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Must See NYC: The War On Drugs

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Must See NYC: The War On Drugs

Graham Tolbert

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If you were at the Williamsburg Waterfront Friday, you've already heard the backbone of The War On Drugs: singer-songwriter Adam Granduciel joined ex-bandmate Kurt Vile on stage to shred some guitar, creating a quad-flank of 6-strings that headliner Sonic Youth had a hard time matching later (dare I?).

So if you missed The War On Drugs' in-store at Other Music yesterday, don't fret: the band plays Cameo Gallery Friday and The Mercury Lounge Saturday, both of which should be diesel-charged callbacks to times you've spent rollin' and driftin' and other g-less modes of blissful transience. It's said Vile might be joining the band at one or more of these shows, but I couldn't confirm that at 6:34 a.m.

The War On Drugs' excellent new LP Slave Ambient hits shelves today. The band previously shared a video for the firecracker, made-for-a-road-trip jam, "Baby Missiles" (the song was also on their last EP). But really, the whole of Slave Ambient is the best roadtrip record I've heard in some time.

The throttling, piston drums paired with Granduciel's drawl and just-right riffs make for songs with direction and destination -- a truly American record, drawing from the best down home rock of the last 40 years (The Band, Petty, Dylan, Springsteen, Creedence) and the yearning lyric employed by wandering heroes of the Left (Kerouac, Whitman, Hesse).

It's the perfect mix of unease and comfort that exemplifies getting lost, dusty talk of destiny, a yearning, other landscapes and comfort in one's own absence. If the harmonica entrance on "Baby Missiles" doesn't floor you heart and soul, you're not a patriot. Even album closer "Blackwater" is a gutwrencher, a goodbye note to the city that leaves everything just so as we disappear into the hills.

Check out the new video for Slave Ambient centerpiece "Come to the City," which dropped yesterday, below.

The War On Drugs goes out on tour starting tomorrow with a New York favorite of mine, Caveman.

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