Can the War on Drugs Find Peace at Last?

One of many final issues Adam Granduciel does earlier than ending an album is rewrite any lyrics that, as he places it throughout a latest Zoom interview, would possibly “make you gag.”

The singer, guitarist, and songwriter behind the Battle on Medicine first started engaged on his upcoming launch, I Don’t Stay Right here Anymore, originally of 2018. He estimates that his band put in roughly 20 multiday studio classes, and that’s not counting the time he spent alone with producer and engineer Shawn Everett, “simply sitting at Sound Metropolis for 4 weeks with masks on, going loopy, having enjoyable.” Everett, for his half, says he devoted hundreds of hours to the album.

However not till the ultimate week earlier than mastering did Granduciel undergo all 10 songs in the hunt for bits of lyrics that felt off. Every time he caught one, he’d have Everett loop that part of the monitor whereas Granduciel listened by headphones, racking his mind for one thing higher. “We’ll do that for an hour for one five-second space,” Granduciel says. “And he’s in all probability simply going insane, however I really feel like each time I find yourself getting one thing that’s sort of just like the crux of the music.”

Living proof: Whereas obsessing over the album’s third monitor, “Change,” Granduciel come across the lyric, “But it surely’s so rattling exhausting to make the change.” “Earlier than that it was just a few line about raining and nighttime,” he says. Now it’s a prism for understanding the entire album, which, he says, is all about “rising up, getting older, but additionally rising out of your self and into one thing new. The tip of one thing, the start of one thing else.”

I Don’t Stay Right here Anymore, due out on October 29, might be the top of one thing for Granduciel and the Battle on Medicine. It’s the second report of a two-album cope with Atlantic Information. If every little thing goes in accordance with plan, it would even be the capstone to a career-defining run that started with 2014’s Misplaced within the Dream and continued with 2017’s A Deeper Understanding, which gained the Grammy for greatest rock album. “Only a few folks get to have a couple of unanimously lauded report,” says A&R veteran Steve Ralbovsky, who signed the Battle on Medicine to Atlantic. “This man’s on two in a row. If we’re going for the trifecta right here, that’s some loopy historical past.”

It may be the start of one thing new. A decade in the past the Battle on Medicine was an indie-rock darling, exalted by rock writers and cherished by the sort of listeners (like me!) who don’t belief stirring anthems until they’re wrapped in some sort of quasi-alienating fuzz. As we speak, the band has achieved greater than 99% of its friends: essential acclaim, major-label help, and sufficient loyal followers to headline festivals and fill Madison Sq. Backyard.

Granduciel himself resides proof that whereas it might be so rattling exhausting to vary, it isn’t inconceivable. As soon as a hard-partying stalwart of the Philadelphia indie-rock scene, he skilled a foul breakup, melancholy, and panic assaults within the wake of his 2011 breakthrough album, Slave Ambient. All that ache shines by within the beautiful Misplaced within the Dream, however getting there wasn’t simple. Bassist Dave Hartley, who’s been with the Battle on Medicine from the start, as soon as instructed a reporter that Granduciel “has to self-immolate somewhat bit to really feel like he’s created one thing true to himself.”

Clear dwelling, remedy, and success appear to have softened Granduciel’s edges, even when they haven’t sped up his artistic course of. As we speak, he enjoys a rock star’s life in L.A., full with tabloid-documented espresso runs along with his television-star accomplice and their toddler. And his new music has one thing stunning: a glimmer of pleasure. As Pitchfork’s Ryan Dombal wrote in a review of the new album’s title track, Granduciel’s “Springsteen fandom is properly documented (his younger son is called Bruce), however he’s by no means made a music as welcoming as ‘Hungry Coronary heart’ till now.”

Is it attainable that, almost a decade and a half into his recording profession, Adam Granduciel is…glad?

He’s not so certain. “You’re not going to see me on some mountainous overlook the place if I take one improper step, I’ll fall 400 toes, like, with out a shirt on, you understand, gazing on the sky or one thing,” he says, a sly smile on his face. “I don’t know why I equate that with happiness, however you understand what I imply.”

Adam Granofsky grew up in Massachusetts, not New Jersey, however his childhood nonetheless had among the hallmarks of a Springsteen music. His father owned a girls’s clothes retailer within the North Finish of Boston. “He bought ‘irregulars,’ as they name them,” Granduciel says. “He’d purchase a field of denims for $2 and promote them for $9. That was the secret.” Granduciel remembers using his bike round Boston with the son of his father’s worker. “These days, I wouldn’t let my eight-year-old child experience his bike round Boston, nevertheless it was a distinct time.”

When Granduciel was in his early teenagers, the shop fell sufferer to the Huge Dig, the controversial, endlessly delayed, wildly costly challenge to interchange I-93 and prolong I-90 to be able to scale back heavy site visitors. “It was only a clusterfuck,” Granduciel says. “So finally, numerous shops shut down one after the other.” As we speak, the previous neighborhood has been gentrified virtually past recognition.

Granduciel’s father, who turns 90 this 12 months, is an enormous Battle on Medicine fan, however he can’t declare credit score for instilling in his son an abiding love for ’60s and ’70s rock and roll. “He was somewhat older, so in his automotive I might hear classical music or AM radio, normally sports activities radio. After which my mother would possibly play some Roy Orbison, however there was not a ton of music in the home,” Granduciel says. It was his older brother who turned him on to Neil Younger, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and R.E.M. | Can the Battle on Medicine Discover Peace at Final?


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