Check out The War on Drugs’ new Lost in the Dream via NPR Music First Listen

LostInTheDreamPhiladelphia space rock heroes The War on Drugs release their latest LP, Lost in the Dream, next Tuesday via Secretly Canadian Records, and they’ll join us this Friday March 14th for a Free at Noon performance at World Cafe Live (RSVP here). The album is streaming in its entirety a week out from its release date via NPR Music’s first listen, and while it’s filled with gorgeous soundscaping and atmospheres, Dream has some depth to it, as NPR Music’s Jacob Ganz points out:

This is highly emotional rock that reads as low-stakes at first. It’s evocative and pleasant if you let it float by in the background, but it’s made with hooks that sink in deep if you give yourself over.

Listen to Lost in the Dream here, and stream the single “Red Eyes” below.


What’s it take to win The War on Drugs talent show? Find out in the “Red Eyes” video.

Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 11.22.39 AMPhilly space rockers The War on Drugs are often seen as unsmiling, super-serious vibe-wranglers. But they’re actually pretty funny dudes.

When they’re not getting the candid long-form profile treatment in Grantland or crafting records full of dramatic atmospheres (Lost in the Dream, their latest, comes out on Secretly Canadian on the 18th), they let their sense of humor shine through now and again. There was the hysterical and beer-addled “How to End an Argument” interview on Noisey a year and a half ago. There was the band’s basketball banter on ESPN. And now there’s this music video for “Red Eyes.”

Produced by local video crew Woodshop Films, the playful-as-heck video finds WoD-ers Robbie Bennett, Adam Granduciel, Charlie Hall and David Hartley sitting on the judges’ panel of a Gong Show-esque talent competition. The watch, nonplussed, as a magician fumbles cards, a hula-hooper dances, a sad clown stands there all sad, and a few other things before one young competitor steps to the stage and blows them away. Check it out below. War on Drugs headline Union Transfer on their album release day, March 18th. Get tickets and more information at the XPN Concert Calendar.


Snoop Dogg, Janelle Monae, The War on Drugs and Chill Moody top The Roots 7th annual Roots Picnic lineup

Now in its 7th year, The Roots Picinic will bring an eclectic array of music to Festival Pier on May 31, and the band today revealed everything you need to know about this year’s installment.

The year the legendary hip-hop crew will share the stage with Snoop Dogg (backed by The Roots), as well as Janelle Monáe, Action Bronson, A$AP Ferg, araabMUZIK, The War On Drugs, Rudimental, Jhené Aiko, Biz Markie (DJ Set), Bad Rabbits, Electric Wire Hustle, Chill Moody, Emily Wells, Roman GianArthur & more.

Get tickets when they go onsale this Friday at 10 a.m. on Ticketmaster and watch a few of the latest clips from acts on this year’s incredible lineup below.

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Matthew Shaver’s 5 Reasons Philly makes me less and less homesick

The Walkmen | Photo by Matthew Shaver |
The Walkmen on stage at Union Transfer | Photo by Matthew Shaver |

Year End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2013 awesome. In this installment, photographer extraordinaire Matthew Shaver tells us about some welcoming aspects of Philadelphia.

I moved to Philly about 3 years ago from a sleepy DC suburb in Virginia.  Having recently grown tired of the quiet life and having to drive EVERYWHERE, I wanted to live in the city.  I love DC, but that place is expensive and small, so I found an opening for a job up here.  I love Philly, and to everyone who has ever used the term “City of Brotherly Love” sarcastically, you’re doing it wrong.  I was welcomed with open arms, made a ton of friends, and got a nice little gig at an awesome radio station taking pictures of live acts to keep me warm at night.  I do miss home, though, but the longer I’m here, the more this feels like where I was meant to be, and here are 5 of the big reasons why this year was better than the last:

1. New HipCityVeg:  Nicole and the staff are amazing.  As someone that likes their vegetarianism without an ounce of pretentiousness, I couldn’t be happier with the experiences I’ve had there.  The opening of a new spot in University City and a new bar venue coming means that she is tightening her grip on the city, and giving me more and more places to sit and eat comfortably. Continue reading →


The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Katie Frank, The War on Drugs, City Rain

Photo by Caitlin McCann |
Photo by Caitlin McCann |

Local roots outfit Levee Drivers stopped by for this week’s Key Studio Session.  The band recorded their signature 2008 track “Tennessee Girl” that all fans know and love, but surrounded it with brand new songs from their latest Live at East Coast Recording EP.  Stream and download “Bourbon Coated” below and get the full set here.

Electro-pop duo City Rain have released a new song from their upcoming Songs From a High School Dance LP.  ”Mama I Want to Come Home” is a move in a new direction for City Rain with its slow tempo and gentle acoustic guitar base, but it still sparkles and builds in the classic City Rain style.  Stream and download the song below.
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My Morning Download (bonus edition): “Red Eyes” by The War On Drugs (XPN Welcomes to Union Transfer 3/18)

Photo courtesy of artist
Photo by Dusdin Condren

Two days ago the War On Drugs announced details about their new album, Lost In The Dream. With it came word of a tour, and a hometown album release show here in Philly on at Union Transfer on Tuesday, March 18th, the day of the new album’s release. “Red Eyes” was named “Best New Track” by Pitchfork, writer Jeremy Larson sums it up succinctly:

Fighting against something between heartbreak and keeping the car running, Granduciel sings, “I would keep you here, but I can’t,” with that same kind of heroic melancholy that Petty and Dylan mastered back in the day.

Below, download “Red Eyes,” available for 24 hours only.

Under The Pressure
Red Eyes
An Ocean In Between The Waves
Eyes To The Wind
The Haunting Idle
Lost In The Dream
In Reverse

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company

The War on Drugs announce new album details and single, playing a record release show at Union Transfer on 3/18

The War on Drugs | Photo by John Vettese

Local dream rock frontrunners The War on Drugs have announced that their new record, Lost in the Dream, will be released on March 18th accompanied by a release show at Union Transfer.  ”Red Eyes” is our first glimpse of the third full-length from the band, and it’s a beautiful and energized track that sounds like a natural progression from 2011′s exceptional Slave Ambient.

The song layers hazy synths and a driving piano line with fast-paced and nervy energy in the drums that foreshadows an epic build long before the song takes that turn.  Front man Adam Granduciel’s unmistakable melodic guitar playing and vocals are not at all static, echoing and distorting and moving up and down in the mix the way someone speaking in a dream might.  Tickets and info for the hometown record release show will be available here.  Stream “Red Eyes” below.


Explore Philadelphia with Dave Hartley and BlackBook Magazine

Photo by Dominic Neitz |

Dave Hartley is a man of many roles. He’s the versatile bassist who performs regularly with The War on Drugs, and has joined the Lindsey Buckingham Appreciation Society, and Buried Beds on occasion. He’s the sonic mastermind behind Nightlands. He’s the scribe behind Top of The Key. Adding to this ever-growing list, you could now call Hartley a civic and cultural ambassador for the City of Philadelphia. The twelve-year resident recently took the folks at BlackBook Magazine out of Brooklyn and on a tour of Philadelphia, stopping at popular locals Letoah’s Coffee, Miner Street Recording, Loco Pez and more. Add into the mix a collection of stunning portraits by photographer Dominic Neitz and it’s a rich and multi-sensory look at our fair city. (I can almost smell the basil in the Pizza Brain photo.) Get a look at the article here.


Steven A. Clark gets in the studio with members of The War on Drugs, Man Man and Ava Luna for Shaking Through

Going big for 2013′s first Shaking Through video, Weathervane Music called in Secretly Canadian / Jagjaguwar / Dead Oceans founder Chris Swanson to curate Volume 4 Episode 1.  Swanson took the opportunity in an experimental direction, bringing North Carolina hip hop artist Steven A. Clark together with local musicians to create a scenario not often encountered in the hip hop world.  Clark, who usually is a one man band, was backed by The War on Drugs‘ Dave Hartley (bass) and Robbie Bennett (keyboard) with Man Man‘s Chris Powell on drums and Ava Luna‘s Becca Kauffman and Felicia Douglass providing additional vocals.  From the Shaking Through website:

Fayetteville NC’s Steven A. Clark is something of a “bedroom R&B” artist. Until that sunny day in late September, he had barely worked with others, and he certainly had little experience fronting a group of actual musicians. He arrived at Miner Street Recordings that morning with no instrument in hand, no cases full of equipment – just his song, “Bounty” and a voice to sing it.

Watch the episode below and download “Bounty” from Shaking Through’s Bandcamp page here.

Shaking Through: Recording Steven A. Clark from Weathervane Music on Vimeo.


Watch Dave Hartley and Robbie Bennett of The War on Drugs play “Venus in Furs” with John Cale

This must have been something like a dream come true. Dave Hartley, bassist for The War on Drugs and frontman for Nightlands, joined his keyboard-playing WoD compatriot Robbie Bennett to sit with John Cale‘s backing band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. They played a song from Cale’s recent LP Shifty Adventures in the Nookie Wood, “I Wanna Talk 2 U” (which was not written by Prince, far as we can tell), and they dusted off the Velvet Underground classic “Venus in Furs.” Watch “Venus” below, see “I Wanna Talk To U” here. Nightlands is releasing its sophomore album Oak Island this month, and celebrating with a show at Kung Fu Necktie on Saturday, January 26. Tickets and information on it can be found at the WXPN concert calendar.