Watch The War on Drugs rip through “The Ties That Bind” by Bruce Springsteen

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

It’s been a while since The War on Drugs played a hometown show.  A long while.  After the release of 2011′s Slave Ambient and before seeking refuge in the tranquil hills of Asheville, NC and the stimulating streets of New York City last year to work on new material, front man Adam Granduciel led his band through two sell-out nights at Johnny Brenda’s to ring in 2013.

Now with those shows and that album set firmly behind them, The War on Drugs are on the threshold of a new chapter with Lost in the Dream, which comes out next Tuesday.  The release will be accompanied by the band’s largest hometown headlining show to date with XPN welcoming them to Union Transfer that same night, preceeded by an already sold-out Free at Noon concert taking place tomorrow.

Before all of that happens, though, take a look back at videos of their last Philadelphia appearance, including a crowd-rapturing cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Ties That Bind,” captured by local concert videographer Pillgrim’s Progress.  Tickets are still available for the all-ages show at Union Transfer on March 18th and can be found here.  Tune into to tomorrow’s Free at Noon live on 88.5 XPN or online.

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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.

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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 →

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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

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Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company