Mixing the grand-scale guitar attack of Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine with a melodic sense and lyrical perspective that recall Bob Dylan roaring down Highway 61, Philadelphia’s the War on Drugs slowly grew from indie favorites to a hit with larger, more mainstream audiences. The band’s moody but straightforward guitar rock echoed some of the most captivating elements of Tom Petty, Dire Straits, and several phases of Dylan’s journey, placing them more and more in line as torchbearers of the American roots rock sound on albums like 2017’s Grammy-winning A Deeper Understanding and 2021’s I Don’t Live Here Anymore.
The War on Drugs was formed by Adam Granduciel and Kurt Vile, who met at a party in 2003. After several drinks, Granduciel and Vile discovered their shared fascination with the Bard of Minnesota, and began working on songs together. By 2005, the pair had enough material to launch a proper band, and the War on Drugs were born.