Leigh MichaelThursday,11 July 2013

The Snap:

The band is the brainchild of Kurt Vile and  Adam Granduciel, who formed it together back in 2005. The War on Drugs hasn’t released an album since 2011’s Slave Ambientand three of the founding members (Vile included) made their exit from the band in 2008. Granduciel is currently collaborating with Vile’s backing band, The Violators, and The War on Drugs seems to be on (permanent?) hiatus.

The Download:

I think I just have to admit it to myself: The War on Drugs has gone into hibernation. Maybe they’ll peep out at some point, but it sort of feels like they’re descended to find shelter from a musical blizzard.

Or something like that.

But this incredibly talented band has packed a ton of great material into two albums. They have often been compared to Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen for their Americana-infused songs… But there’s more to them than simple replication. They aren’t regurgitating stuff from the past few decades. Instead, they’re taking that “folksy undertone” and molding it into something that goes beyond.

They feel like a secret band. A Google search of their name is virtually useless… Instead, you’ll get thousands of news articles and reports on, well, the war on drugs. The real thing that peppers current events.

To really get the most of the band, you should really just listen to both of their albums. Slave Ambient and Wagonwheel Blues are both showstoppers. They also have two really great EPs that deserve your time. But if you (understandably) don’t want to invest the next four hours of your day to half a dozen new albums, listen to these songs to get a taste of The War on Drugs:

Buenas Aires Beach” is one of those tracks that is pretty simple – there aren’t any frills or surprises. But this only serves to make it all the more exquisite.

Best Night” is another dreamy slow-burner. It feels like a blend between a lullaby and a subdued pump-up song. Listen and I think you’ll get what I mean.

Come to the City” takes you on a journey. The lyrics and the rolling tempo will make you feel like you’re travelling around with the band in a car. It’s a good place to be.

Arms Like Boulders” has a start that feels exactly like a Bob Dylan song. But then it turns into something completely original, a mixture of seriously awesome words and some amazing instrumentals.

You can also listen to a sampling of their other (equally great) tracks via SoundCloud.

Until The War on Drugs — fingers crossed — surfaces again, you can get your fix via Kurt Vile and the Violators. They recently extended their summer tour – you can take a look at the schedule here.

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Hat Tips:

The War on Drugs, Paste, iTunes, Secretly Canadian Records, Image Credit: Flickr

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