don't you tell me how i feel.

the kids are (still) alright by v

One of my fondest show memories during my stint in New England was the Cold War Kids at the Middle East in Boston. Steele and I had recently fallen in love with their first album, Robbers & Cowards, after she saw them at CMJ. And call me a hipster if you must, but it was pretty great to see them in a club basement surrounded by nerdy college kids hoisting PBR tallboys before they started selling out Terminal 5 (ick). But I applaud their success since.

I lost track of the band after 2008’s Loyalty to Loyalty, but was thrilled to discover that they haven’t fallen off in the intervening years. Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, which was released a few months back, has the same straightforward rock sensibility, same distinctive piano work, same angst. What the album does prove — which I had suspected — is that the Cold War Kids do raucous well, but they do quiet even better. Frontman Nathan Willett’s voice channels anguish like few others — at crucial moments, it sounds like he’s about to split in two — so the songs with spare piano and vocals are the real gems here. “Water and Power,” like the wrenching “Hospital Beds” on their debut, floors me every time.


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