Online music magazine based in Copenhagen, Denmark

Tag archive

The War On Drugs

Albums of the Year 2017

in Blog by

Slowdive
Slowdive

Whether you count from their last studio album or from their initial reunion in 2014, we’ve been waiting on a new Slowdive album for a long time. But with their self-titled album, Slowdive have found the perfect balance between the dreamy guitars and their later electronic experiments. The results are delicate, heartbreaking, and absolutely worth the wait.

EMA
Exile in the Outer Ring

Erika M Anderson understands middle America better than most and tells her version without romance or sentimentality. Exile in the Outer Ring is a fried circuit, the narrative to our modern dystopia, and a fatalist slice of life. Lean into the noise and come away feeling completely wrecked — it’s extremely cathartic.

Mavis Staples
If All I Was Was Black

Mavis Staples recorded the greatest protest album of the year. With the help of songwriter/producer Jeff Tweedy, Staples taps into the rage, hope, empathy and plans of action that define America right now. No other album this year will uplift you and light a fire under you in the same way, regardless of how much attention you pay to the news.

Protomartyr
Relatives in Descent

When the year of Trump is coming to an end the album to end I’ll be waving my middle finger to is Protomartyr’s brilliant fourth studio album Relatives in Descent. Unlike Mavis Staples’s If All I Was Was Black this album offers little hope or comfort; it’s bleak and angry post-punk when it’s best. 

Arca
Arca

It’s strange to think of an album as dark and mysterious as Arca’s self-titled as the Venezuelan producer’s stepping into the limelight, but the revelation of his own gorgeous vocals accomplishes precisely that. This, together with his work on Björk’s Utopia, truly makes 2017 the Year of Arca.

Ryuichi Sakamoto
async

Opening with a piano full of classic Sakamoto romanticism, async quickly tumbles into a contemplative world of soft noise, in which natural sounds merge into machine drones, organs flow into synthesizers. If you needed further proof of Sakamoto’s enduring influence, look to the accompanying remixes by everyone from Daniel Lopatin to Arca and Yves Tumor.

 

Jane Weaver
Modern Kosmology

I came across Jane Weaver relatively late into her career, with the magical witch-glam of “Don’t Take My Soul”, but on Modern Kosmology Weaver has added a healthy dose of warm synths and motorik drum machines. Ground is left thoroughly unbroken, but this is the kind of low-key spaciness that I need at this time of year.’

the war on drugs

The War On Drugs

A Deeper Understanding

When The War On Drugs in 2014 released their magnificent album Lost In A Dream it seemed they had perfected the sound and musical style developed on their second album Slave Ambient. It was interesting to see what direction frontman Adam Granduciel and his band would go next. The answer came this year with A Deeper Understanding, an album that takes the listener even further into the strangely familiar, yet unique musical universe of Granduciel which must be considered a great success.

julie byrne

Julie Byrne

Not Even Happiness

When Julie Byrne played Jazzhouse earlier this year we were impressed with how she brought the beauty and intimacy of her album Not Even Happiness to the stage. The album is centered around Julie Byrne’s incredible voice, her finger-picked guitar, some minimal orchestral arrangement and her brilliant songwriting. In the song ‘All the Land Glimmered’ there is a line that I think captures the feeling of the album: “Will I know a truer time / than when I stood alone in the snow”.

LIVE REVIEW: The War On Drugs, TAP1, 26.11.2017

in Live Reviews by
The War On Drugs - Roskilde Festival 2015 (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

Getting to TAP1 feels a bit like a journey through no man’s land on the way to a rave for the few in the know. It isn’t exactly like that, though. Situated in a former distillery in one of the few unpolished areas of Copenhagen, the 4500 capacity venue, where the War On Drugs are playing, is enormous: it’s about 100 meters from one end to the other, and even though it’s only half filled and I’m standing in the middle of the crowd, the frontman Adam Granduciel is just a tiny silhouette on the bright lit stage.

But The War On Drugs is not a band that you come to see, it’s a band that you come to hear. It’s unlikely to add anything to the concert if Adam Granduciel suddenly turned into some guitar-throwing rock-god I. With that in mind I learn to accept that the show is entirely stripped of anything of visual interest.

After opening with “In Chains” from their latest album A Deeper Understanding, The War On Drugs move on to “Baby Missiles” from their 2011 album Slave Ambient, and I am relieved to hear that the textured and layered music doesn’t loose all of its details to the raw surroundings. Because being spoiled with venues such as Loppen, Jazzhouse (rip) and Vega, I have to admit, that I was quite nervous about the sound. Concrete and steel aren’t exactly materials known for their acoustic qualities and apparently the sound hadn’t been top notch when The War On Drugs played the night before.

During the two hour set The War On Drugs plays almost the entire album A Deeper Understanding and about half of Lost in A Dream, plus a few songs from Slave Ambient and Wagonwheel Blues. I think it’s debatable if The War On Drugs ever made a hit, but it feels like a hit parade anyhow.

Adam Granduciel is not particular chatty, and the music is in large executed very much like it is on record. People often associate the The War On Drugs with driving through vast landscapes, and I am thinking to myself that this particular road trip could just go on, because at no time do I feel boredom creeping in.

It’s a very diverse crowd; the majority here is, like at most other concerts, people in their 20’s and 30’s, but there’s also quite a few who grew up while Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young were still young. Maybe it’s because the band seems to evoke these great artists, while still being very much their own, that they have such a wide appeal.

The photo was taken at Roskilde Festival 2015 by Morten Aagaard Krogh 

PHOTOS: Roskilde Festival 2015

in Photos by

Bob Hund

Photo by Morten Krogh
Photo by Morten Krogh

Communions

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Ratking

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Noel Gallagher

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

The War On Drugs

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Father John Misty

Father John Misty (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Photo by Morten Krogh

St Vincent

St. Vincent (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Photo by Morten Krogh

Foxygen

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Perfume Genius

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Lust For Youth

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Pallbearer

Pallbearer (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Photo by Morten Krogh

Hot Chip

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Ought

Ought (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Photo by Morten Krogh

Fat White Family

Fat White Family (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Photo by Morten Krogh

Pharmakon

Photo by Morten Krogh
Photo by Morten Krogh

The Tallest Man On Earth

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Run The Jewels

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Kendrick Lamar

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Goat

Goat (photo Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Photo by Morten Krogh

Nils Frahm

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Deafheaven

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Paul McCartney

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Jamie xx

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Africa Express

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

PHOTOS: Roskilde Festival 2015 – Day 1

in Photos by
Bob Hund - Roskilde Festival 2015

Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com) and Tom Spray (tom-spray.com)

Bob Hund

Bob Hund - Roskilde Festival 2015
Photo by Morten Krogh
Roskilde Festival 2015 nikon-10
Photo by Morten Krogh

Communions

Roskilde Festival 2015 Communions
Photo by Morten Krogh
Communions (Photo by  Tom Spray)
Photo by Tom Spray
Communions (Photo by  Tom Spray)
Photo by Tom Spray

Off!

Off! Roskilde Festival 2015 (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Photo by Morten Krogh
Roskilde Festival 2015 nikon
Photo by Morten Krogh
Roskilde Festival 2015 nikon-5
Photo by Morten Krogh

Ratking

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Noel Gallagher

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Pharrell Williams

Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

The War On Drugs

Roskilde Festival 2015 nikon-18
Photo by Morten Krogh
Roskilde Festival 2015 War On Drugs (2)
Photo by Morten Krogh
Roskilde Festival 2015 nikon-23
Photo by Morten Krogh
Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray

Roskilde Festival: Day 1

in Blog/Live Reviews by
Bob Hund - Roskilde Festival 2015 (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

The day has finally arrived: the gates to the main festival grounds have opened, the sun is out, Roskilde has begun. The previous days of dolce far niente are replaced with a flurry of questions: which stage to run to, what food to eat (Korean Bulgogi is the official Here Today Food of the Week), how much alcohol do you have to consume before the prices stop feeling like stab wounds?

Off! - Roskilde Festival 2015 (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Off! – Roskilde Festival 2015 (Photo by Morten Krogh)

Off! — Avalon

After sixty years on the planet and founding not one but two legendary hardcore acts (Black Flag and Circle Jerks), frontman Keith Morris shows no signs of mellowing down. Eyes bulging, veins popping up in unexpected places, Morris stalks the stage in a defiant mood. His younger bandmates bounce along with him, though in their case the wild movements have the studied air of a re-enactment rather than the real thing. The songs themselves, rattled out in blasts of four or five, are one minute playful variations on the theme of fuck you.

While Off! might not be contributing anything new to a genre now almost forty years old, they can at least project some of the vitality of the original movement.

Bob Hund - Roskilde Festival 2015
Bob Hund (Photo by Morten Krogh)

Bob Hund — Avalon

When earlier in the day we interviewed Thomas Öberg, frontman of seminal Swedish indie band Bob Hund, it was clear that there is something very intensely considered and thought out amid the manic energy and comedy of their live performances. Obsessed with making every performance unique, two years ago the band made a leap in the dark and sold all their instruments and equipment, choosing to rely on the generosity of friends and fans to supply them with odd assortments of guitars, vintage organs, microphones, maracas…

For their Roskilde set the equipment was provided by a music school in southern Sweden and Copenhagen surf-rockers The Tremolo Beer Gut. The old Fender Jazzmasters serve them well for the surfy pop vibe of “Tralala Lilla Molntuss”, but it is clear that Thomas was right when he told us “whatever the instruments, we still sound like Bob Hund”. The crowd’s enthusiasm is mirrored in the pure, joyous, Buster Keaton-esque energy of Thomas’s performance. He calls Roskilde “the capital of Scandinavia”, and indeed there is something utopian about hearing a crowd of Danes signing along in a Swedish dialect.

The War On Drugs - Roskilde Festival 2015  (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
The War On Drugs (Photo by Morten Krogh)

The War on Drugs — Arena

Sadly today we only have one reporter on the scene, who can only glimpse the likes of Communions, Young Fathers and Electric Eye as he tramps around from stage to stage like the errant monk of rock journalism that he clearly is. After the sun has finally lowered its burning rays, we settle down at Arena stage for our final gig of the evening, Philadelphia dad-rockers The War on Drugs.

Adam Granduciel is an aloof frontman, bent over his guitar and myriads of effects pedals in intense concentration. His music is all about tonal nuance, but in a live setting this often comes at the cost of dynamism. Other than the enthusiastic baritone saxophonist (an evident attempt to out-Springsteen the Boss himself) the rest of the band is skilled but sedate, rolling through the songs with more professionalism than passion. Even during crowdpleasers like “Under the Pressure” and “Red Eyes” the initial euphoria slowly dissipates into almost monotony. But in after these moments it is thanks to Granduciel’s mastery of guitar tone that a short busting guitar solo can rekindle the fire.

Photo by Tom Spray
The War On Drugs (Photo by Tom Spray)
Photo by Tom Spray
Pharrell Williams (Photo by Tom Spray)

VIEW THE FULL LIVE GALLERY HERE

Roskilde 2015: Our Most Anticipated Acts

in Blog by

Roskilde 2015 is gearing up, and as half of the population of Copenhagen migrates towards the festival grounds, it’s time for us to share the acts we are most enthusiastically anticipating.

Wednesday

18:00 – Communions (Pavilion)

19:00 – Bob Hund (Avalon)

19:15 – Ratking (Apollo)

23:00 – The War On Drugs (Arena)

Thursday

17:00 – Father John Misty (Avalon)

18:00 – St Vincent (Arena)

20:00 – Perfume Genius (Pavilion)

23:00 – Pharmakon (Gloria)

00:00 – Ought (Pavilion)

02:00 – Fat White Family (Pavilion)

Friday

16:00 – The Tallest Man On Earth (Arena)

18:00 – Kate Tempest (Apollo)

19:30 – Kendrick Lamar (Orange)

20:00 – Einstürzende Neubauten (Avalon)

https://youtu.be/48nakpWpYTI

21:00 – Run The Jewels (Arena)

22:30 – Disclosure (Orange)

Saturday

15:00 – Girl Band (Pavilion)

17:00 – Joanna Gruesome (Pavilion)

20:30 – Chelsea Wolfe (Gloria)
che

22:30 – Deafheaven (Pavilion)

23.00 – Africa Express (Arena)

00:00 – Myrkur (Pavilion)

Albums of the year 2014

in Blog by
Swans-To-Be-Kind

Swans – To Be Kind

After thirteen studio albums, Swans have not diluted their power or talent one bit. But somehow, since their rekindling in 2010, they have become more popular. To Be Kind is just as provocative and challenging as Swans’ early material, with half-an-hour-long songs like “Bring the Sun/Touissant Overture” and off-kilter oddities like “A Little God in My Hand”, but the sound and instrumentation has matured, becomings both less distorted and somehow more dissonant. As we witnessed in November, Swans are still a brutally loud and relentless live band, a constant provocation to audience and peers, and much loved because of it. – CC


 møMØ – NoMythologies To Follow

Karen Marie Ørsted is my hero. My braid swinging, ex-punk rocker, stage diving hero. I remember the first time I listened to one of MØ’s tracks, loading up Spotify and finding myself blasting ‘Pilgrim’ and ‘Let The Youth Go Mad’ for hours on end and wondering how one individual could contain quite so much effortless cool. She was the Danish alternative pop princess I’d been waiting for, ready to join a royal court populated by Björk, Kate Bush and Lana Del Rey. I waited for No Mythologies To Follow for over a year, as singles like ‘Glass’ and ‘XXX 88’ trickled out from MØ HQ. I was delighted to find that the debut album did not disappoint, as Ørsted shared something that was exciting, thematic, beautiful and most importantly, sounds fucking fantastic. From the first time I heard it, I knew that No Mythologies… was my album of the year. – HT


WhatIsThisHeartHow To Dress Well – What Is This Heart?

Tom Krell’s third album What Is This Heart touches on lighter subjects than his previous two albums Total Loss (2012) and Love Remains (2010). Not one to shy away from touching personal matters, the album starts off with ‘2 Years On (Shame Dream)’ and leads you softly into a journey that expands an extremely vivid personal dream about his family. ‘Face Again’ the stand out single along with ‘Repeat Pleasure’ work in his signature indie R&B coupled with stunning falsetto which leave you questioning how these tracks aren’t further up the charts. WITH takes a turn with grand orchestral ‘Pour Cyril’ before leading into cute power pop ballads ‘Very Best Friend’ and ‘Precious Love’ proving key changes are making a come back! – TS


 Angel OlsenAngel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

The most immediately striking thing about Angel Olsen is her voice, a voice that could easily croon country hits but instead lopes over scruffy, dampened guitars. Her voice alone should earn her and Burn Your Fire for No Witness a place in hearts and best-of lists, but what really makes Burn Your Fire… so special is that it’s wholly intuitive. Olsen’s second full length album is her first with a full band, and it’s the album her debut hinted she was capable of making. She hasn’t abandoned minimalist solo tracks, but she balances them against full-band arrangements. And it’s not just the range of her voice that’s striking but it’s incredible malleability; that it’s raw yet gentle, that it jumps from disaffected to emotive from one line to another, that it rasps and twangs with equal affect. And while she’s not too proud to pay homage to the ‘90s on “Forgiven/Forgotten” and “High and Wild,” these frazzled moments give way easily to stark folk ballads. The album comes down so slowly that by the time you’ve reached the hushed conclusion of “Windows” there’s a sense of catharsis. Burn Your Fire… doesn’t just leave you feeling satisfied, but completed. – AF


 sharon van ettenSharon Van Etten  – Are We There

Somewhere in Tennessee there is apparently an ex-boyfriend of Sharon Van Etten who, during their relationship, kept telling her that her music was terrible. There is a lesson to be learned here.
“Are We There” is one of those records that grows on you. There is something extremely vulnerable and honest about Sharon Van Etten’s song writing and performance on stage. Her voice has depth which is completed by the unique vocal harmonies with Heather Woods Broderick. As Sharon Van Etten told The New York Times when she released her previous album “Tramp”, she does not really consider them harmonies: “I just hear two notes at once — I just hear two melodies.” – MK


6) East India YouthTotal Strife Forever
7) IceagePlowing Into The Fields Of Love
8) Scott Walker and SunnO)))Soused
9) Tune-yardsNikki Nack
10) The War On DrugsLost In A Dream
11) Future IslandsSingles
12) Sleep Party PeopleFloating
13) FKA TwigsLP1
14) EagullsEagulls
15) St. VincentSt. Vincent
16) Alt-JThis Is All Yours
17) Wild BeastsPresent Tense
18) Mac DeMarcoSalad Days
19) Ice Cream CathedralSudden Anatomy
20) Lana Del ReyUltraviolence
21) Get Your GunThe Worrying Kind
22) SpoonThey Want My Soul
23) WarpaintWarpaint
24) Shiny DarklyLittle Earth
25) BeyoncéBeyoncé

LIVE REVIEW: The War On Drugs, Store Vega, 21.05.2014

in Live Reviews by

Before arriving at Store Vega it’s like the show has already begun. As the sun shines from a clear blue sky, the heat puts you in a snug and dazy mood – the same that vibrates in the universe of The War On Drugs. The tunes on their newest release Lost In The Dream seems to be the perfect soundtrack to the sunny season that is approaching. Being relocated from the smaller stage at Lille Vega to its big brother Store Vega, is a proof that a lot of the Copenhageners feel the same way.

The lights are dimmed as the six piece band walk onstage to the simple rhythms from a drum machine. The band falls into the groove and opens the night with ‘An Ocean Between The Waves’ from the new album. When the song ends its difficult to raise my hands for applause; the room is simply packed to the rafters. The first part of the show consists mostly of songs from the new album with a clear and loud vocal at the forefront. Lead singer Adam Granduciel is known for his way of slipping out of tune from time to time (in a charming way), his performance this night is flawless. And so is the guitar playing – numerous of guitar solos appears here and there through out the concert and at times it is so epic that even the guitar heroes from the 80’s would fall behind.

The band seems to enjoy their spot on the big stage and the energy is evident, especially while performing hit single ‘Red Lights’, colouring the entire stage in a sharp red veil in the process. As a part of a daily ritual Granduciel brings his polaroid camera on stage and takes a photo to immortalise the evening. Although that turned out being a useless act as Granduciel shows the audience the pictures – theres nothing but blurred lines! This little break isn’t the only respite during the concert – guitar tuning and amp adjusting takes up quite some time which at a point makes Granduciel so frustrated that a firm kick sends his amp to the ground. “I’m sorry for my little..eh.. everything’s alright now” he says after finishing the melancholic and slow ‘Suffering’.

The set is a long one, around two hours, which is plenty of time for the band to play a bunch of songs from the previous album Slave Ambient. Particularly ‘Your Love Is Calling My Name’ works strikingly well. The backing band deserves some credit for a tight and well played performance, of which the saxophone player is worth mentioning as the creater of a beautiful soundboard in many songs. But it is not up for discussion that Adam Granduciel is the main figure in The War On Drugs. When the band finishes the last encore and makes a sincere “Thank you!” the room is filled with a warm ambience (partly caused by the high temperature) and I feel a special appetite for taking over the summer with The War On Drugs as my soundtrack.

The War On Drugs | Store Vega, Copenhagen, 21.05.2014

in Photos by

Photos by Tue Blichfeldt

The War On Drugs

The War On Drugs

The War On Drugs

The War On Drugs

Go to Top