in which the lyrics scared me a little bit that what they were revealing, autobiographical,” Willett says. “Then with Loyalty, I didn’t really want to do that, I wanted to do something more abstract and something that was more about the beauty not the thing that really shook me up about it.”


After spending a year on the road singing about someone else’s emotions, Willett realized exposing his inner workings was worth the risk. I missed the connection to the songs,” Willett says.


Willett took to heart Dave Eggers’ message in his novel A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. The book boasts the importance of having no secrets and the value of complete honesty to stop the weight of others’ expectations to keep secrets.


“I think there is something to that,” Willett says. “I love the idea of the element of songwriting or any artistic expression having the ability to make you free in telling a story.”


Willett dug into his current relationship, talking about love, commitment, contentment, f*@king up—“I swing at you with words much sharper than swords,” he sings in “Upside Down,” just to give a taste of what’s ahead.


“Knowing that we are going to tour a record for a year, I want it to be about something that I really do connect with and that really is about me,” Willett says.


So are the kids alright, are they the same Cold War Kids we know and love?


“All that being said, we are still so far from bands like TV on Radio, a band that is truly meticulous in the studio,” Willett says. “We are still very much more on the Black Keys side of things where it’s a lot more raw and not so planned out.”


Cold War Kids w/We Barbarians at The Glass House, 200 W. 2nd St., Pomona, (909) 865-3802;, Fri, Nov. 5. 8PM. $20; and at Pappy & Harriet’s Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Rd., Pioneertown, (760) 365-5956; Sat, Nov. 6. 6PM. All ages.


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