COLD WAR KIDS / HANNI EL KHATIB / MANY MORE TBA
HANNI EL KHATIB, IN THE VALLEY BELOW, MERGENCE, WOODEN INDIAN, SIR SLY, STAN DEVEREAUX AND THE FUNKY SUNS, DINERS, SAREENA DOMINGUEZ
308 N. 2nd Ave.
Phoenix, AZ, 85003
Doors 6:30PM / Show 7:00PM
This event is 18 and over
COLD WAR KIDS
Since their modest beginnings as four guys who drove around southern California with their gear in their cars, practicing wherever they could steal a space, Cold War Kids have always exhibited two qualities in their music: intense passion and emotional truth.
Lithe and percussive, roaring and tuneful, the soul-punk on the Long Beach quartet's first two albums "Robbers & Cowards" (2006) and "Loyalty to Loyalty" (2008) emerged like miniature gothic novels. Singer Nathan Willett channeled taut dramas of men on the edge, families in peril, and crises of faith. The musical literature of these four tight-knit friends — Willett, Jonnie Russell, Matt Maust and Matt Aveiro — was a sound that augured something bigger, something more universal.
Now, that "something" has arrived in "Mine Is Yours," the quartet's third album for Downtown Records, due for release on January 25, 2011.
More intimate than anything Cold War Kids have done to date, the new album is a collection of songs dealing with the push and pull of human relationships, the glue that holds them together, and the equilibrium they sometimes find. "Mine Is Yours" finds the foursome at their most sonically potent, and Willett at his most revealing and vulnerable.
"These are portraits of relationships and commitment — what is holding these things together and what does it all mean?" the singer says. "A lot has happened in the last two years — long tours, marriage, relationships, people going different directions. I felt the need to be more personal, to show the many sides of me."
That urge came at a critical time for the band, who harbored a fierce independence from the days they were making songs in a Fullerton apartment, recording them raw, and playing them in claustrophobic Los Angeles clubs. Their DIY ethic engendered an innate distrust of anyone outside their inner circle, but, as Willett and his mates came to realize after "Loyalty to Loyalty," it may have limited them creatively too. "I remember thinking that if 'Loyalty' is the last record we do, I'd be disappointed," Willett says. "It was a step, but I thought, 'We have to be about something bigger.'"
Cold War Kids also wrestled with the notion that being "indie" is somehow antithetical to being ambitious — that wanting to make music on a larger scale can compromise one as an artist.
"But if you and your friends are just sitting back and speculating in the abstract about what compromise is or isn't, you're not doing anything, are you? You need to be in the moment. Our band started from a thousand hours of late-night drinking talking about what it would be like to do this. But you don't want to be an eternal student. There have been a bunch of great indie bands in recent years that have earned deserved success, and they got there by going for it."
This led Cold War Kids to work for the first time with an outside producer, Jacquire King. King, who has worked with the likes of Tom Waits, Kings of Leon, Norah Jones and Modest Mouse, produced "Mine Is Yours" over the course of two sessions in Nashville and Los Angeles. During these sessions, they expanded on the quartet's signature sound while keeping intact its minimalist elements.
"It's a more produced record with more textures, but it still sounds like us," Willett says. "Overall, there's just a broader sonic palette."
Working with King turned out to be a revelatory experience. "We needed somebody we could fight with a little bit, in a respectful way," Willett says. "On the first two albums, we really had nobody saying, 'What if you tried this?' If somebody asks you 'Why is this a certain way?' and you don't have a good answer, and you have to rethink it, that's a good thing. We ended up having a pretty easy relationship. He was more of a listener and a reactor."
The result is Cold War Kids' most fully formed music to date, an album they only imagined they could have made back in the days of their guerilla practices and late-night conversations. Passion and honesty — "Mine Is Yours."
HANNI EL KHATIB
Hanni grew up in San Franscisco, California. The son of Palestinian and Filipino immigrants and the first American in his family, he became obsessed with classic Americana and pop culture of the 1950s and 60s. Influenced by pioneers of early rock and r&b (Johnny Burnette, Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash), El Khatib created a musical aesthetic to match his vision. The multi-instrumentalist serves as singer, songwriter & producer for his one-man band (live he is joined by a drummer) that is part blues, part garage rock, part soul, part folk & part doo whop.
As the creative director for HUF and lifelong skater, El Khatib professes to a love for well-crafted objects: classsic cars, cans pomade and stiletto switchblades. This craftsmanship carries over into his music, where El Khatib is inspired and informed by the specificity of a guitar tone or the fuzziness of an amp sound . His background in DIY and skate culture manifests as a desire to "keep mistakes in" and make things "as raw as possible." Merging primitive rock sounds with punk aesthetics, El Khatib toes lines between all genres and ends up firmly in his own.
His diverse interests in music, zines, art, photography, and film, converge around his singular personal aesthetic, which reveals itself in all of El Khatib's work. Combining the old weird America with the brave new frontier of home recording, El Khatib bridges the past and the present to create music that already sounds timeless and were written for anyone who's ever been shot or hit by a train.
IN THE VALLEY BELOW
In The Valley Below is a new musical pairing delivering hushed swirls of male and female vocals forged with dark stories of brooding riddles and romance. Currently based in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles, Angela Gail and Jeffrey Jacob have crafted a sultry collection of melodic duets in a bed of rumbling drums, synth machines, gritty guitars, and layers of strange and dreamy keyboards.
MERGENCE, is a four-piece band from Tempe, AZ with a sound that rivals the great classic rock bands while it full on rockets into the future. All four band members are from very different walks of life but come together as one for MERGENCE. Mixing melodic songwriting and strong vocals from Adam Bruce with screaming guitar from The Yod over a super solid rhythm section founded by Brandon Shupe and ...Jason Roedl give the listener pause to reflect on life and then rock out. Their debut album entitled "Those Vibrant Young People Are Dead" (Feb 2011) is a mix of pop, rock and blues taking you on a journey through life, love, and death. Recorded mostly live (who does that anymore) and produced by Bob Hoag and Mergence at Flying Blanket Recording Studios. You will definitely get your money's worth from this band whether in the studio or on stage. Their original sound is strangely familiar as you can sometimes place an influence of Zeppelin or The Beatles or The Black Keys but can never say for sure what influence you are hearing. Dynamite & Kerosene is a three and a half minute pop rocker that seems made for radio. My Prayer is the blues but… not. At the Salt is well; it needs to be heard to be believed. Look for more from this extremely talented and skilled band and for Pete's sake man go see their show! Believe it.
"We're noticing the same vibes that ring true with our person when we listen to Empire Of The Sun, Foster The People, Work Drugs and The Neighbourhood." --Killing Moon
$15 advance - $20 at the door
Outdoor 18+ / Indoor 21+ *** Rain or Shine ***
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