As 2011 winds to a close and scribes across the land look back at the best releases of the year, the scene is reliably crowded with one-name wonders such as Adele and Drake, but an act that repeatedly (and deservedly) percolates to the surface is the War on Drugs.
With their heralded second LP, "Slave Ambient," the Philadelphians have delivered a new old-fashioned marvel of richly atmospheric rock that reincarnates the keening cry of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan in the context of a truly modern-sounding album that harks back to an earlier age, even as it propels itself into the unknown future.
Much of this feat can be attributed to Adam Granduciel, the indie-rock band's prime mover, whose exhaustive production technique results in densely layered tracks that allude to classic rock and ambient electronics alike.
"There are a lot of things about sounds I'm really into," said Granduciel of his affinity for the sound of the '70s and '80s. "It's little things, like really enjoying little synthesizer or keyboard fills, but not really trying to overdo it."
If you go: War on Drugs is at the Bowery Ballroom on Sunday at 8:30 p.m., 6 Delancey St., 212-533-2111, sold out.
The band opens for the National on Monday at 8 p.m. at the Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway, 212-465-6500, $39.50.