Posts Tagged ‘The War on Drugs’

Kurt Vile kicks back in the Catskills before the release of his seventh solo album, 'Bottle It In.'

Kurt Vile an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. He is known for his solo work and as the former lead guitarist of the rock band The War on Drugs, both in the studio and during live performances, Vile is now accompanied by his backing band, The Violators, which currently includes Jesse Trbovich (bass, guitar, saxophone), Rob Laakso (guitar, bass) and Kyle Spence (drums).

Influenced by bands like Pavement, Neil Young, Tom Petty, and John Fahey.  Kurt Vile began his musical career creating lo-fi home recordings with frequent collaborator Adam Granduciel in Philadelphia, with whom he has participated in early work by The War on Drugs as well as various solo projects. Focusing on his solo career, Vile released two albums, “Constant Hitmaker” (2008) and “God Is Saying This to You..”. (2009), compiling various home recordings dating back to 2003. Vile signed to Matador Records in 2009, and released his third album, “Childish Prodigy”, that same year. The album was his first recorded in a studio and with the full participation of The Violators.  “I’ve always been prolific,” he says. “It just took me until I was 29 for someone to actually put my music out.”

In 2011, Vile released his fourth studio album, Smoke Ring for My Halo, which significantly increased his exposure. His fifth studio album, Wakin on a Pretty Daze, was released in 2013, with Laakso replacing Granduciel in his backing band. In 2015, Vile released his sixth studio album, b’lieve I’m goin down…. The lead single from the album was, “Pretty Pimpin”Vile’s best performing song to date,  His project in 2017 saw him release “Lotta Sea Lice”, a collaboration with Australian singer and guitarist songwriter Courtney Barnett.

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The War on Drugs (2003–2008)

In 2003, after staying in “Boston” for two years, Vile moved back to Philadelphia and began collaborating with musician and songwriter Adam Granduciel The duo subsequently formed the Indie rock band “The War on Drugs  in 2005. Regarding his friendship with Granduciel, Vile noted, “We’re essentially best friends. He was backing me up in my band when he started working on his own music, so I thought I’d return the favor.” Granduciel and Vile released their debut studio album, “Wagonwheel Blues” in 2008 and embarked on a tour in support of its release.

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Constant Hitmaker (2008)

At this time, Vile’s debut solo album,“Constant Hitmaker” (2008), released on “Gulcher Records” Vile subsequently decided to leave The War on Drugs to concentrate on his solo career. The album was compiled from various home recordings and one studio recording of the song “Freeway”. In 2009, Vile noted, The War On Drugs got put out on a bigger label first, so, in the some claim that The War on Drugs was my first, main band. But that’s just the way it looks. I’ve made more music than Adam has, and have been doing my Kurt Vile thing for a little bit longer. And Constant Hitmaker came out around that same time. Right when that [War on Drugs] record came out, I went to Europe with them, and also opened as Kurt Vile. That was right when I decided I wanted to concentrate on doing my own thing. Despite Vile’s departure, Granduciel remained a member of his backing band, The Violators, with Granduciel noting, “There was never, despite what lazy journalists have assumed, any sort of falling out, or resentment.

Constant Hitmaker the debut studio album by American musician“Kurt Vile” released in 2008 on Gulcher Records”  and Woodsist. Self-produced, and recorded between 2003 and 2007, the album is primarily composed of lo-fi home recordings that Vile had previously issued on “CD-R”

Following the album’s release, Vile stated that Constant Hitmaker is “like a Best-of, sort of, but leaning toward the “Psychedelic pop”stuff, kind of my later material.”

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God Is Saying This to You. (2009)

In April 2009, Mexican Summer released “God Is Saying This to You..”.; a collection of Vile’s home recordings dating back to 2003 on vinyl only. Upon its release, Vile had already recorded a studio album, Childish Prodigy, which Vile described as “definitely not as lo-fi” as his previous releases, After shopping the record to various labels, Vile signed with Matador Records in May 2009. Vile noted, “It’s a perfect fit. They were my number one choice. I don’t really consider my music indie rock or think that Matador cater only to indie rock, but I still feel I can relate most to Matador, more than any other label. Not to mention the fact that they are way on top of their shit.”

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Childish Prodigy (2009)

Recorded with backing band The Violators, “Childish Prodigy” was released on October 6th, 2009, and increased Vile’s exposure significantly. Support slots with Dinosaur Jr, Thurston Moore and Fucked Up followed the album’s release. Regarding his new position, Vile stated, “Obviously there’s more touring, more press and more hype which I won’t say is not deserved. There’s like a faction of people, too, who like to talk shit, which is kind of new. When I was more independent, there were people who got really excited and there still are but once I got more press people started to comment on blogs. People like to talk shit. […] It’s like climbing a ladder. I like to climb it really slowly. I could probably get really professional right away, but I like to take baby steps and find my own way.”

Philadelphia guitarist / vocalist Kurt Vile first came to music enthusiasts’ attention with the release of 2008’s ‘Constant Hitmaker’ on the gulcher imprint. the homemade hitmaker (also reissued on vinyl through woodsist) was a psych pop gem. his debut Matador album, ‘Childish Prodigy’ ups the fidelity only a little. this absorbing, addictive and richly detailed album covers an immense amount of ground compared to its predecessor, from the pounding stomp of ‘Hunchback’ and the hypnotic beat of ‘Freak Train’ to the unexpected, soaring trumpet in ‘Amplifier.’

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Smoke Ring For My Halo (2011)

Vile released his fourth studio album, “Smoke Ring for My Halo”, in 2011. The album peaked midway in the charts and was placed highly on many end-of-year lists, and in 2013 it was named at number 475 in NME’s ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’  Later in 2011, Vile released a companion EP, So Outta Reach, and appeared on his former band The War on Drugs‘ second studio album, Slave Ambient. Shortly after the release of Smoke Ring for My Halo, longtime Violators guitarist Adam Granduciel departed from the band to fully focus on The War on Drugs, with Vile noting, “Adam, he plays in The War on Drugs, his record came out a little after mine did, so at first he toured, and now he’s obviously busy with that and now he’s working on his new record.

The deluxe double cd version of ‘Smoke Ring for My Halo’ comes with a new colour cover. the deluxe cd includes the ‘So Outta Reach’ ep on a second disc. the ep contains 5 original songs initially recorded during the sessions for ‘Smoke Ring for My Halo’ album but not used , which were reworked with producer John Agnello this summer. in addition, the ep contains a cover of Springsteen’s ‘Downbound Train.’ the Philadelphia singer / songwriter  returns with his second proper album (2008’s ‘Childish Prodigy’ was a compendium of sorts). It’s a gorgeously layered record. ranging from the tender breezy folk in ‘Jesus Fever’ to the tuff urban guitar riff of ‘Puppet to the Man’ Vile’s distinctive philly-accented vocal ties together a sweeping and evocative project – a true american psychedelic folk album. this is no pastoral listening experience however – when Vile sings, ‘society is my friend: he makes me lie down in a cool bloodbath’ he sounds both exhausted and distanced from the ringing harmonics of his guitar and Mike Zanghi’s pounding drums. even the gentler songs, such as ‘On Tour’ and ‘Baby’s Arms’ have a distinctly dark lyrical tone. the closest that Vile gets to some kind of acceptance is in the central track, the rueful ‘in my time’ “i know when we get older, i’m dying, but i got everything i need here now, and that’s fine, now… that’s fine. recorded at the Magic Shop , the album is a massive step forward for one of the country’s most beloved (not least by other musicians) rock songwriters.

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Wakin On A Pretty Daze (2013)

“Wakin on a Pretty Daze” was released on April 9th, 2013. Regarding the current line-up of his backing band, Vile noted, “I’m playing with Jesse [Trbovich] and Rob [Laakso]. […] Rob Laakso is the newest member and Jesse has been a member forever. They’re steady members. Our drummer is no longer with us, but other than that, different friends played drums on the record and we’re doing rehearsals with that right now. But other than that, the Violators are me, Jesse, and Rob and we’ll see how it evolves.” Priestess drummer Vince Nudo subsequently joined the band on drums and percussion, after performing on two of Wakin on a Pretty Dazes tracks.

Steve Gunn joined the band as an “auxiliary Violator“, during the band’s May 2013 tour dates, with Vile noting, “It’s impossible to just talk about Steve. He’s too good! He’s so good; just listen to him. What can I even say about him that touches that? I just want to listen to him.”

On September 24th, 2013, Vile announced the release of a new EP, “It’s a Big World Out There (And I Am Scared)”, and also a deluxe edition of “Wakin on a Pretty Daze”.

Kurt Vile is slowly, quietly becoming one of the great American guitarists and songwriters, of our time. This 69-minute double album is comprised of sweeping, expansive songs that are both very intimate and conversational. Wakin On A Pretty Daze is a timeless record that would have sounded great 30 years ago, sounds great today, and will still sound great in another 30 years’ from now. Beautifully produced by John Agnello, the record is filled with hazy, swooning guitar lines and dreamy, beatific, and occasionally sardonic vocals. It is summed up by the staggeringly gorgeous 9-minute opener, Wakin On A Pretty Day. The record has other connections to Kurt’s home town. Steve Powers (ESPO), the renowned Philly street artist, painted the cover mural on an abandoned building near the Northern Liberties. The album is being announced via a mini-doc of Powers creating the mural with Kurt’s commentary, and the two of them talking about Philadelphian music and visual arts. The mural will be re-created in London, Los Angeles and New York. First edition CD housed in a mini-gatefold like the LP cover,

Kurt Vile | Steve Gunn (Released July 14th 2017)

Kurt Vile and Steve Gunn collaborated for their contributions to Three Lobed Recording’s Parallelogram series. The two artists, originally connected by mutual friends and geographic proximity, have long pushed the other’s continued artistic development. Despite sharing many live stages over the years, this installation of Parallelogram represents the first time that the two have worked together in the studio. Vile’s side sees him recast tracks by John Prine (“Way Back When”) and Randy Newman (“Pretty Boys,” featuring some truly electric guitar flourishes from Gunn) as if they were KV originals. The theme of reinvention continues with Vile tearing through a solo banjo rendition of his “Red Apples” (originally from his “God Is Saying This To You…” LP), retitled here as “Red Apples For Tom Scharpling.” Gunn takes on a late period Nico track, “60/40,” and pulls a lysergic rocker out of the track’s goth-ish roots. The bulk of Gunn’s contribution is the epically winding “Spring Garden,” a track in the vein of some of his other long-form guitar excursions. Featuring signature contributions from Vile and Mary Lattimore, this hypnotizing cut is unmistakably a new classic in Gunn’s catalog.

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b’lieve i’m goin down… (2015–2017)

On March 6th, 2015, Vile announced that he was working on his sixth studio album, with recording taking place across different locations in the United States. “b’lieve i’m goin down..”. was released September 25th, 2015, on Matador Records. Vile has described it as “All over the place. Everything you can imagine I’ve done… That’s where I’m at now, that I can sort of tap into every world and make it cohesive.

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Whole Lotta Sea Lice with Courtney Barnett

The new album’s writing and recording stretched out over many months, during which time he also made another full-length LP with his friend Courtney Barnett (2017’s delightful Whole Lotta Sea Lice) and attempted to finish a film score he’s since abandoned. About a year ago, feeling overwhelmed by all the demands on his time, Vile delayed the release of Bottle It In from spring 2018 to October 12th. If he hadn’t, he says, “I was prepared to have a serious breakdown. Pretty normal.”

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Bottle It In  (2018)

On Bottle It In, Vile does his best to come back to earth. If his last solo record was a dark, lonely night of the soul, this one feels more like a friendly jam session with his longtime backing band, the Violators (multi-instrumentalists Rob Laakso and Jesse Trbovich, plus drummer Kyle Spence). Beneath the easygoing charm of its surface, though, Bottle It In is an album with serious ambitions. On highlights like “One Trick Ponies” and “Loading Zones,” he sounds like he’s simultaneously swinging for another modern-rock hit and searching for an inner peace that’s just beyond his grasp. Among the songs Vile recorded with Everett is Bottle It In‘s nine-minute-plus centerpiece, “Bassackwards,” a slow-burn psychedelic dream with an undercurrent of dread. In part, he tells me, it’s a song about his fears for the future in a time of global warming and skyrocketing hate. “The world is backwards as fuck right now,” he says.

Vile is also featured on the song “Let Me Get There” and Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions” released in 2016.

Vile sings lead vocals on The Sadies song “It’s Easy (Like Walking)” on their 2017 album Northern Passages.

In 2017, Vile and Courtney Barnett recorded the collaborative album “Lotta Sea Lice” , released on October 13th. The lead single “Over Everything” was released on August 30th, 2017 accompanied by the music video directed by Danny Cohen.

In 2018, Vile announced his seventh solo studio album, “Bottle It In”, due for release on October 12th, 2018.

Check out the these EP’s
The Hunchback
Square Shells
So Outta Reach
It’s a Big World Out There (And I Am Scared)

The Philadelphia sextet layer guitars and keyboards into a reverb-soaked swirl, landing at their trademark sweet spot of New Wave and heartland rock. Frontman Adam Granduciel croons abstract imagery about wires, falling dominos and “a demon at a doorway waiting to be born.” The track concludes with an atmospheric guitar that stretches out for nearly two minutes.

“Pain” is one of two songs the band tracked almost entirely live as a unit on their first night working with engineer Shawn Everett in Los Angeles. The band, utilizing this organic recording style, aimed to make A Deeper Understanding more of a true “band record.”

The War on Drugs previously previewed the LP, came out August 25th, with lead single “Holding On” and album tracks “Thinking of a Place” and “Strangest Thing.” The band  performed “Pain” in August on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

The War On Drugs set to release new single 'Holding On'

The War On Drugs released single ‘Holding On’ as the Philadelphia-born band ramp up excitement around their latest album. Everything got bigger for The War On Drugs in 2017. If ever the “indie-rock” label fit these Philly daydreamers, they’ve shed the qualifier to become one of America’s leading rock acts, period. It wasn’t just their fan base that grew this year: A Deeper Understanding feels built for big crowds, from the dreamy, 11-minute sprawl of “Thinking Of A Place” to genuine song-of-the-year candidate “Strangest Thing,” which builds and builds to multiple crescendos, slathering some stadium-sized riffs over its infectious hook, soaring synths, and frontman Adam Granduciel’s mythically romantic musings.

The standouts would conquer the charts in a more guitar-dominated era, but as with any other War On Drugs release, the pleasures here are cumulative—this is a richly enveloping listen, front to melancholy back. As for the bugaboo of influence: A Deeper Understanding doesn’t dispel the Dylan and Springsteen comparisons The War On Drugs has been provoking since back when Kurt Vile was still with the band.

Having released the track “Thinking Of A Place” for Record Store Day 2017their first new music since their acclaimed 2014 album Lost In A Dream, The War On Drugs have kept their cards close to their chest in regards to the record . “I kept thinking about an LA record and what that means,” frontman Adam Granduciel told said in an interview with Pitchfork. “To me, it means the second Warren Zevon record, but it could also mean Tonight’s The Night. Then I threw my hands in the air and just wanted to make a record with my friends, wherever that may be.”

For much of the three and a half year period since the release of Lost In The Dream, The War On Drugs‘ frontman, Adam Granduciel, led the charge for his Philadelphia-based sextet as he holed up in studios in New York and Los Angeles to write, record, edit, and tinker-but, above all, to busy himself in work. Teaming up with engineer Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, Weezer), Granduciel challenged the notion of what it means to create a fully realized piece of music in today’s modern landscape. Calling on his bandmates – bassist Dave Hartley, keyboarding Robbie Bennett, drummer Charlie Hall and multi-instrumentalists Anthony LaMarca and Jon Natchez — continuously throughout the process, the result is a “band record” in the noblest sense, featuring collaboration, coordination, and confidence at every turn. Through those years of relocation, the revisiting and reexamining of endless hours of recordings, unbridled exploration and exuberance, Granduciel’s gritty love of his craft succeeded in pushing the band to great heights.

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When Adam Granduciel croons “He never gonna change; he never gonna learn,” it’s vague, like the best Americana lyrics, easy to try on like a coat in the mirror of Goodwill, it fits just right. You can imagine the War on Drugs changing, but don’t count on it. When he sings “Now I’m headed down a different road,” its obvious that he isn’t talking about music or writing choices. The War on Drugs are here to stay, wearing in this sound like a butt groove on a 1970’s leather couch. Granduciel still sings like Bob Dylan, and rocks like Bruce Springsteen. In every promo photo he looks like he just smoked a pack of Marlboros in his worn-in jeans and is ready for an apple pie. He is as American as the long dusty highways and grain filled horizons his songs emulate. This one in particular, like the best songs on his last two records, spends its energy in an exercise in repetition and consistency.

The War on Drugs performs “Holding On” live at Electric Lady Studios Recorded 6/6/17

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A young punk and a green giant hit the road in the goofy yet poignant new video for the War on Drugs“Nothing to Find.” The track appears on the Philadelphia outfit’s new album, A Deeper Understanding.

Still riding the momentum from the recent release of their acclaimed fourth album A Deeper Understanding, The War on Drugs have shared the video for “Nothing to Find,” starring young actress Sophia Lillis (of IT fame), who embarks on a road trip with some sort of plant covered alien and car. Throughout the journey, Lillis’ character tries to keep her mate trimmed and watered, but no amount of care can stave off the inevitable march of nature. As the sun falls, the green giant – many of his leaves now brown – collapses to the ground. When Lillis’ character wakes up the next morning, her partner has returned to the earth, leaving a lone branch in her arms.

‘A Deeper Understanding,’ the new album from The War On Drugs, available now.

 

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It doesn’t take a musicologist to detect the influence of Dylan on Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs. When he sings, Granduciel leans into a line with the same needling inflections as Bob, aping his world-weary wheeze as well. The music Granduciel writes can’t help but make you think of another Dylan-devotee Mark Knopfler.

The War on Drugs explores the dreamy realms Dire Straits once roamed. The songs tend to last long—at least six minutes a piece, and up to eleven on the new album—luxuriating in sumptuous production, gripping melodies and guitars that glisten. Granduciel has been honing his valorized view of classic rock over four albums now, culminating in the new . He formed his band in Philadelphia in 2005, though they didn’t release their debut until three years later. The disc, titled , Wagon Wheel Blues glazed through an ambient haze. Granduciel has been clarifying his sound ever since. The latest album, the band’s first on a major label, shows the escalating budget in the lush production.

It also focuses Granduciel approach to his guitar. In his recordings, he favors sustained notes and repeated refrains over the more elaborate extensions he allows live. Luckily, the parts he writes for his sterling instrument have enough urgency to make his repetitions hypnotic. Some songs feature freer guitar work and a faster pace, like “Holding On” , with its bossy bass, and fleet drums. But more often the music holds to a measured beat and a cowed mood, mirroring lyrics that explore what Granduciel calls “the space between the beauty and the pain.”

Still riding the momentum from this recent release and their acclaimed fourth album A Deeper Understanding, The War on Drugs have shared the video for “Nothing to Find,” starring young actress Sophia Lillis (of IT fame), who embarks on a road trip with some sort of plant man.

Directed by Ben Fee, the offbeat video “presents the bittersweet story of two friends on a not-so-classic road trip adventure,” per a press release, following Lillis’ character and Plant Man as they commit petty theft, commune with nature, shoot pool and have a dance party, until eventually Plant Man falls ill and returns to the earth. For all its sweetness, the video is awfully sobering: Whether plant or person, we all have our time, it reminds us—or as Adam Granduciel sings, “There is nothing I can do if I am going away.” But the video’s closing moments, which we won’t spoil for you here, offer a glimmer of hope for what we may find in the hereafter.

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The War On Drugs have ready for release a new album tiltled “A Deeper Understanding” its due out on August 25th via Atlantic Records, their first for the label (previously they were on Secretly Canadian). Now the band has shared the album’s six-minute long glorious opening track, “Up All Night.” They have now shared five tracks from the album, which is half the album.

Previously The War on Drugs had shared the 11-minute long A Deeper Understanding cut (and Record Store Day single) “Thinking Of A Place” . Then they shared another song from the album,  “Holding On” and then went onto perform the song on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.  Then the band shared two other songs from the album, the atmospheric slow-burner “Strangest Thing” and the expansive “Pain”. The band have also recently covered Warren Zevon’s ” Accidently Like A Martyr”  recorded for a Spotify session.

The War on Drugs‘ main creative force Adam Granduciel worked on the album in studios in New York and Los Angeles, with help from engineer Shawn Everett (Alabama Shakes, Weezer). Other members of the band (bassist Dave Hartley, keyboardist Robbie Bennett, drummer Charlie Hall, and multi-instrumentalists Anthony LaMarca and Jon Natchez) were also involved in the recordings from time to time and thus a press release calls A Deeper Understanding “a ‘band record’ in the noblest sense, featuring collaboration, coordination, and confidence at every turn.”

Official audio for The War On Drugs “Up All Night”
‘A Deeper Understanding,’ the new album from The War On Drugs,

 Adam Granduciel and his band The War On Drugs keeping upping the ante with each quality track they release in anticipation of their new album next month; most recently with the release of the latest single, “Strangest Thing.” The War On Drugs frontman  appears to be in a thoughful mood with this track taken off of their newest album,”A Deeper Understanding,” scheduled for release via major label, Atlantic Records due August 25th.

Look out for the pride of Philly to hit the road come September for an extensive run of dates.

2015 Landmark Music Festival - Day 1

Three years after 2014’s standout album “Lost In The Dream” Philadelphia favorites The War On Drugs are looking for new terrain. Spinning classic riffs into a haze of classic radio rock, the band has long locked-in on a lush, guitar synth-drenched formula spanning their trio of past releases on the indie label Secretly Canadian Records. But then signed to a major label and unveiled a new single “Thinking Of A Place” the band seems set on something bigger this time.

The second track from their forthcoming album A Deeper Understanding, “Holding On” stretches the band’s meditative formula into a 6-minute track starts with a splash of stoned synths, quickly teasing in slide guitar and glockenspiel cut straight from Springsteen-esqe Born to Run or Tunnel of Love.

Adam Granduciel voice has the haunting low-end grovel, which slaps against the staccato bassline with a bright, up-beat bounce. As the chorus hits, the track ascends to a soaring, anthemic spiral with voice and guitar overlapping in a messy, monophonic ecstasy.

What once began as a bit of a simple “Springsteen plus reverb” punchline, the band has now expanded the palette into something transformative and newly striking.  ‘A Deeper Understanding,’ the new album from The War On Drugs, available soon

Three years after 2014’s standout Lost in the Dream, Philadelphia favorites The War On Drugs are looking for new terrain. Spinning classic riffs into a melancholic haze of classic radio rock, the band has long locked-in on a lush, synth-drenched formula spanning their trio of past releases on the indie label Secretly Canadian. But after signing to a major and unveiling their dreamy and crystalline new single “Thinking of a Place,”  the band seems set on something bigger this time.

The second track from their forthcoming album A Deeper Understanding, “Holding On” stretches the band’s meditative formula into crisp, streamlined hi-fi. The 6-minute track starts with a splash of stoned synths, quickly teasing in slide guitar and glockenspiel cut straight from Born to Run or Tunnel of Love. Adam Granduciel voice has the haunting low-end grovel, which slaps against the staccato bassline with a bright, up-beat bounce. As the chorus hits, the track ascends to a soaring, anthemic spiral with voice and guitar overlapping in a messy, monophonic ecstasy.

What once began as a bit of a simple “Springsteen plus reverb” punchline, the band has now expanded the palette into something transformative and newly striking. Years after 2011’s Slave Ambient betrayed its namesake with a liberating hypnogogia, “Holding On” lets go of the past with an elegy of mutating soundscapes.  But as it slowly drops back into its last wisps of spectral echo, the track pangs with something familiar, the future taking shape through reflective introspection.

Our new album ‘A Deeper Understanding’ is officially arriving on August 25th, 2017. Listen to ‘Holding On’ now.

Following the release of 2014’s excellent album release “Lost In The Dream” , Philly rockers the War On Drugs signed a two-album deal with Atlantic Records . Now, after a few years of silence barring a lone Grateful Dead cover , Adam Granduciel and co. are finally set to reveal what they’ve been working on at their new label home. The band confirmed today on Twitter that they’ll be releasing a new 12″ on Record Store Day (4/22) featuring a song called “Thinking Of A Place.” That’s the artwork above.

Side A has part one of the single, and side B has part two.

RECORD STORE DAY IS THIS SATURDAY!