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Thursday, 22 May 2014 09:05

Charting the Music: The War on Drugs, 'Lost in the Dream'

Charting the Music: The War on Drugs, 'Lost in the Dream' Dusdin Condren
Written by Travis Dettmann
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The War on Drugs truly creates a genre of its own, combining the electricity of psychedelia with the craftsmanship of veteran songwriters. It may be hard to fathom, but worry less about categorizing and temporarily drift away via "Lost in the Dream."

"Lost in the Dream" is the result of multiple recording sessions in various studios along the East Coast. As the War on Drugs' third effort, the album feels cohesive from start to finish despite its year-long creation. Adam Granduciel's obsession for perfection proves that sometimes insecurity creates extraordinary results.

88.1 KDHX chart position: #1 Americana and #4 CMJ Top 30 for the week of May 13, 2014.

Record label, release date and producer: Secretly Canadian released "Lost in the Dream" on March 18, 2014; it was produced by Adam Granduciel.

Can be heard on: Coin-Operated Radio with Ryan Heinz, loudQUIETloud with Chris Ward and Bittersweet Melody with Allen Dahm.

RIYL: Kurt Vile, Eels and Bob Dylan.

Hometown: Philadelphia.

Standout tracks: Waking up after a long night of drinking too much and other questionable decisions may be disheartening, but "Red Eyes" will wash away all regret. Emotions swell like in any '80s Brat Pack flick as "Disappearing" plays out the closing credits. The title track "Lost in the Dream" makes taking the backroads more pleasurable than ever.

The artist: After discovering their mutually shared appreciation for Bob Dylan, Kurt Vile and Adam Granduciel instantly became friends in 2003. The duo began collaborating together musically, forming the War on Drugs two years later. Their debut EP "Barrel of Batteries" earned a plethora of positive reviews, nabbing the attention of those at Secretly Canadian. The years have brought on multiple variations in their lineup, including the exit of Kurt Vile in late 2008, but Granduciel and crew brush it off and chug on.

This label: Based out of Bloomington, Indiana, Secretly Canadian was created by Eric Weddle, Jonathan Cargill, and Ben and Chris Swanson in 1996. While Weddle parted ways to create Family Vineyard, Darius Van Arman of Jagjaguwar came in to take his place, tightening the bonds between the labels. Secretly Canadian is distributed by SC Distribution along with Jagjaguwar, Joyful Noise Recordings, Constellation Records and Temporary Residence LTD.

Play it while: Tackling life's hardships while comfortable in the familiarity of your hometown or isolated in foreign lands.

In St. Louis: The War on Drugs will perform at the Ready Room on October 12, 2014.

KDHX coverage: Amy Faerber analyzed the War on Drugs/Sharon Van Etten concert at the Luminary Center for the Arts on March 31, 2012. Kenji Yoshinobu reviewed the War on Drugs' performance with Caveman at the Billiken Club on August 30, 2011. On March 28, 2011, Gold Soundz hosted an in-studio with The War on Drugs, while Mike Herr covered the War on Drugs/Destroyer gig at the Luminary that same evening.

What the critics say: "As its title suggests, 'Lost in the Dream' often trades in gaseous, impressionistic hues, and a cavalry of affected guitar, synth, lap steel, sax, harmonica and piano tracks gel into luminescent aural sunsets at several points throughout the album. These ambient drifts bookend Adam Granduciel's tender songs, the lyrics of which also tend to reveal themselves in refracted ways. Indeed, it can be difficult to discern more than a handful of lines in succession--Granduciel's feathery, mostly reserved delivery sees to this, as well as the tonnage of reverb baked into the mix--but listeners can't miss the sense of melancholy and anxiety woven into nearly every second of 'Lost's' hour-plus run-time." Ryan Burleson, Paste.

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