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A 2014 retrospective with The War On Drugs

The War on Drugs
Photo by Adam Granduciel for T Magazine

It isn’t really surprising that The War On Drugs are topping so many best-of lists with this year’s Lost In the Dream. Paste. Rough Trade. SPIN. Top tastemakers around the world are praising the Philadelphia band on their third full-length effort, a follow-up to 2011′s equally mesmerizing Slave Ambient.  They sold out venues from Australia to Toronto and circled the globe once or twice, armed with two new members and a transcendent live rendering of the album’s many layers and moods.

So to celebrate a wonderful year and a wonderful record we’ve gathered together some of the band’s biggest moments; join us as we take a look back at the banner year that was 2014 for The War On Drugs.

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Listen to Marian Hill’s Daytrotter session

Marian Hill | Illustration courtesy of Daytrotter
Marian Hill | Illustration courtesy of Daytrotter
Our friends at Daytrotter have once again tapped into the new sounds of Philly with a session with Marian Hill. Featuring lead singer and songwriter Samantha Gongol and producer / songwriter Jeremy Lloyd, the duo have been on a roll lately releasing several excellent new songs including “Lips,” and “Got It.” During the session the band performed “Got It,” “Whiskey,” “Lovit,” and “One Time.” Continue reading →

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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.