Cold War Kids means International Blues. We began in August '04 with friends, jangly guitar, hand claps, and a Harmony amp in a storage room atop Mulberry Street restaurant in downtown Fullerton, CA. For the first practices, having instruments was secondary to
stomping and chanting; Clanging on heat pipes, thumping on plywood walls. Hollering into tape recorders. Slipping and swaying into alleyways and juke joints of yesteryear. Tapping in to the American dustbowl and British maritime. On the restaurants roof the sound and feeling was cultivated and burned, built and hallowed out, painted and stripped to the primer.
Almost three years have passed and we haven't let up since the starting gun fired. The album "Robbers & Cowards" was released in the US in October '06 on Downtown and the rest of the world in February '07 on V2. 'Why even have apartments?' We often ask ourselves as we have toured with the vim of a family reunion brawl across the US, UK, Europe, Australia and Japan.
Cold War Kids strive to make honest songs about human experience in orchards and hotel rooms, laundromats and churches, sea ports and school halls. We love the songs of Dylan, Nina Simone, and the Velvet Underground and make our own, which we like to think, are pretty original.
Cold War Kids started in 2004 in historic downtown Fullerton in guitarist/vocalist Jonnie Russell’s apartment above the restaurant Mulberry St. (their first EP title) The band relocated to Whittier, California and began recording their first demos, which ultimately became known as the Mulberry Street EP; released in the spring of 2005. In between self planned tours, the band released two more EPs, With Our Wallets Full and Up in Rags in 2006. These two EPs ultimately led to the overwhelming attention amongst the blogging community, which in turn was the cause of their rapid growth as a band. In the summer of 2006, Cold War Kids signed to Downtown Records (home to Gnarls Barkley, Art Brut) and released their debut LP Robbers & Cowards that fall.
After two years of non-stop touring around the world, and relocation to Long Beach, California. Cold War Kids went back into the studio spring of 2008 with the producer of their first record Kevin Augunas. Nathan described the record making process, “Throughout the record making process we would write songs in our own little practice studio then we’d go into the studio for like two days and record three or four songs, then go back into our own practice studio for like a few weeks. So really it was over the span of four months or something. Actual studio days probably like 15 days. We don’t love being in a studio; we focus more on the writing.”
Loyalty to Loyalty was a bit of a departure from their debut. There is a lot of the same kind of narrative storytelling, as well political and philosophical references. In the same Blackbook Magazine article, Nathan described the record as “Being a little darker then the first. The title, “Loyalty to Loyalty,” comes from the philosopher Josiah Royce. He was basically saying that people really need to live in community with each other, and he was reacting to Nietzsche who came before him, saying people need to rise above—you need to be the strongest individual you can and rise above the masses. But this guy Josiah Royce is saying that you need to not rise above the masses, that you need to embrace your community. His paper was called “Loyalty to Loyalty.”
The band spent the end of 2008 and most of 2009 on the road touring the record, highlighted by a national tour with Death Cab for Cutie. In between touring, the band went back into the studio to record what would become the Behave Yourself. Willett descrbes the album, “These 4 songs were recorded sometime between “Loyalty” sessions and now. They didn’t belong there but they kept hanging around, starting trouble, made friends and insisted their story be heard.” Like their most recent releases, Behave Yourself was released on Downtown Records.
The band will be going back into the studio in February of 2010. Nathan speaking to Filter Magazine, “Album three is in the works now. We are working with a producer named Jacquire King. He has a sweet and eclectic roster of Modest Mouse, the last Norah Jones record, Tom Waits’ Mule Variations, the last Kings of Leon record…So, he is going to work miracles with us. All of our music has always been written entirely by us without any influence, so to have him step in and help us with the direction is tremendous. I was just watching the Wilco Documentary again and I think that in many ways Wilco is to country/Americana as Cold War Kids is to soul/punk. We are taking what we do to the next level on this record. The EP is the final reminder of the good old days of quick and fun, minimal Cold War Kids recording.”