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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Cold War Kids
Up In Rags
Monarchy Music

Rating: 8/10 ?


August 25, 2006
I would have never guessed that these boys were from California. Two things come to mind when I think of California bands, the first being lazy stoner/spacey rock that takes place on a beach and surrounded in clouds of pot smoke. Second I think of glam-rocking new-wave revivalists who try to throw synthesized keyboards into every song and are desperate to get radio play and free make up.

Cold War Kids fall into neither of those categories, and just how much work and energy they put into their song craftsmanship is readily apparent. From the first time I heard about this band, some eight months ago, to present day, I don't think they've stopped touring. Constantly performing and perfecting their live show, these guys have a strong work ethic, which is why I never would have guessed they were from the LA area. Also, they released two EP's at the same time instead of one album. I'm not sure of the reasoning behind that, except to say that Up In Rags is one of those EPs and it is one strong and catchy mini-album in itself.

I think at least part of Cold War Kids' prowess has a lot to do with the live show they put on; I saw these guys open up for Tapes 'N Tapes a few months ago and they are one heck of a powerful group of gentlemen. They began their set with "Hospital Beds," which begins with one guy at the piano. Slowly the rest of the band brought their instruments on stage and joined in the song. It sounds simple enough, but in the moment it was incredible. From there the band continued through their powerful set. They put hard work into it and they seem to enjoy every minute of it, because it was quite a spectacle, and when I listen through this EP I sense that power every time. These guys are having a good time putting 100% of themselves into their songs and it pays off for the listener.

This EP kicks off with a deep bass and guitar strum that serves as a perfect set up, and those guitar strums clearly signal that something big is about to happen. Soon the drums kick in and the singer begins "Careless in our summer clothes," from "Hang Me Up To Dry," which is a relationship metaphor. It's a simple comparison to make, but the power with which the lyrics are delivered can stop a person in their tracks. "You rung me out too, too, too many times," the vocals insist. It's organic poetry.

My favorite song on this release is a bit of an apology/confession of an alcoholic father titled "We Used To Vacation." The use of shakers in this song really sold it to the top of my most played playlist. Featuring a stand up piano and one of the worst guitar solos ever recorded, this song is perfect in its sloppiness. It feels raw and powerful and it's catchy as hell.

One of the obvious drawbacks to Up In Rags is the closing track, "Pregnant," which has some sort of voice-over answering machine message behind some whistling and acoustic strumming. It's an attempt at prettiness that doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the band's blue-collar wares.

Citing their recent history, I'm sure these four guys will be coming to your town soon. They live on the road, so when they're in your neighborhood do yourself a favor and experience them for yourself first hand. You'll see what a little emotion can do for some damn fine music.

Reviewed by Bob Ladewig
Having been introduced to good music by his sister in the early years, Bob Ladewig has been searching out all the best in indie music ever since. He also rides a skateboard and performs/directs comedy shows and, like all great men, he\'s afraid of really growing up.

See other reviews by Bob Ladewig

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