Just over three years ago, the War On Drugs released their fourth album A Deeper Understanding, a monumental work that felt like the culmination of the band’s sonic trajectory as well as their steady ascension. Drugs mastermind Adam Granduciel has popped up a couple times this year, remixing the Rolling Stones and previewing new material. The latter suggested that, just maybe, the Drugs would be one of the big, beloved bands to lift us up out of the 2020 doldrums with a sudden new album. Today, they’re back with an announcement, but it’s not that new studio collection quite yet — instead, it’s a live album called, fittingly, LIVE DRUGS.
Live albums are a funny prospect these days. Plenty of artists still release them, of course, but the structure seems archaic in the age of YouTube and social media, when tons of live material is captured and soon archived right in the moment. A couple decades ago, many of today’s major indie or rock acts would probably already have a live album to their name. Of course, there’s something to be said for a formidable live act taking the time to craft a proper document of their stage presence beyond all that grainy online detritus. That seems to be what the Drugs are doing now.
LIVE DRUGS is a 10-song collection that aims to replicate a 70-minute set at one of their shows. Sadly, like their recent tours, LIVE DRUGS pretends that Slave Ambient doesn’t exist. But otherwise anyone who’s seen the Drugs grow onstage live over the years — and witnessed their all-consuming studio wizardry sound morph into a totally different kind of overwhelming power in person — could probably already guess LIVE DRUGS will be a pretty great listen. It’s arriving next month via Granduciel’s own Super High Quality Records.
“As a bandleader, I always want to know where a song can go,” Granduciel said in a statement. “Even though we’ve recorded it, mastered it, put it out, and been touring on it, it doesn’t mean that we just have to do it the same way forever. ” And it sounds like maybe, in that way, LIVE DRUGS could be setting up the next era for the band: “It feels like it’s kind of a reset, to be able to put something out that’s a really good interpretation of the way we interpret our music live. Even though this recording is from a year of tours, this is really how these six guys evolved as a band from 2014 to 2019.”
Along with the announcement, the War On Drugs have shared the live rendition of “Pain.” Check it out below.
01 “An Ocean In Between The Waves”
03 “Strangest Thing”
04 “Red Eyes”
05 “Thinking Of A Place”
06 “Buenos Aires Beach”
07 “Accidentally Like A Martyr”
08 “Eyes To The Wind”
09 “Under The Pressure”
10 “In Reverse”
LIVE DRUGS is out 11/20 via Super High Quality Records. Pre-order it here.