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Cold War Kids w/ Matt Death and the New Intellectuals

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Saturday, 27 January 2007
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Well, it was family affair night at the Silverlake Lounge when “It” band for 2007, Cold War Kids, teamed up with Matt Death and the New Intellectuals. Not only did the opening band consist of Cold War Kids’ producer and album photographer, Matt Death, but also David Maust, brother of Cold War Kids’ Matt Maust. Had they thrown in some barbecued chicken and a backyard, it would have felt like a down-home family reunion, because it sure as hell sounded like one.

Unlike the frenetic energy of the Kids, Matt Death and the New Intellectuals sound like something between Modern Lovers, gospel and Tom Waits (or a more dissonant Frank Black). Frontman Matt Death’s vocals warble in plaintive fashion juxtaposed nicely against Farfisa blues chords and gypsy melodies. When he wants to let loose, Death does, and every single member of Cold War Kids seemed to be watching in full attention as he cut into 50s-style guitar solos. Despite the fact that it was their first show and Death proclaimed they have “absolutely nothing to sell and no website,” they were lovable and even better, thoroughly enjoyable.

As Cold War Kids began their set, I started to talk to Matt Death about working with them. He kindly offered up that they’re all like one big family…except the Kids write better songs than he can. Well, one thing is for certain, they can write damn good songs. Not since I saw TV on the Radio’s first L.A. show have I been so impressed with the musicianship, performance and overall originality of a band. Even better, a band from Whittier (well, now Long Beach). Lord knows, we Whittierites have been waiting for a better claim to fame than the home of Richard Nixon’s alma mater and the Whittier Narrows earthquake. (Long Beach, love you but you got Snoop, Sublime…and for awhile, Mars Volta.)

Every song in Cold War Kids’ set was like choreographed chaos that somehow managed to come off as amazingly polished. The icing on the cake was that it was accompanied by humility and not a bunch of indier-than-thou attitude. By the time they ripped into “Hang Me Up To Dry,” the Silverlake Lounge seemed like one big, sweaty gospel tent revival. Wow. Guess what? The best new band around is from the West Coast and they’re not a bunch of pompous hipster haircuts. Thank you Jesus.

Check out Ground Control's review of Robbers & Cowards.

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