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Cold War Kids

Cold War Kids
Cold War Kids performing at the Hype Hotel in Texas at SXSW, 2013
Background information
Origin Long Beach, California
Genres Indie rock, blues rock, blue-eyed soul
Years active 2004–present
Labels Downtown Records (United States)
MapleMusic Recordings (Canada)
V2 (United Kingdom)
Monarchy Music (Early)
Associated acts Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Death Cab for Cutie, Delta Spirit, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, Modest Mouse, The Murder City Devils, Richard Swift, Tokyo Police Club
Website .comcoldwarkids
Members Nathan Willett
Dann Gallucci
Matt Maust
Joe Plummer
Matthew Schwartz
Past members Jonnie Russell
Matt Aveiro

Cold War Kids is an American indie rock band from Long Beach, California. Band members are Nathan Willett (vocals, piano, guitar, keyboards, percussion), Dann Gallucci (guitar, percussion, melodica, keyboards), Matt Maust (bass guitar), Joe Plummer (drums, percussion) and Matthew Schwartz (keyboards, piano, guitar, percussion, vocals). Jonnie Russell (guitar, vocals, keyboards, piano, percussion, melodica) and Matt Aveiro (drums, percussion) are both former members of the band.

Forming in 2004 in Fullerton, the band's early releases came from independent record label Monarchy Music. In 2006, Cold War Kids signed with Downtown/V2 and released their major label debut Robbers & Cowards to cult appeal from fans and critics. 2008's Loyalty to Loyalty and 2011's Mine Is Yours saw the band develop different musical sounds and lyrical content throughout to mixed reviews. In 2013, Cold War Kids released their fourth album Dear Miss Lonelyhearts. Their most recent album Hold My Home was released on October 21, 2014.


  • History 1
    • Early years and Robbers & Cowards (2004-2006) 1.1
    • Loyalty to Loyalty (2008) 1.2
    • Behave Yourself and Mine Is Yours (2009-2011) 1.3
    • Dear Miss Lonelyhearts and Hold My Home (2012-present) 1.4
  • Musical style and influences 2
  • Members 3
    • Former members 3.1
  • Discography 4
    • Albums 4.1
      • Studio albums 4.1.1
      • Live albums 4.1.2
      • Compilation albums 4.1.3
      • Extended plays 4.1.4
    • Singles 4.2
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Early years and Robbers & Cowards (2004-2006)

Cold War Kids performing at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City, 2007

Cold War Kids started in 2004 in downtown Fullerton when Nathan Willett, Matt Maust and Matt Aveiro met regularly in Jonnie Russell's apartment above a restaurant called Mulberry Street. Maust came up with the band's name during his travels in Eastern Europe with his brother in Budapest, where they found a park with statues that had been dumped after Communism fell. Seeing that there was a playground in that park, Maust stated "...being in that environment just made the phrase 'Cold War Kids' pop into my head. I may have heard it before. I'm a cold war kid, too -- I was born in 1979."[1] The band relocated to Whittier, California and began recording their first demo, which Monarchy Music released as the EP Mulberry Street (based on the restaurant they regularly met) in spring 2005. Between tours, the band released two more EPs: With Our Wallets Full and Up in Rags, in 2006. Monarchy Music would re-release those EPs as one compilation album titled Up in Rags/With Our Wallets Full in 2006.

In summer 2006, Cold War Kids signed with Downtown Records and started work on their debut album. The album titled Robbers & Cowards was released on October 10, 2006 with sales close to 200,000 copies.[2] Critics were impressed with the band's blues rock sound and lyrics that told morose tales of yesteryear: Joe Tacopino of PopMatters said that "These ambitious youngsters are definitely worth the trip, even without the ostentatious vocal harmonies."[3] Jeff Weiss of Stylus Magazine called the album "[It’s] a good debut, maybe even a very good one. Whether or not this band will achieve greatness remains anybody’s guess."[4]

One of the album's biggest detractors came from Marc Hogan of Pitchfork Media, who criticized the band for its songwriting, melodies and Christian symbolism, saying that "Robbers and Cowards insults our intelligence a few times too often."[5] Cat Dirt Sez of the San Diego CityBeat said that Hogan's review was an example of lazy journalism,[6] with lead guitarist Jonnie Russell saying that the reviewer wanted a wittier approach to the album rather than a thoughtful assessment of it.[6]

Loyalty to Loyalty (2008)

After two years of non-stop worldwide touring and an eventual relocation to Long Beach, California, Cold War Kids went back into the studio in spring 2008 with the producer of their first record, Kevin Augunas. Nathan described the record making process: “Throughout the record making process, we would write songs in our own little practice studio, then we’d go into the studio for, like, two days and record three or four songs, then go back into our own practice studio for, like, a few weeks. So really it was over the span of four months or something. Actual studio days probably like 15 days. We don’t love being in a studio; we focus more on the writing.”[7]

The band's second album, [8]

Loyalty to Loyalty was released on September 23, 2008 to generally positive reviews from critics.[9] Bart Blasengame of Paste called it "a better-than-solid album from a band that seemed equipped to someday make a classic one."[10] James McMahon of NME said that "Almost in defiance of poor sales and cult following, CWK and their charming second album embody everything you hoped music might be."[11]

Behave Yourself and Mine Is Yours (2009-2011)

The band spent the end of 2008 and most of 2009 on the road touring for the album, highlighted by a national tour with Death Cab for Cutie.[12] In between touring, the band returned to the studio to record what would become their seventh EP Behave Yourself. In an interview with Flavorwire, Maust talked about the differences between this and Loyalty: "It’s basically the happier, more vibrant songs that didn’t really fit on the [Loyalty] album. We realized that in a way, we were starting to work ahead of ourselves, so this [EP] works as a nice bridge between records."[13] Behave Yourself was released digitally on iTunes on December 21, 2009[14] and given a physical version on January 19, 2010.

Cold War Kids performing at Cal Day 2010 in UC Berkeley on April 17

The band went back into the studio in February 2010. Nathan, when speaking to Filter Magazine, said, “Album three is in the works now. We are working with a producer named Jacquire King. He has a sweet and eclectic roster of Modest Mouse, the last Norah Jones record, Tom WaitsMule Variations, the last Kings of Leon record...So, he is going to work miracles with us. All of our music has always been written entirely by us, without any influence, so to have him step in and help us with the direction is tremendous. I was just watching the Wilco Documentary again, and I think that in many ways Wilco is to country/Americana as Cold War Kids is to soul/punk. We are taking what we do to the next level on this record. The EP is the final reminder of the good old days of quick and fun, minimal Cold War Kids recording."[15]

Mine Is Yours was released on January 25, 2011 and garnered mixed reviews from critics.[16] Billboard said that "the band has emerged with a set that's more inviting than its first but just as catchy."[17] Sean O'Neal of The AV Club said that the album has "the bland sound of a band trading identity for ambition."[18] They supported the album with a spring tour across North America[19] that included festival appearances in Bonnaroo and Coachella.[20][21] On February 8, 2012 the band announced that lead guitarist Jonnie Russell left the band due to personal reasons.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts and Hold My Home (2012-present)

On January 2012, the band announced that former Modest Mouse guitarist Dann Gallucci would take Russell's place in the band and premiere on their new single "Minimum Day".[22] On January 15, 2013, the band announced a new single, "Miracle Mile" for their fourth album, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts. The latter was released on April 2, 2013.[23] They followed that up with a digital-only EP titled Tuxedos, released on September 17, 2013. They promoted both efforts with a US headline tour that ended on November 6, 2013.[24] On November 2013, they announced that a fifth album was in the works.[25]

On November 10, 2013, the Orange County Register reported that drummer Matt Aveiro had left the band, and that Modest Mouse drummer Joe Plummer would be holding his place indefinitely. Aveiro now drums for a band called Bootstraps out of Los Angeles.[26]

On March 2014, they collaborated with Belgian brewer company Stella Artois and sonic inventor Andy Cavatorta for a project titled "Chalice Symphony", that involved using the brewer's famous drinking glasses as instruments for the band to use to record the track "A Million Eyes".[27] The behind-the-scenes videos were used as commercials and were uploaded on the brewer's YouTube page.[28] The song was released on iTunes on March 3, 2014[29] and the music video that went along with the track premiered on YouTube on April 4, 2014.[30] On May 2014, Willett and Maust worked on a side project with We Barbarians' Nathan Warkentin called French Style Furs. The project's debut album Is Exotic Bait was released on July 8, 2014.[31] The lyrics used on the album were adapted from the poetry of twentieth century Catholic monk and philosopher Thomas Merton, and was recorded with the assistance of Nick Launay.[32]

On July 15, 2014, the band released the first single, "All This Could Be Yours" from their fifth album Hold My Home, which was released on October 21.[33] The release of Hold My Home had drummer Joe Plummer and multi-instrumentalist/singer Matthew Schwartz being credited as proper members of Cold War Kids on the album's liner notes as opposed to touring members as previously credited. The album also spawned the single "First" in February of 2015.

Despite mixed reactions from critics on the overall quality and consistency of the album, "First" went on to chart at number 1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, making it the band's highest charting single ever.

Musical style and influences

AllMusic's Heather Phares cites Bob Dylan, Billie Holiday, Jeff Buckley and The Velvet Underground as influences for the band's blues rock-influenced indie rock sound.[34] The band has identified other major influences as Fiona Apple, Nick Cave, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, The Smiths, U2, and Tom Waits.


Former members



Studio albums

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions




Robbers & Cowards 173 43 79 96 35
Loyalty to Loyalty
  • Released: September 23, 2008 (US)[47]
  • Label: Downtown, V2
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
21 6 7 20 29 95 48 68
Mine Is Yours
  • Released: January 25, 2011 (US)[48]
  • Label: Downtown, V2
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
21 5 7 9 56 54 128 85 84
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts
  • Released: April 2, 2013 (US)[49]
  • Label: Downtown, V2
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
52 11 17 48 96 142 149
Hold My Home
  • Released: October 21, 2014 (US)[50]
  • Label: Downtown, V2
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
56 8 14 61
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Live albums

List of live albums
Title Album details
iTunes Live from SoHo
  • Released: December 2, 2008 (US)[51]
  • Label: Downtown
  • Formats: Digital download

Compilation albums

List of compilation albums
Title Album details
Up in Rags/With Our Wallets Full
  • Released: February 2006 (US)[52]
  • Label: Monarchy
  • Formats: LP

Extended plays

List of extended plays, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
Mulberry Street
  • Released: June 15, 2005 (US)[53]
  • Label: Monarchy
  • Formats: CD
With Our Wallets Full
  • Released: November 2005 (US)[54]
  • Label: Monarchy
  • Formats: CD
Up in Rags
  • Released: January 2006 (US)[55]
  • Label: Monarchy
  • Formats: CD
We Used to Vacation
  • Released: November 27, 2006 (US)[56]
  • Label: V2
  • Formats: CD, LP, 7", Digital Download
Live at Fingerprints
  • Released: September 23, 2008 (US)[57]
  • Label: Downtown
  • Formats: CD, Digital Download
Live from the Paradiso
  • Released: December 2, 2008 (US)[58]
  • Label: Downtown
  • Formats: CD, Digital Download
Behave Yourself
  • Released: January 19, 2010 (US)[59]
  • Label: Downtown, V2
  • Formats: CD, LP, Digital Download
Live at Third Man
  • Released: March 29, 2011 (US)[60]
  • Label: Third Man
  • Formats: LP
  • Released: September 17, 2013 (US)[61]
  • Label: Downtown
  • Formats: 10", Digital Download
Five Quick Cuts
  • Released: April 18, 2015 (US)[62]
  • Label: Downtown
  • Formats: 10", Digital Download
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


List of singles, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album



"Hair Down" 2006 Robbers & Cowards
"We Used to Vacation"[68]
"Hang Me Up to Dry" 2007 122[upper-alpha 1] 26 57
"Hospital Beds" — — 140
"Something Is Not Right with Me" 2008 39 Loyalty to Loyalty
"I've Seen Enough"[70]
"Audience" 2009 39 Behave Yourself (EP)
"Louder Than Ever" 2010 31 48 81 Mine Is Yours
"Skip the Charades"[71] 2011
"Finally Begin"[upper-alpha 2] 99
"Royal Blue"[upper-alpha 3] 94
"Minimum Day"[72] 2012 Non-album single
"Miracle Mile" 2013 22 [upper-alpha 4] Dear Miss Lonelyhearts
"A Million Eyes"[29] 2014 Non-album single
"All This Could Be Yours" 36 Hold My Home
"First" 2015 106[upper-alpha 5] 1 8 38 72
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


  1. ^ "Hang Me Up to Dry" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 22 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which acts as an extension to the Hot 100.[69]
  2. ^ "Finally Begin" was released as a promotional single.
  3. ^ "Royal Blue" was released as a promotional single.
  4. ^ "Miracle Mile" did not enter the Rock Songs chart, but peaked at number 48 on the Rock Airplay chart.[73]
  5. ^ "First" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 6 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which acts as an extension to the Hot 100.[69]


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External links

  • Official website
  • Cold War Kids on Twitter
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