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Cold War Kids – “Saint John” (Feat. Mos Def)

Monday marked the 10th anniversary of Cold War Kids’ debut album Robbers & Cowards. To celebrate, the Long Beach indie rock veterans are sharing a previously unreleased version of album highlight “Saint John” featuring Yasiin Bey, the rapper then known as Mos Def. Frontman Nathan Willett offers some background on the collaboration:

I haven’t really stopped to think about what “Saint John” is about in 10 years, even though we play it every night. Here’s the gist of it – a bunch of wasted frat guys assault a woman and the brother of the woman throws a brick at one frat guy and maybe kills him.

So, our hero, Saint John is on death row waiting for a pardon. Not the most uplifting story and yet over the years this song has become the inevitable show closer – an ever evolving bottled aggression loose spastic minimal blues jam that could just keep going forever. You can’t try to set out and write a song like this, it just happens.

I was thrilled, 10 years ago, when I heard MOS DEF’s version but it never came out. Excited to finally have it be heard ! Can we get Yasiin to come out of retirement and perform it with us? Hopefully won’t take another 10 years.

Hear Cold War Kids and Mos Def team up below.

Upon Monday’s anniversary, Willett also posted some reflections on Robbers & Cowards: