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Cold War comes to Columbus

Courtesy of Cold War Kids

Cold War Kids have had a busy year so far in 2011.

The band members have moved into new homes in Los Angeles, released their third album, “Mine is Yours,” and spent three weeks playing shows in Europe, and the pace is not going to slow.

The band is scheduled to play its first headlining show at The Lifestyle Communities Pavilion on March 16.

“We’re really excited about that show,” said lead singer and guitarist Nathan Willett. “It’s really cool that we have so much interest there.”

The show was originally scheduled to take place at Newport Music Hall, but after selling out the 1,700-person-capacity venue, it was moved to The LC, a 2,200-capacity venue.

“We had such a number of weeks in between it selling out at the Newport and show day that we wanted to be able to offer people tickets, so that’s why we moved it,” said Marissa Luther, marketing manager at PromoWest Productions.

Jacquire King, who is famous for his work with artists such as Tom Waits, Kings of Leon and Norah Jones, produced the new album. The band had never worked with King before, although they were fans of Waits’ “Mule Variations,” Willett said.

“It was a cool experience, I think because of the kind of roster of people that he has worked with,” Willett said. “I think he does a really good job of making us empowered to kind of make all the choices.”

Aside from working with a new producer on “Mine is Yours,” the band also recorded in a new atmosphere and used a new process, Willett said.

The band’s previous albums were recorded near its former-home city of Long Beach, Calif., in about two weeks of recording, he said. The majority of the new album was done over a period of two months in Nashville, Tenn., and then finished in Los Angeles.

“We definitely went into it with different boundaries,” Willett said. “It was a different approach, we were more conscious of performing it right.”

Another new approach taken by the band was letting Willett handle all of the lyric-writing duties.

Much of his lyrical inspiration for the album was drawn from personal relationships that were going on around him, he said.

“I think a lot of it was from just watching my friends around me and their relationships, and being in a time in life where I think they really avoided commitment for a long time, but then kind of found themselves getting into committed relationships,” Willett said.

The album has received mixed reviews from the media since being released, something Willett said the band expected to a certain extent.

Rolling Stone echoed the sentiments of other critics, giving “Mine is Yours” a rating of 2.5 stars out of five, saying “the songs are tedious and overbearing.”

Although there has been some criticism, the band members aren’t letting it keep them from enjoying shows and playing the new songs, Willett said.

“It’s a cool time where the initial reviews come out and people have their varied opinions, but then getting to go actually play and tour is where it becomes kind of cool to talk to people and play the songs and really connect,” he said.

CWK is made up of Willett, guitarist Jonnie Russell, bassist Matt Maust and drummer Matt Aveiro. The band’s music extends from punk-influenced blues-rock songs to slower, R&B-inflected pop tunes.

The group formed in 2004 in Fullerton, Calif. Over the next two years, the band toured and released two EPs, gaining attention from the music blogging community. It was signed to a record deal with Downtown Records, and released its first LP, “Robbers & Cowards,” in 2006.

CWK toured consistently for a year-and-a-half after its first album, building its audience and gaining the band a reputation, as well as praise in the media, for its live performances.

After touring for its first album, CWK settled in Long Beach, Calif., where eventually the band members felt isolated in a place that lacked a thriving music scene, Willett said. At the beginning of 2011, the group packed up and moved to Los Angeles.

“I think we just kind of got to a point where we want to be around more culture, more artists and have access to musicians,” Willett said.

Since their move, the band members have had little time to enjoy their new digs, he said. They toured Europe in February, and then had just a few days at home before starting their current American tour.

“It’s important that we really experiment with the freedom that we have and try to surprise ourselves with the music that we make, and I think this album was the first step in that,” Willett said. “I’m not sure what the next direction will be.”


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