Tag Archives: indie rock

Cold War Kids Deliver for Sold Out Crowd

austintownhall.com

– Mike Munoz

Hundreds of soaked students made the trek to the WOW Hall last weekend on what was a very cold and wet evening. Fans huddled around the stage, desperately seeking warmth before the Cold War Kids concert Friday night. But as lead singer Nathan Willett and the rest of the band took the stage, audience members seemed to agree that walking in the rain was a small price to pay for the show.

The Cold War Kids formed several years ago in Long Beach, California, and in 2006 they released their debut album, Robbers and Cowards. The album found mild success due to their hit single, “Hang Me Up to Dry,” which was a three and a half minute hurricane of raw vocals and a bass line you can’t help but dance to. Over the next couple of years, the band toured tirelessly throughout the US, marketing their raw, yet beautiful sound. In 2008, the Cold War Kids released their second album Loyalty to Loyalty, and since then the band has been one of the biggest names in the indie scene.

In the band’s latest recordings, it’s very easy to see just how much the Cold War Kids have evolved over the years. Early last winter, they released the EP, Behave Yourself, which contained four much more polished track that for some reason didn’t find their way onto previous albums. Songs like “Santa Ana Winds” pay homage to their hometown of Southern California, while “Audience” proves that Willett is one of the top vocalists in the genre. Earlier this year, the band released their third full length album, Mine is Yours, which has been finding regular airtime on college radio stations across the country.

As the Cold War Kids took the stage at the sold out Wow Hall, the audience seemed ready to explode in anticipation. The band kept the crowd guessing, by playing a set list that included their heavier, loud songs as well as their slower ballads. Bass player Matt Maust hopped around the stage in his Joan Jett t-shirt as Willett switched back and forth between his guitar and piano. Although the band’s set list covered songs from all of their albums, there was definitely a heavy focus on their newest recordings.

While Cold War Kids insist that they aren’t a bible thumping Christian band, some of their lyrics deal with faith and family issues. A reminder of this was when the band performed one of their earlier singles “We Used to Vacation,” which tells the story of a man struggling to deal with his alcoholism after a couple of stints at rehab. “Two weeks paid vacation / won’t heal the damage done / I need another one,” yells Willet as the crowd cheers for more. The Cold War Kids ended the concert with an encore performance of one of their first hits, “Saint John,” much to the audience’s pleasure.

“Thank you guys it’s been a lot of fun. Thank you for singing along,” said a sweaty and exhausted Willett as the band left the stage. As audience members poured out of the Wow Hall, they were met with the harsh, wet reality of their trek back home. But after watching one of the top indie bands in the nation put on a stellar performance at the peak of their career, the rain didn’t seem so bad.

Tokyo Police Club Brings Nerdy Punk Rock Attitude to Sasquatch

– Mike Munoz

You know that nerdy group of guys you went to high school with? The one’s who wore old band t-shirts and played way too many video games? The one’s who watched nothing but the Sci-Fi channel and yet still always won the Battle of the Bands? In a nutshell, those guys are Tokyo Police Club.

Although Toronto isn’t exactly known for its music, the Canadian band broke onto the scene over half a decade ago and since then has been one of the more popular acts in the indie, post-punk revival. This summer the band will be touring heavily throughout Canada to promote their latest LP, Champ, and will also be playing music festivals such as Sasquatch! and The Bamboozle in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Tokyo Police Club immediately separated themselves from much of the pop and emo rock coming out at the time with a distinct garage rock sound and songs averaging just less than two minutes in length. With science fiction influenced themes and lyrics dealing with building spaceships for “our robot masters,” Tokyo Police Club certainly bring their own nerdy flair to the indie scene.

In 2005, the young Canadian quartet decided to drop out of college to pursue a career in music. A year later, Tokyo Police Club released their debut EP, A Lesson in Crime; 16 minutes of fast paced anthems about dictators and robot invasions. The album was generally well received with minor hits like “Be Good” and “Nature of the Experiment” getting modest play on alternative radio stations. The band continued to make music, and released another EP and their single “Your English is Good” a year later.

It wasn’t until 2008 that Tokyo Police Club released their highly anticipated debut album, Elephant Shell. The band toured relentlessly the next couple of years to promote their new album, and songs like “Graves” and “In a Cave” were getting regular airtime on radio stations. Last summer, Tokyo Police Club released their second album, Champ. With longer songs and more polished melodies, it’s easy for fans to see just how much the band has grown over the past 5 years. Despite their musical evolution, Tokyo Police Club lovers can expect to find the same sci-fi inspired lyrics and nerdy attitude originally found on A Lesson in Crime.

Tokyo Police club will be making their first ever trip to the Sasquatch! Music Festival this year, and considering how often the band is on the road, it probably won’t be their last. The band will be playing on the main stage Monday afternoon and are definitely an act you will not want to miss. Who knows? Maybe they’ll bring out the geek in you.

SoCal Rockers Best Coast Look to Make a Splash at Sasquatch! 2011

-Mike Munoz

With lyrics like, “I want to hit you but then I’d kiss you. I want to kill you but then I’d miss you,” it’s hard to tell whether is Best Coast’s singer-guitarist Bethany Cosentino is in love or just plain insane.

Perhaps no band captures the essence of a hazy summer day in southern California than indie surf band, Best Coast. Despite some minor releases under independent labels in the past, the garage pop trio really broke onto the scene last summer with the release of their debut album, Crazy for You. With thirteen songs about love, heartbreak and getting high, the Los Angeles based band couldn’t have started their career with a more fun and entertaining album.

One thing that stands out about Best Coast is their distinct, lo-fi sound. The band is able to achieve this unique, fuzzy effect through extensive use of reverb and guitar distortion. With simple lyrics and a raw sound, it sounds as if Cosentino and company decided to meet up in her garage and make a record. Best Coast’s success has helped the band earn spots in huge music festivals this spring, such as Coachella in Indio, California and Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee.

The band has also gained a lot of attention (both positive and negative) for their quirky and sometimes nonsensical lyrics. “I lost my job, I miss my mom, I wish my cat could talk,” sings Cosentino in their break-up song “Goodbyes.” Although they might not be the John Lennon or Bob Dylan of songwriting, Best Coast’s lyrics really capture the fun and unorthodox attitude a young band on the rise. While most of the songs are fun upbeat, other tracks such as the chilling “Honey” use slower, more pronounced drums in addition to eerie flowing vocals by Cosentino.

Scheduled for Monday, May 30th on the Yeti stage, Best Coast is certainly a band to keep your ears open for at this year’s Sasquatch! Music Festival.

Ra Ra Riot Electrifies Audience at Wow Hall

– Mike Munoz

As Alexandra Lawn and Rebecca Zeller tune their cello and violin on the small stage at the Wow Hall, it’s hard to tell what kind of performance to expect from the indie rock band Ra Ra Riot. But as the rest of the band bounced on stage to begin their show, it became clear that the audience was going to have a hard time keeping up with these energetic performers.

Hundreds of students crowded around the stage to see Ra Ra Riot, who hail from Syracuse, New York. With fast-paced hits like “Too Too Too Fast” and “Run My Mouth”, this unique band quickly turned the small venue into a dance hall. Lead Singer Wes Miles kept the excitement going by jumping from instrument to instrument, occasionally picking up the bass or playing keyboard for a song. He even sat out for bit, while cello player Alexandra Lawn took lead vocals for their haunting ballad, “You and I Know”.

The audience danced and cheered in approval as the band played an hour-long show with a set list that included tracks from both of their albums. Ra Ra Riot played several songs from their latest record, The Orchard, such as “Too Dramatic and Boy”. They also seemed to play more songs off of their debut album, The Rhumb Line, with classics such as “Can You Tell” and “Each Year”. The audience obviously approved of the band’s decision.

After playing hits from both of their albums, Ra Ra Riot thanked the crowd for a great show and seemingly left. But it wasn’t long before the band jumped back on stage to prep for an encore. “Play ‘Ghost Under Rocks’!” yelled an excited fan. Wes Miles smiled and walked up to the microphone after taking a swig from his water bottle. “Yeah we can play that,” said Miles with a grin. The band ended with the opening track from their debut album followed by one of their most popular songs, “Dying is Fine”.

After an electrifying performance by Ra Ra Riot, hundreds of students poured out of the Wow Hall with sore feet and pounding eardrums. With both the McDonald Theater and the Wow Hall bringing in tons of musical acts, this concert looks to be one on a great list of performances in Eugene this winter.