By

Perfect Imperfection: Ten years later, The War On Drugs’ Wagonwheel Blues is the masterful sound of running on instinct

The War on Drugs, circa 2008 | photo by Travis Newman | via theguardian.com

A tape player winds to a start. Five drum machine hi-hat hits tap out, sequentially. Three notes chime on a glockenspiel. Somebody takes a breath.

These are the most surprising things you’ll hear upon listening to The War on Drugs‘ Wagonwheel Blues ten years after its debut — and they all occur in opening moments of “Arms Like Boulders.” The song abruptly adjusts course into the soaring squeal of a harmonica, fervent acoustic guitar strums, and barreling drums as they converge into an anthem of Kerouacian observations and things felt while driving up California’s arterial highway 101. The lyrics are stream-of-consciousness and pretty far out, but we’ll get to that. For now, let’s consider that non-sequitur patchwork of sounds at the top. It is literally only two seconds long, but it speaks volumes about the band that The War on Drugs was ten years ago and the band it is today. Continue reading →

By

Watch The War on Drugs perform “In Chains” on Late Night with Seth Meyers

The War on Drugs | photo courtesy of the artist

Grammy-award winning group The War on Drugs continued their late-night T.V. run in support of Grammy-winning 2017 album A Deeper Understanding, appearing on Late Night with Seth Meyers last night to perform deep cut “In Chains.” The abbreviated performance for T.V. still stretched over 5 minutes, and the band brought the same energy they would at a headlining live show. Continue reading →

By

Holy smokes! Philly’s The War on Drugs just won a Grammy.

The War on Drugs | photo by Galea McGregor for WXPN
The War on Drugs | photo by Galea McGregor for WXPN

Instead of saying “Philly’s The War on Drugs,” we’re now able to say “Philly’s Grammy Award-winning The War on Drugs.”

Adam Granduciel and his band of space rock soundscapers just took home the Best Rock Album trophy for their 2017 LP A Deeper Understanding at the 60th annual Grammy Awards, which is taking place this evening at Madison Square Garden in New York. Continue reading →

By

Watch The War on Drugs perform “Pain” (and show support for the Eagles) on Fallon

The War on Drugs | photo courtesy of the artist

Philly rock band The War on Drugs has picked up some serious momentum in their career recently. They’ve had their first number one single with the track “Pain” from their Grammy nominated album A Deeper Understanding. The band has been around for over 10 years, and are now riding the triumphant underdog wave.

They recently had the opportunity to perform “Pain” on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, and although the song is full of somber lyrics and frustration, the rich, layered, arrangement and midtempo pace sounds slightly positive, like the soundtrack to a montage about someone’s life, or the like the song that plays at the satisfying end of an artful indie film. The significance of the stage didn’t seem to faze anyone, as they performed with the mellowed confidence of true rock veterans. Continue reading →

By

Pre-order Live at the World Cafe Volume 43 featuring The Districts, Maggie Rogers, The War on Drugs, Waxahatchee and more

Live at the World Cafe Volume 43

The latest compilation of live performances from NPR’s World Cafe is available this spring to XPN members — and it’s a fantastic collection.

Ranging from rock and folk vets Bob WeirLittle Steven & The Disciples of Soul, and Suzanne Vega to new voices Maggie Rogers, Sweet Spirit, and Phoebe Bridgers, Philly rooted artists The DistrictsThe War on Drugs, and Waxahatchee, Live at the World Cafe Vol. 43 is an expansive release. Continue reading →

By

From David Gray to The War on Drugs: Dan & Dan Music Podcast talks artist development with A&R vet Steve Ralbovsky

David Gray | photo by Rachel Barrish for WXPN
David Gray | photo by Rachel Barrish for WXPN

Meet Dan and Dan! Dan Reed, Music Director and Afternoon Host at WXPN/Philadelphia and Dan DeLuca, Music Critic and Columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer sit down on a bi-weekly basis to talk MUSIC!

It’s part 2 of our conversation with Canvasback Music found Steve Ralbovsky, and this time in person! Steve took the trip to Philadelphia to continue the conversation about the role of a modern-day A&R person in the music industry. Steve gives some insightful advice for young bands and shares unique stories about some of the talented artists he has worked with over his career including Joe Henry and David Gray. Also, the Dan’s remember the late Gord Downie, frontman of the Tragically Hip, and pick new ‘Songs of the Week’. Continue reading →

By

The War On Drugs hit new emotional depths in “Nothing To Find” video

The War on Drugs | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

On first listen, the most noticeable thing about The War On Drugs“Nothing To Find” from recent album A Deeper Understanding is its sunny, classic rock-inspired sheen. With that lighthearted tone in mind, the song’s new music video, out now, may catch you off guard with its touching emotional depth. Continue reading →

By

Watch The War on Drugs cover Neil Young in Toronto

The War on Drugs | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

When in Toronto, cover Neil Young. At least, that must’ve been what The War on Drugs were thinking when they paid tribute to the legendary Young in his hometown with a rendition of “Like A Hurricane.” Lucky for us, the moment was captured on video, which you can watch below. Continue reading →