Brussels sprouts get a bum rap. This may be because when overcooked, they can develop a bad taste and odor. But when cooked properly (such as in Kasey’s recipe for today) brussels sprouts can be awesome. And if you are on the fence on this one, it is properly worth mentioning that today’s recipe includes bacon (and we already know everything tastes better with bacon). So maybe it is time to re-evaluate brussels sprouts. Today’s Musical Pairing is Los Angeles’ Cold War Kids, a band that (like brussels sprouts) also got a bum rap – at least from one prominent indie-music website (whose review of the CWK’s debut borders on defamation). So we’re going to set the record straight: Cold War Kids’ debut, Robbers & Cowards, offers a great blend of old-fashioned soul, blues and rock n’ roll that thumps, shakes and rattles in all of the right places.
Robbers & Cowards collects the bulk of the tracks from the bands initial EPs: Up in Rags and With Our Wallets Full. An abrupt piano lead combined with a menacing rattle opens the album on the bluesy rock track “We Used to Vacation.” The song is filled with nervous energy and sounds unsettled so that when the squawking electric guitar enters following the chorus it is the sound of things beginning to fall apart. The tune “Passing the Hat” was recorded specifically for the debut. It begins with a tango-tinged piano lick and leathery, muffled percussion and sounds fun and upbeat in a somewhat conspiratorial way. It is followed by the romping track”Saint John” which is one of my favorite tracks on the album. A slinking tentative bass line enters amidst scattered percussion and clanking bottles as lead singer Nathan Willet adopts a bluesy drawl to sing the story of a man on death row for a murder he committed in the defense of his sister. The tune is noisy and boisterous like a caricature of barely contained prison yard. Other album highlights include “Hang Me Up To Dry,” “Pregnant,” “Red Wine, Success” and “Rubidoux.” The Cold War Kids are releasing a new 4 track EP entitled Behave Yourself on January 19.
Stop by eating/sf to learn a recipe that will make you reevaluate your childhood dislike of brussels sprouts.
Finally, you might enjoy this video I recorded of the Cold War Kids performing “Saint John” with Josh from Tapes ‘n Tapes in June of 2006: