I recently had the privilege of having the Cold War Kids pummel my ears at the Henry Fonda in L.A. Ray Swift’s groovy stylings gave a nice warm up to the kids, who played (rocked) about half of their set from the new album, Loyalty to Loyalty, and the other half from Robbers & Cowards. Backlit almost the entire time, CWK prowled and gyrated across the stage like silhouettes, but their music had substance–loud, raw, and pleading.
Call me tasteful, but my favorite moments were some of the big hits from Robbers & Cowards–Hospital Beds and St. John. They had almost everyone on their feet, moving. But this was no ordinary nebulous-crowd-bop/mosh-twerk/”stop stepping on me” boogie. Booties shook, hips wiggled, and wrists twisted; people got up and danced.
After the show, I tried to be prophetic and say that Rock n Roll was back, but Popup looked at me and said, “yeah, but it’s the soul that makes it good.” Touché. You can’t listen to Hang Me Out to Dry and tell me these boys don’t have soul. This obvious fact was legitimized when I did some snooping on Stereogum and read that CWK’s work was “relatively twitchy and full of those soul yelps.” A little search on Gorrilavsbear yielded the following: “Frontman Nathan Willett . . . is essentially a soul singer fronting an indie rock band, and I mean that in the best possible way.”
Wow, two indie blogs say it–must be true. After the show we started coming up with other newer artists who had soul, like Delta Spirit, Jamie Lidell, and even the Black Keys. If quiet was the new loud, soul is the new melancholy, and that’s good because I’m ready for a lift.