Friday, August 26th, 2011
It's Your Destiny
The War On Drugs at Soundscapes in Toronto
Frank 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.
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”
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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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”