Thursday, January 27, 2011

(8 sentence) Album Review: Cold War Kids - Mine Is Yours

Everybody knows only high schoolers and “trustfunded journalist hipsters” can complain about a band selling out.  The rest of us know you need to grow the eff up and make a living. The reigning Indie kings, Cold War Kids, decided to do that with their newest album which has a polished, ever-so-slightly catchier sound.  If you want to hear music that is neither bland nor unpalatably pretentious, enjoy CWK’s newest release Mine Is Yours.  

“Oh no, that means my girlfriend can like it too?! Thanks for all the good times, Cold War Kids, I’m so over you.” – Some A-hole Nobody Likes. 

You’re not an a-hole, right?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Live Review: The Devious Means

Photo by: Pourio Lee
It has been a long time since I’ve been to Chain Reaction, in Anaheim California. Probably because I don’t want to spoil the memory of two of the greatest shows ever: The Get Up Kids’ “Something To Write Home About” tour and Pedro The Lion’s “Control” tour.  I doubt even those bands could recreate those two magical shows, so to see any other band there would be unfair.

But if Jason Martin of Starflyer 59 is involved in a record (which he is with The Devious Means’ soon-to-be-released first album) then I am definitely going to have to experience the band for myself.  When they stepped on stage there was a very positive vibe in the air.  Though not technically headlining, it was clear the crowd came to see The Devious Means.  And it was also clear that the band wanted to put on a fun show.  And that they did.

Pinning down their musical style does not come easily.  They have the positivity of Mates of State as well as their male vs. female back and forth lead vocals.  Musically there is a strong influence of late 90’s/ early 2000’s emo a la The Anniversary or for you real music snobs The Mercury Program.  But that is not to say they are a rehash of former styles.  You could say there is some Arcade Fire and Go! Team mixed in as well.  But really, they have their own distinct sound.  Their closing and most epic song “Porcelin Mouths” has The Walkmen type drumming, lots of a western guitar reverb, classic gospel sound with group vocals and the lead singer, Rachel, really belts it out with her distinct and beautiful voice.

Photo by: Megan Polendo
While they have only played a handful of shows and have only been a band since late 2009, it is clear they are veterans in both songwriting and performance.  They played with energy and had the crowd clapping and dancing.  And musically they are very talented.  Sometimes they would sound enjoyably casual like Surfer Blood’s indie garage style and other times they showed off their technical prowess. The lead singer, Christopher, has a voice in the vein of The Weakerthans and while it doesn't quite stand up to Rachel’s powerful singing, their harmonies mix together in a surprisingly pleasing way.  The band’s sound really can only be considered eclectic indie rock, which comes from 5 distinctly different members.  They vary in personal style but together as a band they form a new sound that is cohesive, unique and has strong moments of ingenuity.