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The War on Drugs on the Sonic Roots of ‘A Deeper Understanding’

Adam Granduciel guides us through his key influences, from Bruce Springsteen to Sonic Youth

war on drugs adam Granduciel

The War on Drugs' Adam Granduciel talks us through some of the key influences on his new album 'A Deeper Understanding,' from Warren Zevon to Wilco.

Shawn Brackbill

The War on Drugs‘ new album, A Deeper Understanding, is being hailed as one of the best rock LPs of the year. It’s a surprise hit for the band, which spent years as indie-rock heroes before signing with Atlantic in 2015. Here, frontman Adam Granduciel shares the sounds behind his psych-rock opus.

war on drugs adam Granduciel influences nick cave sonic youth

Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth, 1991.

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Sonic Youth

The guitarist is a big fan of 1986’s EVOL, the album that merged Sonic Youth’s arty tendencies with more commercial melodies. Granduciel points to “Shadow of a Doubt,” which includes percussive, atonal twin-guitar interplay between Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo. “You can do anything with the electric guitar,” he says. “It can be a beautiful synth wash, it can be melodic or it can be angry. ‘Shadow of a Doubt’ does all those things for me.”

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