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Friday, August 26th, 2011

It's Your Destiny

The War On Drugs at Soundscapes in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe last time Philadelphia’s The War On Drugs were in town was as support for Destroyer, and by drafting on the interest in the “Best New Music”-ed Kaputt, played to a sold-out Lee’s Palace. This time out, they were headlining the smaller digs at the Drake Underground but were again buoyed by some Pitchfork love with the same seal of approval being awarded to their just-released second full-length, Slave Ambient.

As noted in my writeup of the Destroyer show, despite relying on the intersection of somewhat disparate styles The War On Drugs cultivate a very specific sound. Take an overtly ’70s-era Dylan approach to singing and lyricism, blend with some Springsteen/Petty-ish classic Americana stylings and a Velvet Underground-level appreciation for the art of the drone and serve doused in a psychedelic shimmer and you’re about there. It’s a vibe that’s immediate and engaging, but I find it gets a bit samey over the course of a long-player. For the span of an in-store length set such as the one the band played on Wednesday night at Soundscapes however, it was just about right.

Stopping in for the performance before even heading to the Drake to set up and soundcheck, they were able to set up as a fully plugged-in four-piece. And it’s just as well because it’s hard to imagine their songs without Adam Granduciel’s electric guitar in all it’s phased and tremoloed glory, seeing as how his expeditionary solos sometimes make up half the song. They played for about half an hour, both new material and old and while they were openly appreciative to everyone who showed up for the set, they seemed especially pleased to have requests for older material called out. It’s surely great to have a new audience take an interest in your work, but that also makes those who’ve been there all along that much more special. It’s hard to imagine they didn’t head down to the Drake afterwards feeling pretty good about that.

Death & Taxes, The Chicago Tribune and Philly.com have profile pieces on the band.

Photos: The War On Drugs @ Soundscapes – August 24, 2011
MP3: The War On Drugs – “Come To The City”
MP3: The War On Drugs – “Baby Missiles”
MP3: The War On Drugs – “Taking The Farm”
MP3: The War On Drugs – “Comin’ Through”
MP3: The War On Drugs – “The History Of Plastic”
Video: The War On Drugs – “Come To The City”
Video: The War On Drugs – “Baby Missiles”
Video: The War On Drugs – “Needle In Your Eye #16”

NOW and The Grid have pieces on Colin Stetson, who is playing the Drake Underground tonight.

Kathleen Edwards will be playing a special low-key show at the Dakota Tavern on Sunday night, August 28, with tickets only available at the door – they’ll run you $20. And if you’re wondering if the mister might make a guest appearance… well, Bon Iver isn’t on the road right now. So.

MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “Asking For Flowers”

The mark the release of The Rip Tide this coming Tuesday, Exclaim has made it four American cover artists in a row by putting Beirut’s Zach Condon front and centre for the September issue. Not that you can blame them – he’s so cute. The Irish Independent and Wall Street Journal also have feature pieces.

Head over to NPR to stream another new track from Girls’ forthcoming Father, Son, Holy Ghost. It’s out September 13 and they play The Mod Club on September 27.

Stream: Girls – “Honey Bunny”

NME, DIY and State talk to The Drums, releasing Portamento on September 13 and playing The Mod Club on October 1. They’ve also started a video performance series to tease the new record – here’s the first instalment.

Video: The Drums – “What You Were” (Visiomento)

St. Vincent has premiered the first video from Strange Mercy over at The Huffington Post. The record is out September 13.

Video: St. Vincent – “Cruel”

It’s hard to say what’s an official video these days, so for the sake of argument we’ll say that this in-studio clip Wilco released of their b-side cover of Nick Lowe is an official video. It’s great, either way. Both Wilco and Lowe are at Massey Hall on September 17 and 18 and Wilco’s new album The Whole Love is out September 27.

Video: Wilco – “I Love My Label”

Pitchfork, Drowned In Sound and The Quietus all have chats with one Stephen Malkmus. He and The Jicks are at The Phoenix on September 21 and you can watch a complete video of their recent Amoeba Records in-store set at Rolling Stone.

The Georgia Straight has a cover story on Dan Mangan. His new record Oh Fortune arrives September 27 and he plays The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 26.

Apparently Chairlift are still around. The released a new 7″ single in “Amanaemonesia” earlier this Summer and will apparently have a new full-length out before the year is over. And oh yeah, they’re opening for James Blake at The Phoenix on September 30.

Stream: Chairlift – “Amanaemonesia”
Video: Chairlift – “Bruises”

The first MP3 from Breaks In The Armor, the new Crooked Fingers record out October 11, is now available to download. They’re at The Drake Underground on November 8.

MP3: Crooked Fingers – “Typhoon”

Purveyors of one of the Summer tunes of 2011, Lousiana’s GIVERS are coming back to town with Los Angeles’ Lord Huron in tow for a show at Wrongbar on October 26, tickets $13 in advance.

MP3: Givers – “Up Up Up”
MP3: Lord Huron – “Mighty”

The Fly gets Chad VanGaalen to perform an acoustic session for them while The Prague Post and The List have interviews. He’s at The Mod Club on October 28.

Rhode Island’s Deer Tick haven’t released a new full-length since last year’s Black Dirt Sessions, but the release of a new single and a Fall tour that brings them to Lee’s Palace on November 16 implies that something more is coming. Or they just felt like releasing a single and hitting the road. Update: New album it is. Exclaim reports Divine Providence is out October 25 – thanks Phil.

MP3: Deer Tick – “Miss K”

Baeble Music has a Guest Apartment video session with EMA.

Pitchfork gets Will Sheff of Okkervil River to document his musical development through the years.

Writers On Process, The Riverfront Times and Louisville Courier-Journal talk to The Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn.

The Flaming Lips have released a video for one of their collaborations with Lightning Bolt.

Video: The Flaming Lips & Lightning Bolt – “I’m Working at NASA on Acid”

Rolling Stone checks in on the possiblity of a Replacements reunion with Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson.

By : Frank Yang at 8:26 am
Category: Concert Reviews

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