Thursday, April 4, 2013

What We’re Listening To: Cold War Kids Edition

By The Music Maven aka Tillie Elvrum

So, last Tuesday I found out that Cold War Kids had released a very limited amount, 500 to be exact, of their new album Dear Miss Lonelyhearts.   I got on the phone to see if my favorite local record store, Independent Records, had a copy.  I knew my chances were slim, and when I called the person on the other end of the line didn’t sound like they knew what I was talking about, but she went to check and she said “we have one copy.”  I told her I was on my way and 15 minutes later I had this lovely piece of vinyl in my greedy little hands:
And, yes, I went right home, tore it open, and put that record on the turntable.  I know the collectors out there must be mortified, but vinyl is meant to be played, not sit in plastic for eternity.

From the very opening notes of Miracle Mile, the first song and first single off DMLH, I knew that Cold War Kids hadn’t lost anything since 2011’s Mine Is Yours.  If you were one of those people that thought Mine Is Yours was a huge departure for Cold War Kids (I wasn’t one of them – and love what they did with Jacquire King) you’ll be happy to know that CWK is back in familiar territory, but definitely not tired or formulaic territory.   
Stand outs:  The whole freakin’ album – it’s a complete package.  But if you’re looking for a few tracks as an introduction here are my suggestions:  Jailbirds, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, Bottled Affection, Fear and Trembling, Lost That Easy, Miracle Mile

After a week of listening to DMLH, I had the pleasure of seeing Cold War Kids open their tour last night in Denver at the Gothic Theater.  I was psyched for this show because Cold War Kids are so good live, but I was also excited to be taking J.D. aka The Gamer Geek to his first CWK show – maybe now he would understand why this band has such a special place in my heart.

We got to the Gothic EARLY…like we were the only people in line for hours, no one else showed up ‘til after 5 p.m.  We passed the time working on schoolwork and had a nice conversation with Cold War Kids’ bus driver…their bus broke down during the night, he had to do the repairs himself, and he was waiting for a taxi to get him to the hotel for some much needed rest.  He was a cool dude, who loved his job, and loves driving these guys all over the country.  All the while, the band was in and out of the venue, we would see them, they would see us – and I’m sure they thought we were crazy.
It was show time.  The electro-pop duo Houses opened.  Normally, when I see more than one Mac computer onstage I get a little twitchy -- but with the addition of a drummer and a guitarist that played the hell out of his Gibson -- all was well.  Their album A Quiet Darkness is due out on April 16th – will be checking that out for sure.
Finally, Cold War Kids took the stage…it had been way too long since my last CWK show.  There was a lot of anticipation for me…I’d heard a lot of the new material they’d be playing online, but what else would they play?  Here’s the setlist – up until the encore.  Yeah, they wing the encore, unlike another band I know and love *cough*U2*cough*.
We were in for an almost two hour collision course with greatness.  Last year Cold War Kids and their longtime guitarist Jonnie Russell parted ways, and Dann Gallucci, formerly of Modest Mouse, took the helm at guitar.  Gallucci isn’t just a replacement for Jonnie – he has helped retain that unique CWK style, but he’s also left his mark on this album and to see how perfectly he meshed on stage with the rest of the band was joyful.  

So, I could write about this band, this album, this show forever…not enough words to explain how much this band touches my little music heart…lyrically, their music that’s altogether quirky and bluesy, they just speak to me on so many levels.  I’m so glad I finally got to share my Cold War Kids love with J.D., my number one concert partner.  And I just have to put this out into the universe…even though Matt Maust will never read this…THANK YOU.  He saw us in line and J.D. tweeted that he was the “one man line.” At the end of the show, Matt Maust walked out onto stage with a little paper package filled with postcard images of his artwork.  I knew right away what was in the package, because I have two of those packages myself.  He walked right over to J.D. and gave the package to him, and then Mister Mauster proceeded to give J.D. a big ol’ kiss on top of the head.  At that moment J.D. became the most popular person in the Gothic – everyone wanted to know what was in the package and why J.D. was the “chosen” one?  Why…I don’t really know…but I like to think that the bands that we love so much and in all their "stardom” really do appreciate their fans that will stand in a queue all day just to feel that much closer to the music they love.  My wish for all of you is to have just one moment like that in your music lives…a special band, a special moment, a lifetime of memories.

Cold War Kids:  Nathan Willett, Matt Maust, Matt Aveiro, and Dann Galluccii


Music Worth Nerding Out Over!

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