Cold War Kids- Loyalty To Loyalty

Over the years, CMJ Music Marathon has helped launch the careers of many artists. In 2006, Cold War Kids were one of the bands that got their start at CMJ. They are coming back this year and playing two shows during CMJ Music Marathon next week. Tuesday October 21, they’re performing at the Conflict of Interest party at Brooklyn Bowl and Wednesday, October 22, they’ll be playing at Rough Trade. Let’s look at the how the Cold War Kids have done in college radio since they first performed at CMJ.

Within weeks of their breakout CMJ performance in 2006, the Cold War Kids debut album Robbers And Cowards reached No. 16 on the CMJ Charts. But this would just be the beginning of the college radio successes for the band. Their second release, Loyalty To Loyalty, would be the height of the Cold War Kids’ college radio success. This album peaked at No. 6 on October 14, 2008, almost exactly two years after their debut CMJ performance.

CMJ Chart For The Week Of October 14, 2008

1 1 TV ON THE RADIO Dear Science Interscope
2 4 DEERHOOF Offend Maggie Kill Rock Stars
3 2 JENNY LEWIS Acid Tongue Warner Bros.
4 3 KINGS OF LEON Only By The Night RCA
6 20 COLD WAR KIDS Loyalty To Loyalty Downtown
7 13 TOBACCO Fucked Up Friends Anticon
8 12 DUNGEN 4 Kemado
9 22 BEN FOLDS Way To Normal Epic
10 8 RA RA RIOT The Rhumb Line Barsuk
11 6 CALEXICO Carried To Dust Touch And Go-Quarterstick
12 7 OKKERVIL RIVER The Stand Ins Jagjaguwar
13 31 DEERHUNTER Microcastle Kranky
14 28 WOMEN Women Jagjaguwar
15 18 PORTUGAL. THE MAN Censored Colors Equal Vision-Approaching AIRballoons
16 11 WALKMEN You And Me Gigantic
17 10 CHAD VANGAALEN Soft Airplane SUB POP
18 178 MARNIE STERN This Is It… Kill Rock Stars
19 37 MERCURY REV Snowflake Midnight Yep Roc
20 19 NOAH AND THE WHALE Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down Cherry Tree-Interscope

Bluesy indie-rock was very prominent on the charts at this time. Although many of the other bands on the chart, like Blitzen Trapper, Okkervil River, and Calexico went down a more folk-leaning route than the Cold War Kids, there was still a common thread of Americana within many of the albums on the charts at the time.

Their third album Mine Is Yours, broke the top ten on the CMJ charts and peaked at No. 9 on February 8, 2011. On Dear Miss Lonelyhearts the Cold War Kids traded in the blues influences from their previous albums for a much dancier sound. However, this change in sound did not serve the band well with college radio, where they reached their lowest chart peak of No. 25 on April 23, 2013.

We’ve seen some interesting patterns that emerge on charts, where artists seem to have albums that overlap with each other on the charts. With the Cold War Kids we see lots of this overlapping occurring. The Decemberists had albums at No. 1 when both Robbers And Cowards and Mine Is Yours were making their way up the charts. Deerhoof had albums No. 2 and No. 3 when Cold War Kids Loyalty To Loyalty and Mine Is Yours were on the charts. TV On The Radio also had albums at the top of the charts at the same time as Robbers And Cowards and Loyalty To Loyalty. Over the next few weeks we might see Cold War Kids and TV On The Radio duking it out on the charts for a third time as both groups have new albums coming out within a couple of weeks of each other.

Cold War Kids fifth album Hold My Home is out next Tuesday, October 21, the same day as their first CMJ 2014 performance. Eight years later, Cold War Kids are coming back full circle to CMJ for their album release and performances. Will they be able to break the top 5 on the CMJ Charts this time around?

Cold War Kids - Photo by Ryan Loewy

Cold War Kids – Photo by Ryan Loewy

Before Cold War Kids could lay out their deep-gut indie blues-rock on the huge Terminal 5 stage last night, openers PAPA beat the big hall opening band blues by garnering and increasing the crowd’s attention as their fun set moved on. The lead singer was definitely impressive, as he was also manning the drums yet still maintained a great on-stage persona. He continuously engaged with the audience, stood up on his drum set at one point, and ultimately jumped off stage at the end of the last song, shaking hands with the crowd. His gregariousness definitely levied the band’s overall set, as the tunes themselves were heavy in rhythm, the drums thunderous at certain points, with synths that were conversely relaxed, calculated and mostly mellow. So if the drums bombarded the synths, they did it in a positive manner, while seasoned with light licks from the guitarist and a steady pace from the bass. A happy chaos, if you will.
Cold War Kids came on next to a packed crowd. They opened with a song from 2008’s Loyalty To Loyalty that complimented the stage backdrop which featured said album’s artwork. Lead singer, Nathan Willet, jumped into their newer material next with the speedy, piano-heavy Miracle Mile,. The newer stuff they pulled out featured synths, something they haven’t really emphasized before, but worked within their sound. And that sound, an emotional, physical bent-roots blues, rolled out fine the rest of their fully frantic set.
Words and photos by Ryan Loewy.
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