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Adam Granduciel shares a year in photos with The New York Times

Adam Granduciel
Photo by Adam Granduciel for T Magazine

During the whirlwind year that has been 2014 for The War on Drugs, frontman Adam Granduciel managed to balance his love of performing with his love of photographing.  In a new feature with T: The New York Times Style Magazine, the Philadelphia resident shares a collection of pictures he took while circling the globe with his Lost In the Dream bandmates. Continue reading →

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The War On Drugs talk about music, performing and life in Philadelphia with Minneapolis’ The Current

The War on Drugs | Photo by Nate Ryan via thecurrent.org
The War on Drugs | Photo by Nate Ryan via thecurrent.org

Philadelphia space rock heroes The War On Drugs recently performed on air for The Current in Minneapolis and talked about their latest album, Lost In A Dream. The band has been recognized on the national level for bringing enormous energy to the stage – something that radio host, Jill O’Reilly, notes right off the bat.

The interview ensues with playful banter from frontman Adam Granduciel and spot-on performances from their album, including “An Ocean In Between the Waves” and “Eyes to the Wind”. Granduciel also takes time to elaborate on some of the qualities of Philadelphia that drew him to make the move there from Massachusetts. Continue reading →

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Watch The War on Drugs jam with Kurt Vile at Johnny Brenda’s

The War on Drugs | Photo by John Vettese
The War on Drugs | Photo by John Vettese

I remember a time, not too long ago, when Philly space rock luminaries The War on Drugs could comfortably fit all their gear on the stage at Johnny Brenda’s with room to spare. But as their sound and scope has expanded, so has their spatial footprint, and I found myself at the foot of the Fishtown venue on Friday night, looking at the dozens of pedals cabled together and a veritable fortresses of keyboards, of amps and microphones and Charlie Hall’s drumkit tucked way back into the corner, wondering to myself how the heck this was going to work. Thankfully, the dudes pulled it off tremendously, and had enough room for founding member Kurt Vile to join the band for guitar shreddery on “Under the Pressure,” “Arms Like Boulders” and “I Hear You Calling.” Continue reading →

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Where do The War on Drugs like to eat and drink when they’re home in Philly?

Photo by Rachel Barrish
Photo by Rachel Barrish

Music, food and culture app Supper recently sat down with The War on Drugs’ Robbie Bennett and Dave Hartley, to talk about their favorite places to eat and listen to music in Philly. They recommend spots from Chestnut Hill to West Philly and of course show some love for the burgers at Johnny Brenda’s.  To hear more reccommendationss from the band read the full article over on Supper here.

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Watch The War on Drugs perform “Red Eyes” on Letterman

The War on Drugs | photo by Mark Schaffer
The War on Drugs | photo by Mark Schaffer

Before heading overseas for a summer of European and UK festival dates, The War on Drugs stopped by the Late Show with David Letterman last night.  The Philadelphia band performed a killer version of “Red Eyes” from this year’s Lost in the Dream LP, accompanied by Late Show house band leader Paul Schaffer.  Check out the video below.

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The Roots Picnic brings an inspired musical frenzy to the Festival Pier

The Roots and Snoop Dogg | Photo by Mark Schaffer
The Roots and Snoop Dogg | Photo by Mark Schaffer

The anticipation behind this year’s Roots Picnic could have easily evolved into a self-fulfilling letdown of high expectations gone unfulfilled. Fortunately for the sold-out crowd of over 6,000, the day met every benchmark for a phenomenal musical experience.

With the newly-renovated and sand-strewn Festival Pier as its home base, the all-day festival boasted an eclectic line-up of both upstart and established acts of various genres. All acts shared the Questlove seal of approval, bearing a heavy emphasis on rhythm and sunny-day vibes.

Janelle Monae | Photo by Mark Schaffer
Janelle Monae | Photo by Mark Schaffer

Although every act of the day put on a frenzy-whipping set (the strongest of them being, arguably, a sunset-backed and pitch-perfect Janelle Monáe), there were a few noteworthy highlights:

-    An inspiring group of sets in the first half of the festival (prior to most attendees’ arrival) with particularly strong ones from New Zealand RnB group Electric Wire Hustle, hip-hop/classical sequence-loops master Emily Wells, blues-rock guitarist and singer Roman Gianarthur (including soulful covers of Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady” and Radiohead’s “High and Dry”), West Philly’s own Chill Moody, and British drum-and-bass act Rudimental (during which this reporter felt bass shocks that almost stopped his heartbeat)

-    Guest appearances from Philly’s own Freeway and Harlem’s Jim Jones during a DJ set from legendary producer Just Blaze, with Freeway performing State Property hits like “Roc da Mic

The War on Drugs | Photo by Mark Schaffer
The War on Drugs | Photo by Mark Schaffer

-    A searing performance from WXPN favorites The War on Drugs, during which frontman Adam Granduciel gave Program Director Bruce Warren a heartwarming shoutout (referring to him as “The Other Boss”)

-    The aforementioned strongest set of the day, starting with The Electric Lady herself being wheeled out on a stretcher in a straitjacket before tearing through most of her hits with uncompromising intensity

-    The Roots (post-Snoop Dogg) bringing out Doug E. Fresh, Biz Markie, and former member Rahzel for an epic rendition of several popular songs showcasing all three of their legendary beatboxing.

Check out photos from the day’s festivities, taken by local musician and photographer Mark Schaffer, in the gallery below.

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Six artists to watch at the 7th Annual Roots Picnic

Photo of Rudimental at Made In America by Dana Distortion via http://www.spin.com/gallery/made-in-america-fest-2013-spins-best-live-photos/
Photo of Rudimental at Made In America by Dana Distortion via http://www.spin.com/gallery/made-in-america-fest-2013-spins-best-live-photos/

Stories of old gigs from The Roots are the stuff of legend around Philadelphia. Throw a stone and you’re bound to hit a Gen-X music lover with memories (perhaps false ones) of surprise shows at now-defunct Old City venues and happenstance Questlove sightings at Northern Liberties brunch spots. These stories might be all that is left of a bygone era in which The Roots helped shape the sonic and ideological imprint of left-of-center hip-hop culture, all the while centering it in a series of extinct local hot spots.

Well, not all that’s left. They may have abandoned a rigorous touring regimen for late night glory, but Quest and co. remain committed to creating awesome moments of cross-genre delight and enlightenment for Philadelphians of all stripes. The clearest definition of this mission statement – one which has followed them into numerous genre-bending albums and collaborations – is the annual Roots Picnic, the 7th installment of which goes down at Festival Pier this Saturday. Few festivals pack such an eclectic and kinetic punch in a small, relatively inexpensive experience. While this year’s lineup is one of its strongest yet, we here at The Key have our eye on a few artists (including some lesser-known ones) who have had especially fascinating years and promise tremendous sets on Saturday.

The Roots

At the risk of sounding obvious, we’ll say that any set from The Roots is bound to set the mood for a day of gleeful head-nodding. Their reputation as a live act, honed through nearly two decades of constant touring and five years of sequence-scoring for Jimmy Fallon, is well-established. With the recent release of the excellent …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, the band also promises to deliver some searing live renditions of their epic new material.

Janelle Monáe

The first Made in America festival got a lot of mixed reviews from local concertgoers who were mired in large-scale and largely acceptable skepticism about how a festival of that scale would play out on the Parkway. Unanimous praise was saved, however, for Janelle Monáe’s classic soul-rooted, futuristically-oriented brand of music. After near-unanimous praise for her latest album, 2013’s The Electric Lady, the aptly named Electric Lady promises a solid set of fanciful festivity.

The War on Drugs

At least one prominent Roots Picnic slot is reserved for a buzzworthy indie act who, like The Roots, looks to bridge aesthetic boundaries instead of reinforcing them. Philly’s own The War on Drugs, riding on the success of this year’s acclaimed and dreamscape-y Lost in the Dream, fill big shoes left by genre benders like Vampire Weekend and TV on the Radio. But if their unique take on shoegaze-meets-Americana has a perfect home anywhere, it’s at an open air concert along their hometown’s emblematic waterfront.

Continue reading →

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Revisit The War on Drugs’ Free at Noon set, hear them on World Cafe today

photo by Rachel Del Sordo
photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Last month, Philly space rock heroes The War on Drugs played their very first show in support of the acclaimed new album Lost in the Dream at WXPN’s Free at Noon concert. Today, some of those songs will show up in the band’s World Cafe interview with David Dye – which you can tune in to here at 2 p.m. ET. Below, get psyched by listening to the entire Free at Noon set, and perusing an album of photos from the show. The War on Drugs return to Philly on May 31st to play the Roots Picnic; tickets and info on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.