Word’s been spreading about Pennsylvania-bred four-piece The Districts ever since they sped towards these shores in the beginning of 2014. Brighton’s The Great Escape hosted memorable performances, Reading Festival being their shining moment. Rob Grote and co. also rose to prominence Stateside through a live session video. It’s all down to the shows. Talk on their recorded sound has been fairly muted - 2015 is the year they put that right.
With new album ‘A Flourish And A Spoil’ around the corner, the four of them have arrived with their strongest work yet (following self-released debut ‘Telephone’) and a few trusty stories in their locker, too.
Small town Cannon Falls played host to the recording, its main attraction being the Seedy Underbelly Studio itself. Formerly known as the Pachyderm Studio, the place came under new ownership because, in bassist Conor Jacobus’ words, it “got weird and kind of methy.”
“The previous owner invited all these these crazy meth hippy dudes,” Rob, the band’s frontman, elaborates. “I think the studio definitely had a weird vibe just because of that stuff.” The house overlooking the place was built by a family with a successful cereal business, which only added to the off-the-wall oddities of the place. “Kind of creepy but kind of not,” is how Grote describes the experience. “It was definitely good for keeping mentally alert.”
“All beautiful things end up falling apart.”
This might explain the drive of their new record, which spends half its time speeding off into vast empty space, destroying the scenery. Dodgy but well-intentioned working titles were scrapped too - ‘4th and Roebling’, named after a Brooklyn interchange, used to be called ‘Slayers and Dragons’. There’s always next time.
Now firmly under their belts, ‘A Flourish And A Spoil’’s had its time to settle into the collective system. The title is about “how as a person you flourish, but then there’s the inevitable fall,” Rob says, “I guess how all beautiful things end up falling apart, but that’s beautiful all the same.” “It’s a distinctly human record, one that people can relate to. Hopefully they’ll hear a song and they’ll go, ‘I get that. I feel and I know.’”
Taken from the December 14 / January 15 issue of DIY, out now. Photos: Mike Massaro.