The War on Drugs Review: Lost in the Dream

The War on Drugs

Lost in the Dream

The War on Drugs Lost in the Dream album cover art

Philly indie rockers the War on Drugs admittedly hit my sweet spot when it comes to their sound: they create dreamy psychedelic rock with an Americana soul, sort of Wilco’s experimental side under a cloud of guitar haze. The band started out with 2008’s freewheeling Wagonwheel Blues, where they had fuzz-rocker Kurt Vile in their band as sort of a lo-fi Dylan-worshipping indie band. Since, Kurt Vile has left to do his own thing (which we have loved every minute of), and since the War on Drugs have gotten even more similar to Vile’s music: hazy, sonic explorations filled with atmospheric guitar, synth sounds, and front man Adam Granduciel’s wistful vocals. On their latest, Lost in the Dream, the band has never sounded so confident musically and anxious emotionally, making this a thrilling and wistful ride.
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Best 20 Albums of 2013

greatest, favorite, best, albums of 2013

As Austin noted in our introduction to our favorite songs of 2013 list yesterday, it is much more difficult to list a years worth of favorites than one might think. 2013 was quite an interesting year in music. Many big names (or at least big expectations) left a disappointing taste in fans’ mouths (Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, The Strokes, Jay-Z, etc.). This left the door wide open for smaller, and sometimes even unheard artists to really pave the way to a brighter future, and in some cases, all-out overnight stardom (Lorde, Savages, CHVRCHES, etc). This also left a lot of room for controversy. Who is worth the listen, and who is just going through the motions while filling our ear buds with noise? Well the controversy was not absent in making this list. With all three of us at LxL listing out our top 20 albums separately and then combining them into a normalized list, there was bound to be some peoples favorites left off. Mean things were said, blood was spilled, and opinions hotly thwarted. Nonetheless, the list must go on. Here is what we considered to be our favorite albums of 2013:

20. AlunaGeorge – Body Music
alunageorge body music album-cover art
Last year, Alunageorge’s “Your Drums, Your Love” ranked in at #20 on our favorite songs of 2012. This year, the soulful pop R&B duo returned with a full LP to support the single, as well as a grip of other ripe-for-the-shaggin’ type of tunes. The duo now garnered another #20 slot, but this time on our albums list with Body Music.
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Kurt Vile Review: Wakin On A Pretty Daze

Kurt Vile
Wakin On A Pretty Daze

kurt vile, walkin on a pretty daze, album, cover art, new

Kurt Vile left the band The War on Drugs back in 2008 after the release of his self-recorded debut album Constant Hitmaker garnered a fair amount of critical success. Since then, he has not turned back to his past band and instead fully embraced his solo career with his backing band the Violators. I for one am glad he did so. Vile has a knack of slipping in bits and pieces of Americana folk into grungy psychedelic pop tunes, all with a modern twist to it so it seems current, yet somewhat timeless. His styles have changed slightly from album to album, and with his newest release, Walkin On A Pretty Daze he has found a way to chill out more than ever. The album title is a proper summation for the feel of the album, which it perfectly encapsulates a very dreamy daze-like ambience floating through entire +60 minutes. His pop-grunge vibe is still there, but in a longer and more relaxed fashion. This makes for one of my favorite efforts from Kurt thus far.

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LxListening: Consistency is a Virtue

psychedelic

Keeping in line with our post yesterday, highlighting what we believe to be the ten best psychedelic rock albums of all time, I decided to cull a few choice nuggets from my personal library and say a few words.  Seeing as our list of albums yesterday stuck mostly to the classics (and understandably so), I decided to keep most of the tracks on here a bit more modern.  In a bit of a hurry today, so I’ll let you get right to the action.  Enjoy.

Kurt Vile – “Wakin on a Pretty Day”

Todd, Wes, and I had a little text conversation yesterday about Kurt Vile’s new album, Wakin on a Pretty Daze, and while we couldn’t decide whether it was superior to his previous release (Smoke Ring For My Halo), we all agreed its pretty damn good.  Album opener, “Wakin on a Pretty Day”, to me, shows Vile is becoming completely comfortable in his strengths and abilities.  And unlike many of the bands that are harkening back to another time that are much-lauded today, I feel Vile alludes to his influences more than mimics them.
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Top 20 Thursday: 2011 Albums That Will Live In Infamy

Because we at Little by Listen enjoy letting you know what the best of the best is, we have opted to force upon you our Top 20 albums of 2011.  Constructing this list was much simpler than the top 20 songs, and thankfully didn’t end with me burning down Wes’ house or digging up Todd’s childhood pet and leaving it for him to find in his bed.  In fact making this list was a little too easy, possibly because Todd had a cold nose while we were making it, and probably just wanted to get the process over with.  Or maybe because Wes needed to tend to his beehives to collect some holiday honey (honey is coincidentally the name of Todd’s childhood pet btw).  Please enjoy the list we have so meticulously crafted, and feel free to throw your entries in the comments so we can immediately dismiss you as philistines with no taste.

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Bright Eyes Show Review

Bright Eyes
9/25/2011
Santa Barbara Bowl
Santa Barbara, CA

One of the best things about Conor Oberst is his unpredictability, and when I say this, I mean this in almost every facet of his music. In just the past three years alone, Conor has played tours and recorded albums with three different bands, taken on many different genres of music, all while also being on some highest of the highs, and lowest of the lows of his career. One thing that you can always seem to predict, however, is the high quality of his music.
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