Posts Tagged ‘ Secretly Canadian ’

The War on Drugs: October 8, 2015 Radio City Music Hall – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

October 11, 2015

[Photo courtesy of Ellen Qbertplaya]

This happened: About a year and seven months ago, in March of 2014, we attended back-to-back performances by The War on Drugs at Bowery Ballroom. Two of us from the site were backstage, where the band had been kind enough to invite us. Frontman Adam Granduciel was surrounded with well-wishers, seeming half-dazed from the adulation. He struck me as an unpretentious and genuinely kind person, nothing like typical “rock stars” of popular lore. Of course, he also wasn’t one yet. What followed a few minutes later was a conversation that has stayed with me since, as the founder of this site got a few minutes to talk to Adam, as he’d been doing since we saw his band take the stage as the opener at places like the Cameo Gallery and the Knitting Factory in Williamsburg. He basically laid out what was about to happen: the band’s popularity would explode, they would be a top draw at festivals around the world, they would be surrounded by new and different types of handlers, they would appear on late night TV shows, and, not far in the future, they would play a huge venue, like Terminal 5. Not to say that represents any unique power of prognostication or insight; to anyone who had watched the band play those shows at Bowery, who had heard Lost In the Dream and its connection to the American rock tradition in the vein of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, who could feel the energy oozing from the stage, it should have been clear. The person who seemed most surprised, that night, was Granduciel himself.

The album that made it all happen, Lost In the Dream, prompts even bigger questions than its words themselves ask. How good can you be? Is burrowing deep inside yourself until you’ve turned yourself inside out, hurt and insecurities and questions all on display, apt to give you even more anxiety, or free you from it? Granduciel famously struggled through making this record, a long-term personal project on which he recorded the instruments himself. That period found him dealing with bouts of depression, paranoia and self-doubt, which you can hear all over the record. As Granduciel said in one interview, at one point he found himself, 33 years old and alone, realizing music was all he had. Wondering if this body of work would be finished. If it would be enough.

So maybe it’s not surprising that, even after those two very successful performances, Granduciel didn’t quite believe what was about to happen. But in reality, our prediction ended up undershooting the band’s success by a little. Because, after signing to Atlantic Records, ending up in tabloids, playing the Tonight Show, Kimmel, and Letterman (again), and headlining (soon) or high-billing at a slew of festivals, here they were, back in New York City, not at the 3,000 capacity Terminal 5, but at a true institution, Radio City Music Hall, with a capacity more than twice that. And from the opening notes, you knew that all that love and confidence that had come at them over the past 19 months wasn’t misplaced. These broad stages are where Granduciel’s sound belongs, even if his to-this-day humble, honest, everyman persona doesn’t scream for attention the way his peers’ often do. Tonight’s setlist itself was a sign of the band’s own confidence; rather than kick off with the best-known Lost In A Dream stuff, the band led with “Arms Like Boulders” from 2008’s Wagonwheel Blues, probably owned by a fraction of this crowd, followed by “Baby Missiles” from Slave Ambient. Hearing these songs in this setting, with this band, it’s easier to connect the dots from those albums to Lost In the Dream — while the band’s big breakthrough had much more slick production, the roots of that big-tent sound have always been there. From the day Granduciel started this thing, The War On Drugs have been awesome, and they have been big.

Granduciel’s family was in the audience, and what a joy this must have been for them. Judging by the number of shoutouts and dedications, there were quite a few friends and family there to witness this, as there ought to have been. As they always do, The War On Drugs gave this crowd their all for the full 100 minutes, and the setlist proved surprising at a few points. Sure, we got the ecstatic one-two-three of Lost In the Dream’s best songs — “Red Eyes,” “Eyes to the Wind,” and “Under the Pressure” — but that came about mid-set. After a bit more of Lost In the Dream came a new cover we haven’t heard, Ron Wood’s “Mystifies Me,” which paused mid-song for a dedication to drummer Charlie Hall and his wife, Ann. The main set closed on a mellow note, ending with “Lost In the Dream.” Sometimes it seems strange that such melancholy songs have become such crowd-pleasers. But then, it’s not hard to identify with their sentiments, particularly on Lost In the Dream — that search for something better, the suspicion, but not quite resignation, that the best things have passed. You keep your eyes up, you keep going, and you try to miss what is gone without letting it take you over. To me, it’s always been “Under the Pressure,” the album opener, that sums this part of this band’s story up: that iconic keyboard melody, soaring over the lyrics about being under the pressure, trying not to crack. But even in that first, ecstatic “whoo!” at the beginning, you know that this song is about hope. You know the narrator will make it, even he doesn’t sound so sure.

For an encore, we got probably band’s biggest pre-Lost In the Dream tune, “Brothers,” followed by the Wagonwheel Blues number “Buenos Aires Beach” to finish the night. It seems fitting that the set was bookended with songs from an earlier, simpler time in this band’s cycle. From here on out, The War On Drugs’ world will be something else entirely, as major recording artists on a roster that’s played home to bands like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. Whatever comes after Lost In the Dream, the weight of expectations on that record will be felt like never before. We don’t know what it will sound like, but we do know that Granduciel has proven up to the greatness that’ll be asked of him. He deserves this, all of it.

This set was recorded with Schoeps MK41V supercardiod microphones to maximize rejection of extra noise and focus on the music. The sound quality is excellent for an audience recording in this venue. Enjoy!

The War On Drugs are on their way to the West Coast to play the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, followed by headlining the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco. Catch them out there.

Download the complete set from the Live Music Archive: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream the complete set from the Live Music Archive:

The War On Drugs
Radio City Music Hall
New York, NY USA

Schoeps MK41V>tinybox v2(OT)>Sony PCM-M10>24bit/44.1kHz WAV>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, image, exciter, compression)>Audacity 2.0.5 (track, amplify, balance, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 1:39:18]
01 Arms Like Boulders
02 Baby Missiles
03 Comin’ Through
04 An Ocean in Between the Waves
05 Disappearing
06 Red Eyes
07 Eyes To the Wind>
08 Under the Pressure>
09 In Reverse
10 Burning
11 Mystifies Me [Ron Wood]
12 The Animator>Come To the City
13 Lost in the Dream
[encore break removed]
14 Brothers
15 Buenos Aires Beach

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT The War on Drugs, visit their website, and buy Lost In the Dream from Secretly Canadian.


Suuns: February 28, 2015 Rough Trade – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

March 13, 2015

[photos by Jill Harrison]

Suuns seem to have almost grown into the current moment, what with their reliance on atmospheric electronics to put a new spin on Joy Division-y guitar rock. We first saw the band in 2011, at south Brooklyn’s tiny-but-sweet Rock Shop, where they proved themselves ready for more. On this night at Rough Trade, coming off their second proper album, Images du Futur, Suuns gave an assured, dialed-in performance. The bill co-featured Chicagoans Disappears, and the pair made a perfect match, with Suuns’ own slow evolution on display right after their contemporaries’. The band’s live approach is an even slower burn than their albums, built together from segue elements that don’t appear on the records, allowing sounds to linger for extra minutes. There wasn’t an encore break on this night, so much as a break in the action while the last notes held on, waiting for the band’s return. Coming from one of the world’s most acclaimed music cities (Montreal), perhaps it’s not surprising that Suuns put so much effort into their live show. Though Images du Futur is still what they’re touring, the band has already moved beyond it, playing four new songs, three of which I believe are tentatively titled “Delay”, “Resistance” and “Pray” (the fourth is anyone’s guess). If those new songs are any guide, Suuns intend to keep doing what they’re doing, only getting better at it over time. It’s no shock that the crowd got most into Images’ strongest track, “2020”, but there were plenty of other good moments, including the closer on “Edie’s Dream”, a hypnotic, almost-pretty song amidst the dark tones in the band’s catalog.

Suuns are off the road for now, but be sure to catch them next time they’re through. It’ll be worth it.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK4V microphones and a soundboard feed from Suuns’ touring engineer, whose name would be appreciated if you know it. The sound quality is the equal of the Disappears recording, meaning it is flawless. Enjoy!

Direct download of the complete show: [FLAC] | [MP3]

Stream the complete show: 

Rough Trade NYC
Brooklyn, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard [Engineer: Suuns FOH (please share name if you have it)] + Schoeps MK4V (inside SBD cage, PAS)>KCY>Z-PFA>Aerco MP-2>> Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, mix down, limiter, fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, exciter)>Audacity 2.0.5 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 1:09:14]
01 Images du Futur
02 Music Won’t Save You
03 Powers of Ten
04 Delay [new]
05 Sunspot
06 2020
07 Resistance [new]
08 Pray [new]
09 [unknown1] [new]
10 Pie IX
11 Arena
12 [encore break]
13 Edie’s Dream

Note: New song titles may be subject to change.

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Suuns, visit their Facebook page, and buy Images du Futur directly from Secretly Canadian.

The War on Drugs: March 20, 2014 Bowery Ballroom – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

March 24, 2014

[Photos from the 3/19 show courtesy of P Squared Photography]

My thoughts on The War on Drugs don’t differ much from those expressed in nyctaper’s review of the previous night, but I do think some things bear repeating. Nine times out of ten — more like 95 times out of 100 — worthy bands who toil in the trenches don’t make it. One thing doesn’t go right or another. Maybe there’s a lack of commitment on someone’s part. Or a lack of confidence. Or, in most cases, a lack of pure dumb luck.

We’ve posted a lot of recordings of this band over the past few years not because we thought one day they’d be able to way-sell-out three nights in a row here in New York, which they just did, but because we believed they were worthy. As a fan, your biggest hope always ought to be that the band you’re rooting for makes it. For Adam Granduciel, who toiled for over a year creating his magnum opus Lost In the Dream, it didn’t yet seem to have sunk in that his band had. He showed a bit of nervousness before kicking off the opening number, “In Reverse”, but after that, this show unfolded like the victory party it was meant to be. Compared to night one at the Bowery Ballroom, the band was looser and more poised, playing one song after another as easily as “Suffering” transitioned straight into “An Ocean In Between the Waves”. Just as heavily-produced album tracks like “Under the Pressure” shone as rendered live, so too did re-arranged versions of the band’s classics like a slowed-down “Brothers”. With the bevy of personnel at his command, including a saxophonist, the band’s more complex numbers took on a Destroyer-like caste at times (we’ve recorded WoD opening for them). Granduciel makes that work, too, being the kind of musician who can add complexity without letting it turn to overindulgence.

Normally when you can hear a crowd screaming at the stage between songs it’s mindless heckling; if you listen closely to this recording, what’s being hurled at Granduciel are compliments on the album. This was that kind of show, right through Granduciel acknowledging the fakeness of encores, asking for the lights to go up some so he could read the lyrics to John Lennon’s “Mind Games” (streaming below) a bit more clearly. The War on Drugs may be critical darlings now, but this is isn’t overnight success. This is it being done the old fashioned way. The kind that lasts.

I recorded this set from my usual spot in the venue with Schoeps MK5 cardiod microphones and a stereo soundboard feed provided by house engineer Kenny. The sound quality is outstanding, marred only slightly by light static during two songs. Enjoy!

Stream “Mind Games” [John Lennon]

Stream “Under the Pressure”

This recording is now hosted on the Live Music Archive.  Download the complete show via these links: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream the complete show:

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.


The War On Drugs
Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Schoeps MK5 (DINa, balcony, LOC)>KC5>CMC6>Sound Devices USBPre2 + Soundboard (engineer: Kenny)>>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, adjust levels, mix down, compression, fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time: 1:39:24]
01 In Reverse
02 Baby Missiles
03 [banter]
04 Under the Pressure
05 Suffering>
06 An Ocean In Between the Waves
07 Eyes to the Wind
08 Red Eyes
09 Come To the City
10 Brothers [Slow Version]
11 Burning
12 [banter2]
13 Lost In the Dream
14 [banter3]
15 Mind Games [John Lennon]
16 Coming Through
17 [banter4]
18 Arms Like Boulders

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT The War on Drugs, visit their website, and buy Lost In the Dream from Secretly Canadian.

The War On Drugs: April 3, 2011 Webster Hall – FLAC and MP3 Downloads + Streaming Song

April 9, 2011

[Photos by acidjack]

The War On Drugs are an instant classic.  That is to say, depending upon what show you go to, you may feel like you’ve heard The War On Drugs before, and in a sense you would be right.  Vocalist Adam Granduciel fronts with an unabashedly Dylanesque style, and the band’s 60s/70s influences – from Dylan to Springsteen to Led Zeppelin – are worn on their sleeve.  But then things take a turn for the psychedelic (with a name like that, who’d have thought otherwise?) and you can find yourself in a completely different place than you might be listening to, say, Highway 61 Revisited. Take the mid-set number, “It’s Your Destiny,” for example, with its shimmering guitars and Granduciel’s languid delivery.  This particular set, opening for Destroyer (available for download on the site [HERE]), leaned more toward the Americana end of things than, for example, the set we saw opening for Black Mountain at the Knitting Factory recently, perhaps owing to the mellower vibe of the headliner.  Songs like “Buenos Aires Beach” and “Brothers” unpack their narratives beautifully, with words that are easy to follow and an expansive, breezy vibe that leaves you yearning for the sun.  The band’s songs feel so comfortable that you have to imagine they have been together for years; in fact, they began with Kurt Vile and Granduciel playing together in 2005, before the band reconfigured (and Vile went solo) in 2008.  With just one full-length, the excellent Wagonwheel Blues, the almost-full-length Future Weather from 2008, and another EP to their credit thus far, and another full album on the way this year, the band have tons of room to grow on the album front, as they continue to prove themselves night after night with their live show.  We can’t wait for their next release.

hi and lo and I recorded this set in the same manner as the Destroyer recording, with a combination of four Schoeps microphones.  The results are outstanding.  Enjoy!

Stream “Brothers”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This recording is now available as a direct download in FLAC or MP3 from [HERE]

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The War On Drugs
Webster Hall
New York, NY USA

An acidjack master recording
Recorded by acidjack and hi and lo
Produced by acidjack

Equipment: Schoeps CMC6U/mk41>Sound Devices USBpre2+Schoeps mk4v>NBox>>Edirol R-44 [Oade Concert Mod] (24/48)
Position: Balcony, immediate left of soundboard, on clamps pointing at stacks
Mastering: 2×24bit/48kHz WAV>Audacity (mixdown, set fades, tracking, light EQ (less than -1dB cut at 160, 200, and 250Hz), amplify and balance)>FLAC ( level 8 )

01 Best Night
02 Baby Missiles
03 Buenos Aires Beach
04 I Was There
05 It’s Your Destiny
06 [banter]
07 Brothers
08 Comin’ Through
09 Arms Like Boulders

If you download this recording from NYCTaper, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT The War On Drugs, visit their website,  and purchase their official releases from Secretly Canadian Records  [HERE].

The War On Drugs: January 8, 2011 Bowery Ballroom – Flac and MP3 Downloads + Streaming Song

January 14, 2011

[photos for nyctaper by David Andrako]

We’ve seen The War On Drugs twice recently and each time they were mighty impressive. In August at Knitting Factory, their set was far superior to the headlining Black Mountain, as their aggressive performance showed more psych-rock muscle than their contemporaries. On Saturday night at Bowery opening for Sharon Van Etten, the mood and setting required a more refined approach. Whether intentional or due to the excellent clarity of the room mix at Bowery, The War On Drugs delivered a stunning forty minute set that was less Zep-influenced and more Dylan and The Band-sounding. The opening song “Arms Like Boulders” (streaming below) set the tone with a jangly lyric-laden Blonde On Blonde-ish melodic romp that would sustain for the entire set. The band is currently working on a full length album due for release later this year and several of those songs were featured, along with tracks from the 2010 Future Weather EP, and their debut album Wagonwheel Blues on Secretly Canadian Records. The War On Drugs will perform again in NYC on April 3 at Webster Hall (opening for Destroyer).

We recorded this set with the same rig and location at the SVE set, and the sound quality is outstanding. Enjoy!

Stream “Arms Like Boulders”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This Recording is now available for Download in FLAC and MP3 at [HERE].

War On Drugs
Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY USA

Four-Track Digital Master Recording
Recorded Balcony Railing

Neumann KM-150s + DPA 4021’s > Edirol R-44 (Oade Concert Mod) > 2x 24bit 48kHz wav files > Soundforge (level adjustments, mixdown, EQ, set fades) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > Flac Frontend (level 7, align sector boundaries) > flac

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper

[Total Time 43:34]
01 [introduction]
02 Arms like Boulders
03 Baby Missiles
04 Comin Through
05 I Was There
06 Brothers
07 Buenos Aires Beach
08 [banter]
09 Black Water Falls
10 Taking The Farm

If you email nyctaper for access to this recording, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT The War On Drugs, visit their website, and purchase their official releases from Secretly Canadian Records [HERE].

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