Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, selected by Midday Show host Cheryl Waters, is “Red Eyes” by The War On Drugs from their upcoming 2014 album, Lost In The Dream, on Secretly Canadian.
Combining hazy shoegaze tones with a distinct Americana influence on leader Adam Granduciel’s songwriting, his loose, ambitious guitar work leads the Philadelphia quartet The War On Drugs. Formed in 2005 by Granduciel and Kurt Vile, the two guitarist/songwriters alternated between The War On Drugs and Vile’s more lo fi-influenced solo work until Vile departed the group – which now included drummer Mike Zanghi, bassist Dave Hartley, and keyboardist Robbie Bennett – in 2009 to focus on his own projects. Recording around the Violators’ touring and recording schedule, the band’s breakthrough album, Slave Ambient, was released in 2011 to rave reviews. Two drummer changes and two years of writing and recording later, the band’s third studio album, Lost In The Dream, is being prepped for release in March 2013. If “Red Eyes”, the album’s first single, seems a little more direct than the band’s previous work, it’s because it has something that they’ve never fully embraced before: an absolutely triumphant chorus. Granduciel’s reedy growl rides warm keyboards and acoustic guitar at a driving pace, but two minutes in, he lets out a howl and a soaring guitar lead countered by majestic synthesizers. Granduciel has been crafting warm atmospheric tones for the better part of a decade now, but it feels like he’s just now tapping into the full power of his arrangements, making “Red Eyes” one of his best-yet tunes and a promising sign that Lost In The Dream will serve as one of 2014’s top road trip albums.
The War On Drugs will embark on tour behind Lost In The Dream starting next month, and they’ll stop in Seattle at the Neptune Theatre on March 28th. Get more info and tickets for that all-ages show here, keep up with the band on their website and Facebook, and watch Granduciel cover “A Pagan Place” live for KEXP at Pickathon 2012: