"12 for '12" is a weekly series where I share a 12-song Spotify playlist, highlighting a different artist every week.
Cold War Kids are an L.A. band who used to sound like they were from the deep South but now sound like what Coldplay would sound like if they didn't rely so much on computers.
That's not meant to be a derogatory remark. (Coldplay's first two albums were really good, and the second one was especially rockin'.) It's meant to somewhat-succinctly explain how dramatically Cold War Kids' sound has changed from Robbers & Cowards, the band's 2006 debut, to their third album, 2011's Mine Is Yours. Despite these changes (or perhaps because of them), Cold War Kids are one of my favorite bands from the past decade, and a lot of that has to do with their energetic live shows.
Anyway, much of their early material relied on ragtime piano riffs and heavy bass grooves (track 3, "Saint John"), whereas newer songs tend to be more guitar-based, polished and poppy (track 2, "Royal Blue"). But some elements of the band's style have remained consistent; every album has a few piano ballads (track 10, "Golden Gate Jumpers")* and pounding rockers (track 4, "Something Is Not Right With Me").
It seems another style change is in the works; founding guitarist Jonnie Russell left the band this month, replaced by producer and former Modest Mouse guitarist Dann Gallucci. The new lineup has already released two songs, "Minimum Day," which sounds like a Black Keys rip-off, and "Minimum Mistake," which is pretty blah.
Check out the songs I selected and let me know what you think: 12 for '12: Cold War Kids
*Cold War Kids' best piano ballad is "Goodnight Tennessee," but it's an iTunes bonus track from Mine is Yours and therefore not on Spotify. If it were, I would've put it on the playlist in place of "Bulldozer."
Photo (cc) by Tammy Lo and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.