To tie a bow on a tremendous year that included a Grammy win and festival appearances the world around — including a headlining slot at the XPoNential Music Festival — Philly psych rockers The War on Drugs just announced their plan for a hometown, year-end extravaganza at three undisclosed locations. Continue reading →
While the night one headliners at #XPNFest were cerebral, experimental and beat-oriented, night two shifted the focus to a rock festival classic: the guitar.
Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs is a master of instrumental tone and texture, of soundscaping — as well as atmospheric lead licks that transport the band and the crowd to the stratosphere. Sturgill Simpson is more down and dirty, an adherent of country / blues riff rock tradition, but played louder and faster than most of his peers (and heroes). Together, they treated the BB&T Pavilion crowd to expansive jams, but of two very different sorts.
Fans of theWar on Drugs know that rock isn’t dead. But the long-running band, who never set out to be rock and roll saviors, has ended up as living proof of the genre’s staying power, with a Best Rock Album Grammy for 2017’s A Deeper Understanding and rapidly growing success.
As frontman Adam Granduciel discusses in-depth feature in the newest issue of Philadelphia magazine, these days he continually finds himself navigating what it means to be a rock star in 2018. The L.A.-via-Philly artist tells the magazine, in response to the recent Grammy win which wasn’t part of the award show’s televised broadcast: “There’s always been fluctuations in what is popular, what is commercial, or what is mainstream and what is kind of, like, in the moment.” But if the War on Drugs is what’s in the moment right now, Granduciel seems to be okay with that — and so are we. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 Weir, Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul, and Suzanne Vega to new voices Maggie Rogers, Sweet Spirit, and Phoebe Bridgers, Philly rooted artists The Districts, The War on Drugs, and Waxahatchee, Live at the World Cafe Vol. 43 is an expansive release. Continue reading →