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Cold War Kids

Cold War Kids Announce 'L.A. Divine' LP, Drop New Single "Love Is Mystical"

Music News, New MusicWeston PaganoComment

Los Angeles-based rockers Cold War Kids have never been shy about their affinity for their city, and now they'll have a whole album to prove it. The band's 6th record L.A. Divine is due out April 7 (an already crowded date that also includes Father John Misty and Future Islands releases), their first on Capitol Records.

The announcement comes with soulful lead single "Love Is Mystical," a floral love anthem complete with a Phillip Lopez-directed visual shot in, where else, downtown LA. Featuring kissing couples of all kinds set to a strong piano drive, the track is well-timed for a Valentine's Day in relatively dark times.

See the single artwork, tour dates, and listen below.

On First Solo Album, 'Use Your Delusion,' Man Man's Honus Honus Does Just That

Music ReviewWeston PaganoComment

Until Use Your Delusion, Man Man and Mister Heavenly maverick Honus Honus’ debut solo release, there had never before been a record you could fund in part with the purchase of a $666 denim vest and a disposable camera full of images of faked deaths. But, then again, there has never before been an artist with quite the same bizarro charm as Honus, either.

Despite flying solo, Honus (née Ryan Kattner) is backed by quite the supporting cast: Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, The Shins, Cold War Kids, Mister Heavenly) pilots the percussion, King Cyrus King (Super Deluxe) contributes production and guitar, Dann Gallucci (Modest Mouse, The Murder City Devils, Cold War Kids) handles mixing, comedian Jon Daly is on sax, and even polymath Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Got a Girl, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, 10 Cloverfield Lane) and Shannon Shaw (Shannon and the Clams) feature.

Still, it’s clear the self-released Use Your Delusion is a cathartic release of the chaotic menagerie stirring in its creator’s wildly whiskered head, loosened by the freedom of truly setting out on one’s own. It’s not easy to match the dynamic eclection of his Man Man discography, but Honus damn near tops it in half an hour. For example, the accessible pop of ”Heavy Jesus" leans more On Oni Pond, “Will You?”’s soothing piano is very Rabbit Habits, and the "sour milk and cocaine" death metal freak of ”Red Velvet" might feel most at home writhing on Six Demon Bag. But Honus explores brand new territory as well with the nearly David Gilmour-worthy guitar solo of “Santa Monica” and the surprise amusement of what can be likened to Eric Idle-esque pomp on album closer “Empty Bottle.”

Having moved his dystopian sound to the west coast, the “apocalyptic LA pop” vibe rings clearest through the surfy tones in the nimble guitar work most notably on single “Oh No!”. Set to lines like “Happiness is just an accident wearing different clothes,” it’s an artfully classic example of sad sentiments stuck in a sunny song. “Your heart is bubble-wrapped in permanent depression,” he coos too a deft touch of sax and an almost reggae pulse resulting in a deceptively delightful package. “Will You?” in turn matches its “Rabbit Habits” keys to the sunlit savagery of a suicide prolonged awaiting love with a paradoxical knowingness few could pull off with sincerity.

First single, “Heavy Jesus,” is similarly bouncy, but replaces the angst with heretic hilarity. They say God works in mysterious ways, but Jesus himself appearing to an unwilling heavy metal disciple via a late night quesadilla is certainly a new one. Use Your Delusion would lend itself well to a similar marketing campaign; It’s not hard to imagine midnight taco trucks blaring this album like an ice cream truck jingle gone rogue.

On “Midnight Caller” Honus claims, “I don’t see any point in honesty / ‘Cause honestly, it’s the worst / And honestly, honesty can take a long walk off a short pier,” with wordplay reminiscent of “Van Helsing Boombox.” Yet Use Your Delusion, nor any other song he’s ever sung, rings hollow or faked, even at his most maniacal. The word “carnivalesque” gets thrown around a lot when describing Honus’ repertoire, but endearingly that’s just what it often is. Honus howls, trapped in a house of mirrors that beautifully distorts the fits and visions of his genius. The alien bearded lady won’t stop screaming.

When Honus first spoke about the then-unannounced LP in an interview we did last year, he told us much of Use Your Delusion would be increasingly gentle on the vocal cords for a couple of reasons; One, Honus was shredding his pipes singing his older material and needed to tone it down in the interest of sustainability, and two, he sang more quietly in his LA practice space out of discomfort with an FKA Twigs knockoff and Bruce Springsteen cover band flanking him through either wall. I like to imagine somewhere they’re giving interviews about the shock of hearing “Red Velvet” from the other room.

Read our full in-depth interview with Honus Honus about Use Your Delusion, Man Man, Mister Heavenly and more, here. Buy Use Your Delusion here.

Transverso's 2015 Lollapalooza Playlist

Music ListTransverso MediaComment

With Lollapalooza looming large we've compiled the 30 best tracks from the best artists you can expect to see at the festival this year. With artists from Paul McCartney to Shakey Graves, Chicago's Grant Park is the place to be this weekend, and you can prepare yourself by clicking play below or on our Spotify profile!

Relive Bonnaroo with our two playlists for that festival, take the "Music Festival Name or Type Illness Quiz" on Buzzfeed here, and if that's not enough, you can always turn on our 2015 Summer Playlist.

Cold War Kids Show No Sign of Slowing Down on 'Five Quick Cuts'

Music ReviewWeston PaganoComment

Cold War Kids frontman Nathan Willett's transition from writing the character-driven narratives of his earlier works, such as the band's magnum opus Robbers & Cowards, to more exposed, personal lyrics was completed long before their most recent LP Hold My Home was released last year, yet Five Quick Cuts, a collection of songs left off of that album, finds Willett reaching a new level of introspection.

Grappling with the urge to pause and reset in the opening track "Stop / Rewind," Willett finds himself pushing forward regardless in "One Song At A Time" a short four minutes later. With lines like "Oh, when I began / What a dream to entertain / How do I sustain / While my heart is on display," the LA native is not just looking inward more than ever, but also becoming increasingly literal and honest over time. 

Sonically, the almost robotic pots and pans percussion of the former and frenetic "We Didn't Start The Fire" vibe of the latter show the Kids at their most manic and playful as well. They impatiently launch into soaring choruses sooner and more often, such as in "Thunderhearts," possibly the best and most radio-ready of the bunch, and only take a breather in the sleepy, marching drums of the "Portuguese Bend" interlude.

Make no mistake, though, the chaos is still tightly controlled. The uninhibited and wild "da da da das" of the past are still firmly replaced by neatly aligned "hey hey heys," furthering the trajectory of Cold War Kids' discography as a bit of an odd paradox: as they loosen up and abandon their severity for light-heartedness, they simultaneously clean up their much-adored rawness with polish.

In any case, the pace has picked up in more ways than one as Willett has found a productive stride. Having barely taken his finger off the pulse with three LPs (including his side-project French Style Furs) and two EPs in only three years, he seems to contradict himself in "Amazing" when he warns "This is a marathon not a sprint." 

One thing's for sure, Cold War Kids show no signs of slowing down, even if it takes one of their own motivational speeches to carry on.

Originally released as a vinyl-only Record Store Day exclusiveFive Quick Cuts is now available online as well.

Cold War Kids Release New Music Video for "One Song At A Time," New Tour Dates, Put 'Five Quick Cuts' EP Online

Music News, New MusicWeston PaganoComment

Cold War Kids' special Record Store Day release Five Quick Cuts, a compilation of tracks left off of the band's 2014 LP Hold My Home, is now available outside of its originally exclusive vinyl format on iTunes and Spotify, which you can stream below.

One of these five quick cuts, "One Song At A Time," has also been given a frenetically kaleidoscopic music video in which frontman Nathan Willett belts out the vocals while miming every instrument as a one man show.  

Check out the entire EP and full set of tour dates below.

Cold War Kids Tour:

07/17 – Louisville, KY @ Forecast Festival
07/24 – Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall
07/30 – Chicago, IL @ Park West
07/31 – Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza
08/07 – San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands
08/15 – Los Angeles, CA @ Annenberg Space for Photography
08/22 – Wantagh, NY @ Billboard Hot 100 Festival
08/28-30 – Denver, CO @ Riot Fest Denver
09/12 – Sterling Heights MI @ Freedom Hill Amphitheatre
09/13 – Sterling Heights, MI @ Chill On The Hill @ Freedom Hill Amphitheatre
09/18-20 – Clayton, GA @ Campfest @Camp BlueRidge
09/24 – Tempe, AZ @ Summer Ends Music Festival
10/17 – Reno, NV @ Retrac East
10/23 – New Haven, CT @ Toad’s Place 
10/24 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
10/25 – Washington DC @ 9:30 Club
10/28 – Philadelphia, PA @ Fillmore
10/28 – Boston, MA @– House of Blues

Members of The Shins, Cold War Kids, and Tijuana Panthers Form New Supergroup, Coromandelles

Music News, New MusicWeston PaganoComment
Photo by Sean Flynn

Photo by Sean Flynn

Meet the newest supergroup on the scene, Coromandelles, a self-described "faux-French contemporary punk" trio fronted by Tijuana Panthers' Daniel Michicoff with Cold War Kids members Matt Maust (his second side-project in barely a year, after French Style Furs) and Joe Plummer on bass/artwork and drums, respectively. (Plummer, who also plays the role of engineer for the group, has apparently started a quest to become a member of every band ever after his eight-year stint with Modest Mouse ended in 2012, and is also a member of The Shins and yet another supergroup, Mister Heavenly.)

Their debut album Late Bloomers' Bloomers will be released October 20 on vinyl via Porch Party Records and tape cassette via Burger Records, and has been mixed by Plummer's Shins bandmate Yukki Matthews. According to a press release, the album "is about finding the enjoyment in being derailed [and] rolls through moments of anxiety, doubt, and hope." Oddly enough, the lyrics are also largely in French.

Only an incredibly brief teaser has been released officially, though a twitter exchange between Michikcoff and comedian Cameron Esposito last December reveals the first track, "Cameronrhea" (or "Cameronria," depending where you look), was written about Esposito and her fiancee Rhea Butcher, and links to a playlist on Michicoff's Soundcloud page that appears to contain all 10 tracks plus an 11th non-album track, "Précision." Check them both out, along with the official album artwork and tracklist, below.

Late Bloomers' Bloomers

  1. Cameronria – 4:07
  2. New Ordain – 2:30
  3. The Project – 3:39
  4. Mon Chemin – 4:25
  5. Jaq – 4:09
  6. Late Bloomers – 2:06
  7. Bumble Bee – 3:20
  8. Le Revev – 3:30
  9. End Of Mad Men – 3:58
  10. Seaudeaux – 4:32

Cold War Kids Are in a Giving Mood: Announce New Album & Tour, Drop Single "All This Could Be Yours"

New Music, Music NewsWeston PaganoComment

It seems Cold War Kids are in a giving mood; not even a month after frontman Nathan Willett and bassist Matt Maust released Is Exotic Bait, the debut album from their side-project French Style Furs, the Kids have revealed new single “All This Could Be Yours” to the world along with the announcement of new tour dates and an as-of-yet unnamed LP on Downtown Records this October.

The forthcoming record will be a surprisingly early addition to what has been a period of high productivity for the LA artists, with the full band’s last LP, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, coming out only little over a year ago, followed by the EP Tuxedos last fall, and one-off single “A Million Eyes” in March.

The new album will be Cold War Kids’ fifth overall, but the first with what appears to be a new lineup following reports that drummer Matthew Aviero has been replaced by Joe Plummer, who, along with guitarist Dann Gallucci, is best known for his tenure with indie rock classics Modest Mouse, in addition to work with The Shins, Mister Heavenly, and more.

The single itself kicks off with a piano riff just as last summer’s “Miracle Mile” did, followed by Willett’s signature vocals at their most piercing and a marching pulse of percussion from Plummer. A catchy track, “All This” further pushes the boundary of anthemic pop-ness for the band, leaving fans to wonder just would could be theirs come October.

Tour Dates:

07/20 – Chicago, IL @ Rock N Roll Half Marathon
07/26 – Tulsa, OK @ The Center Of The Universe
08/29-31 – Columbus, OH @ Fashion Meets Music Festival
10/20 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
10/24 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
10/25 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
11/18 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
11/19 – Solona Beach, CA @ Belly Up Tavern
11/22 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst

Originally published on The Music Ninja

You Are Going to Be Pleasantly Surprised by This: French Style Furs' Debut 'Is Exotic Bait'

Music ReviewWeston PaganoComment

“You are going to be pleasantly surprised by this,” seduces Nathan Willett in the opening line of “Miami U R About 2 B Surprised,” and he couldn’t have been more right.

It was indeed quite a surprise when it was announced that the Cold War Kids frontman and bandmate Matt Maust were teaming up with We Barbarians drummer Nathan Warkentin (with Haley Dekle of Dirty Projectors featuring as well) to form side-project turned supergroup French Style Furs, and now it’s finally here, with the trio releasing their debut LP Is Exotic Bait on Frenchkiss Records today.

Named after a storefront in Brooklyn and cultivated in spontaneity, French Style Furs is abstract and pulsing with the kind of creative urgency that comes with writing and recording in between shows, with Willett’s signature howls, barks, and wails giving restless life to lyrics inspired by Trappist monk and mystic Thomas Merton’s poetry.

Opening with the quasi-autobiographical “3 Friends,” Is Exotic Bait exudes this vivacity, confidently declaring “Damn it / We are here” after chronicling the musicians’ decision to “Live together and know nothing of it,” with “No plans / No benefits,” and asking “Could we just fly in space / And forget to exist?” If that isn’t the description of playing in a band then I don’t know what is.

Taking the dance-inspiring synth vibes explored in Cold War Kids’ last album Dear Miss Lonelyhearts and running with them, Willett and co. get downright frantic in “All The Way Down,” before transitioning into the fuzzy, vaguely U2-esque riffs of “(World In My) Bloodstream.”

Standout track “Solitary Life” opens with one of the best bass grooves of Maust’s discography so far (you can almost see him jerkily swaying on stage as you hear it) before swinging horns, Dekle’s vocalizations, and even some cowbell are layered on.

Produced by Nick Launay, whose past projects include Nick Cave (one of the Cold War Kids duo’s main influences) and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Is Exotic Bait is steeped in the brooding of the former and the sharpness of the latter; “Miami” and “Turn or Burn” display some of the darkest and deepest vocals ever recorded by Willett, while the beat and pulse of “Christmas Card” could just as easily be filled with Karen O’s shrieks and shouts.

Complete with another beautiful specimen of cover art from Maust, Is Exotic Bait is good on its promise of being one of this year’s most pleasant surprises. Oh, and only Willett could write a song called “Ambassadors Of General Electric” and make it sexy as hell. Check it out in its full glory below:

Originally published on The Music Ninja

Members of Cold War Kids and We Barbarians Form New Side-Project, French Style Furs

Music News, New MusicWeston PaganoComment
french style furs press photo.jpeg

The newest addition to the long list of supergroup side-projects forming in recent years is here: LA-based French Style Furs, made up of Nathan Willett and Matt Maust of Cold War Kids and We Barbarians’ Nathan Warkentin, has announced Is Exotic Bait, a debut LP due out July 8th via Frenchkiss Records.

Named after a storefront in Brooklyn and cultivated in spontaneity, French Style Furs pulses with the kind of creative urgency that comes with writing and recording in between shows, with Willett’s signature howls, barks, and wails giving restless life to lyrics inspired by Trappist monk and mystic Thomas Merton’s poetry.

As he does with Cold War Kids, Maust doubles as graphic designer and videographer, and has created a moving collage lyric video for ‘Solitary Life.’ The track itself opens with a bass groove of his (you can almost see him jerkily swaying on stage as you hear it) before swinging horns, Haley Dekle (Dirty Projectors) vocalizations, and even some cowbell are layered on. Check out the three singles available already and the current tour dates below.

Tour Dates:

6/2 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite
6/9 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite
6/16 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite
6/23 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite
7/7 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
7/9 – New York, NY @ Rough Trade

Originally published on The Music Ninja.

The 7 Best Songs Over 7 Minutes Long From the Last 7 Years

Music ListWeston PaganoComment

Ever since John Lennon decided to add a few minutes of “Na Na Na’s” to the end of what would become the timeless hit “Hey Jude” purely to piss off the radio stations with strict three or four minute run-time limitations, artists everywhere have experimented with song length, often to brilliant results. While many “Best of” lists of this nature have been compiled before, they contain almost exclusively classic rock tracks such as “Free Bird” and Pink Floyd; looking amidst our own generation I give you the seven best songs over seven minutes long from the last seven years in chronological order. Compound songs (hidden tracks and such) were not considered.

Peter Bjorn and John / Up Against The Wall

Writer’s Block (2006)


Delightful Swedish trio Peter Bjorn and John claim to be Abba’s illegitimate sons. While that may be ridiculous, they do have a legitimate claim to something else: The title of most underrated indie pop rock band. While you may have heard their whistling hit “Young Folks,” overlooking the rest of the masterpiece album,Writer’s Block, is a terrible mistake, especially “Up Against The Wall.” The rolling drums, meandering guitar, and subtle vocalization techniques combine to make such a biting reflection of a relationship deceptively upbeat and toe-tapping:  “Maybe we could make this work / But now you start to leave before it's getting worse / I don't know what you came here for / It's almost that I wish we hadn't met at all.” I could not say the same to Peter, Bjorn, and John; I am incredibly thankful to have found them.

of Montreal / The Past is a Grotesque Animal

Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (2007)


This tense 12 minute adventure in angst and confession is the turning point in Hissing Fauna, arguably the best album in of Montreal’s extensive discography. It is within this song that front man Kevin Barnes claims to have transformed into his alter-ego, Georgie Fruit, a "dark mutation” that takes the form of a “black she-male,” as he deals with antidepressants and their effect on his marriage. Themes of existentialism and hopelessness intertwine as he struggles to come to terms with how someone could have “red-rovered the gestapo circling [his] heart” and love him despite his crippling flaws. The chilling ooh’s that begin around 4:20 will continue to haunt you long after the song has ended, and the synth undulations that appear later on sound straight out of Pink Floyd’s “Animals.” The line “It's like we weren't made for this world / Though I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was” epitomizes Barnes’s entire artistic career: bizarre alien creations that somehow feel more comfortable and better exemplify our most basic and secret human emotions than we ever imagined possible. He goes on to wonder if his lover “mythologizes” him as he does her and admits he’s so “touched by [her] goodness” he feels “criminal,” beautifully articulating the insecurity and altered perceptions that accompany the most vulnerably irrevocable love.

MGMT / Siberian Breaks

Congratulations (2010)


Following the success of their anthemic debut, Oracular Spectacular, psychedelic duo MGMT were given almost absolute artistic freedom by their record label while making their immensely underrated follow-up, Congratulations. That freedom allowed them to stray from the pop single structure of “Kids” and “Time To Pretend” and create this sprawling 12 minute conglomeration of acid-tinged streams of consciousness which vocalist Andrew VanWyngarden claims is his favorite of the album, saying, "It's kind of like eight different songs strung together into one, and the general theme is about surfing in the Arctic Circle by Russia." With crushing retorts such as “There's no reason / There's no secret to decode / If you can't save it / Leave it dying on the road” and the suicide note-worthy “If you’re conscious you must be depressed / Or at least cynical” amidst heavy reverb, this song undoubtedly has a depressing air about it, and yet the glittering synth and fitting realization of “Being here's always changing tunes” leaves you with an almost indifferent taste of acceptance in your mouth as you fade away, gently reminded nothing is truly ever “created or destroyed.”

LCD Soundsystem / Dance Yrself Clean

This Is Happening (2010)


It was difficult to pick only one song by the unfortunately now-disbanded indie dance pop masters and synth gods of the long song that are LCD Soundsystem, but I decided on “Dance Yrself Clean” based on the fact that it is quite simply perfect. Although a bitch to play on air during my radio show due to its immensely dynamic volume range (either it’s too quiet or peaking, always!) it is infectiously catchy and well worth the struggle. The initial soft patter of percussion and whispered vocals give way to a barrage of delicious, dance-inducing noise and hair-raising howls around the three minute mark, creating a drop that ended dubstep before it even began. Frontman James Murphy later admitted to needing steroids to help carry his voice through the recording process and protect it from injury, and while this may feel like cheating to some, it is a testament to his dedication as a musician and drive to create the best that he can, and the thought of this work of art having never been completed instead is far more discomforting, especially when considering it ended up being the very last song LCD Soundsystem ever made. “Break me into bigger pieces / So some of me is home with you,” he cries; careful when giving in to this song around your expensive music playing equipment, or he may not be the only thing left in pieces.

Cold War Kids / Fashionable (Bonus Track)

Mine Is Yours (Deluxe Version) (2011)


I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed by the overproduced and polished third album by the soulful and, until this point, brilliantly raw Cold War Kids. And although it was still enjoyable, Mine Is Yours even left out the best song of all: “Fashionable” is only listed as a bonus track on the deluxe version, or a rare 7” that used to be available exclusively at shows before they quickly sold out (I had to hide mine under a couch in Atlanta’s Buckhead Theatre back in 2011, but that’s another story). It begins with vocalist Nathan Willett gently cooing over bouncy acoustic guitar before transitioning to a church organ, in turn introducing the percussion, and eventually building up to a delightful return to his wonderfully powerful and emotional wails of old (sadly, the only song post-Loyalty to Loyalty to really do so), as it builds in excitement towards the end, sending chills down your spine. “I am your style / Oh and you are my style” he belts out before asking, “Who will sweep you off your feet?” You do, Nathan. You do.


Young Man / 21

Vol. 1 (2012)


Colin Caulfield’s big break happened when his YouTube cover of a Deerhunter song caught the ear of the band’s frontman.  An album and record deal later he has put together a full band under the name Young Man, and the resulting fuller sound is perfectly showcased in “21.” The almost eerie piano opening is reminiscent of Musique pour Supermarché as it blooms into soothing guitar melodies driven by pulsating snares and Caulfield’s gently probing cries of “crying shame.” The also lyricized “indeterminate feelings” swirl throughout the seven-plus minute runtime, presenting indie dream-pop at its best since Beach House’s Bloom.

Grizzly Bear / Sun in Your Eyes

Shields (2012)


Daniel Rossen’s flawless vocals lift this song along with its listeners above the clouds in fits of beauty. “It overflows / It overflows / It overflows” within you, receding momentarily as the piano seems to contemplate it’s very existence, before it resumes, “Silver inside / Rushing on.” After erupting with pulses of distortion, the last track on the band’s latest album, and the final song they played when I was lucky enough to see them live, signs off with a blunt, “I’m never coming back.” We can only hope this isn’t true, and that Grizzly Bear merely hibernates before returning with the sun to shine on us once more.

Honorable Mentions

Bright Eyes / Firewall

The People’s Key (2011)


I’ll admit, I’m still not quite sure what to make of the prophetic mumbling that makes up the first two and a half minutes (Hitler being name-dropped here and throughout the album reeks of stabs at sensationalism), yet I can’t help but be intrigued. The commanding, military ritual drums, rolling guitar befitting of a sedated Jack White, and the typical Conor Oberst misery spouting of lines like “On all fours she's just so insistent / Fills my mind with jump ropes and slit wrists” seem to lack some genuineness, but even at their most calculated, Bright Eyes are still worth a mention.

Death Cab for Cutie / I Will Possess Your Heart

Narrow Stairs (2008)


Although it may be one of my favorite songs from Ben Gibbard’s extensive repertoire, it doesn’t quite make the list on merit of length, as it is essentially a 4 minute song with an enjoyable yet unnecessarily drawn out intro. I might prefer it half as long but played twice as much.

Real Estate / All The Same

Days (2011)


The sweet jangly melodies of New Jersey band, Real Estate, are impossible not to hum or whistle or sing along to (although not all at once, that would be impossible). This is the perfect song for lazy warm afternoons, or, I imagine, painting.