New Audio: Cold Equations Returns with The Smiths-like “Set The Boy Free”

Drew Kohl is a Nashville-based singer/songwriter. Relocating to Nashville back in 2014, Kohl quickly immersed himself in the city’s country/Americana scene, dressing the part and writing and performing folk-styled material. He has toured with the likes of Kiely Connell and Ray LaMontagne — and he has played at The Chicago TheaterLouisville Palace and lengthy list of other venues. But after spending several years in the scene, Kohl became increasingly disillusioned. He suddenly shifted to electric guitar and sought refuge in late night writing sessions that drew from PavementElliott SmithJohnny Marr and others. 

Kohl found those late night writing sessions liberating — he explored new sounds and darker thematic concerns. The end result is his latest music project Cold Equations and the project’s forthcoming Paul Moak-produced self-titled debut, which was recorded at Smokestack Studio. “The first LP I wrote, Ghost Town, was super liberating – I didn’t have to fit into the ‘Country- Americana mold’ so I felt free to explore new sounds and lyrical themes,” the Nashville-based Kohl explains. “The Americana genre started feeling super restrictive and I didn’t really resonate or identify with the aesthetic anymore. So I withdrew from performing for a while and started writing indie rock songs in my bedroom which eventually became the songs on this upcoming album. This is the record I always wanted to make.”

After meeting Ryan Dishen (drums) at a punk show and later John O’Brien (bass), Cold Equation quickly became a full-fledged band that started writing, revising and rehearsing the material that Kohl originally wrote during those late night sessions. 

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Identity Crisis,” a decidedly 120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock anthem built around fuzzy power chords and the sort of mosh pit friendly hooks and choruses that would make Dave Grohl proud. As Kohl explains, the song is inspired by the sensation of something very familiar suddenly becoming unfamiliar — and facing someone, who suddenly acts out of character. But the twist is that the song’s narrator is the one, who’s having the crisis. 

Cold Equations’ latest single “Set The Boy Free” is a Smiths-like jangle pop anthem built around some Johnny Marr-like guitar work paired with the Nashville-based outfit’s penchant for catchy hooks and shout-along worthy choruses.

Fittingly, the song derives its title and sonic inspiration from Johnny Marr‘s autobiography Set The Boy Free. The book played a pivotal role in shaping the band’s creation and overall approach. But lyrically, the song is rooted in a familiar and relatable concept: needing to let go of someone or something you love. Nothing lasts forever, folks. And sometimes, you just have to let go — for yourself and for them.