Birmingham Sloss Fest profile: The War on Drugs

Birmingham Sloss Fest profile: The War on Drugs
The War on Drugs hit it big with last year's major-label debut, "A Deeper Understanding," which was three years in the making. (Shawn Brackbill)

Performer: The War on Drugs

Sloss Fest: Sunday, July 15, 6:45 p.m., Steam Stage.

Type of Music: Modern Rock

About: The War on Drugs hit the big time with its major label debut, 2017’s “A Deeper Understanding,” which was its fourth full-length album overall. The band’s leader, Adam Granduciel, spent more than three years working on the record in New York and Los Angeles, calling on his Philadelphia-based bandmates periodically to gather and lay down tracks. The album also marked a successful collaboration with engineer Shawn Everett, known for his work with the Alabama Shakes and Weezer. Granduciel told Rolling Stone he was heavily influenced by some of his musical heroes as he created “A Deeper Understanding.” They include Bruce Springsteen, Wilco (“my favorite modern-day band,” Granduciel said), Warren Zevon, Sonic Youth, Nick Cave and Talk Talk. While the impact of those influences and others are evident, the result was something new and different, a collection that prompted The New Yorker to call The War on Drugs “the best American ‘rock’ band of this decade … certainly the one that makes the genre feel most alive.” Granduciel described his latest music this way: “The point of the record is watching yourself move between different versions of yourself, and trying to either hold onto or figure out which one you’re more comfortable being – which version of yourself are you most true to?”

Discography: “A Deeper Understanding” (2017), “Lost in a Dream” (2014), “Slave Ambient” (2011), “Future Weather” (2010), “Wagonwheel Blues” (2008), “Barrel of Batteries” (2008).

You might have heard: “Holding On,” “Pain,” “Up All Night,” Thinking of a Place.”

For fans of: Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, Ryan Adams, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Social: Facebook, Twitter.

Sloss Music and Arts Festival takes place at the historic Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham July 14-15 and features more than 40 performers on four stages. Buy tickets here.

Related Stories