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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Petal at Everybody Hits, The Districts at Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, A.M. Mills at Ortlieb’s, and more

Petal | Photo by: Ellen Miller | ellencm.com
Petal | Photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN | ellencm.com

You may have caught Petal in stunning solo form recently at that fantastic show with Julien Baker and Half Waif, and now the Scranton-based project of Kiley Lotz returns to Philly for another solo performance — this time on a smaller-scale, at Everybody Hits, but the show is sure to be no less beautiful and even more intimate than it was on the big stage. Born Without Bones, Super American and Tombo Crush will also play the Home Outgrown Presents gig. Petal’s latest release is the Comfort EP, which includes a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Silver Springs.” Listen below and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: The Districts will wrap up 2017 with a run of shows at Johnny Brenda’s (including NYE!)

The Districts | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN
The Districts | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

With a big year in their rearview — including the release of their kickass third long-player, Popular Manipulations — Philly favorites The Districts just announced a pair of shows to close out 2017.

On Saturday, December 30th, the band will play Johnny Brenda’s with DIY scene rippers Permanent Body and Mannequin Pussy. And then on New Year’s Eve, the band will headline JB again with Lithuania and Pine Barons supporting. Both shows go on sale Friday, October 27th at noon; details and info can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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The Districts’ Rob Grote reflects on backing Daniel Johnston with Modern Baseball

Daniel Johnston | photo by Jackie Young | courtesy of the artist // Rob Grote of The Districts | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

When The Districts’ Rob Grote and Braden Lawrence attended a Daniel Johnston concert as teenagers, Grote remembers dreaming of a day when they could be a part of Johnston’s backing band himself. Little did he know that, in a few years, he’d not only get the opportunity to be a part of a rare Daniel Johnston tour, he and his band would pretty much direct the entire evening, albeit with a little help from some local friends.

“We all really like his music a lot, and it was definitely an influence on us,” Grote says. “Braden and I saw him at Union Transfer when we were still in high school, and the opening band backed him. Ever since then, backing him has been a dream of ours, although unrealistically we thought. We’re super honored to get to do it!”

Now, all these years later, Grote and his Districts cohorts have since moved from Lititz to Philly for school, left said school, and have become keystones of the city’s music scene with a devoted following in the U.S. and abroad. And, just like he dreamed about those years ago at Union Transfer, he and The Districts will be joining Daniel Johnston as the support for Philly date of the enigmatic singer-songwriter’s final tour. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: The Districts redefine “explosive” at World Cafe Live

The Districts | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

I had long resigned myself to the bittersweet fact that since I’ve always been unlucky in catching The Districts live, the first time I’d finally see them would be in some large, sold out venue given the skyrocketing trajectory of their career and fanbase around the world that will only grow once their newest release Popular Manipulations reaches the ears and hearts of the masses.

Fortunately, this was not the case. A week after the crazy sold out Union Transfer record release show (read our review here) found The Districts back in Philadelphia to perform for XPN’s Free At Noon series at the smaller, more intimate World Cafe Live. It appeared that the rareness of this opportunity was not lost on fans, as the line stretched up the stairs and out onto the sidewalk long before doors opened and filled the venue to capacity by the ten-minute mark. Continue reading →

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Talking Popular Manipulations with The Districts’ Rob Grote

The Districts | Photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

A couple of years back, a young band started making waves in Philadelphia. There were many different stories surrounding these young kids from central Pennsylvania, but a couple themes remained the same: the thunderous live shows, the direct songwriting, and also the fact that they were only teenagers. The Districts were a band “ahead of their years,” as everyone would always say. Now, with the release of their new record Popular Manipulations, the band has grown into their persona and the stories have grown with them. Continue reading →

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The Districts bring Popular Manipulations home to Philly and a wild Union Transfer crowd

The Districts | photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN

“We all almost went to college,” Rob Grote of The Districts told a sold-out Union Transfer on Friday night. “We talked about how this album is like a college degree. Hopefully we learned something, right?”

The band was headlining in support of their third record, Popular Manipulations, which came out on Friday. The record already sounds huge, but performed live it’s even more so, particularly the thundering “Violet” and the quiet-to-scream progression of “Ordinary Day.” The crowd was revved up and spent much of the night off the floor, stage diving and crowd surfing. Continue reading →

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Listen to Abi Reimold and Rob Grote of The Districts Guest DJ on WXPN Local

Abi Reimold | photo by Bob Sweeney | courtesy of the artist // Rob Grote | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN

Tonight, Philly rockers The Districts celebrate their brand new, just-released-today record Popular Manipulations with a headlining show at Union Transfer that is, as of this writing, mega sold out. Opening are fellow Philly indie favorites The Spirit of the Beehive and Abi Reimold. If you don’t have tickets to the gig, fear not; you’ll be able to see The Districts next Friday at WXPN’s Free at Noon concert (RSVP here), you’ll be able to catch Abi at the PHL Music Fest in September (more info here) and Spirit is on a stacked bill with Japanese Breakfast at the Church in October (deets here).

You can also see / hear a different side of both Reimold and The Districts’ Rob Grote by listening to a joint guest DJ set both artists hosted a couple weeks back on the WXPN Local Show. Continue reading →

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Listen to The Districts’ kickass new Popular Manipulations at NPR Music

The Districts | photo by Pooneh Ghana

Brace yourselves, Philly. One of the best rock records of 2017 is now available for you to listen to in full. The Districts release their third LP, Popular Manipulations, next Friday, August 11th via Fat Possum Records; that night, they headline a stacked album release party at Union Transfer with The Spirit of the Beehive and Abi Reimold.

Today, you can listen to the album in full over at NPR Music’s First Listen series, where XPN Program Director Bruce Warren says it is “a powerful and punchy set of songs by a group of men whose talent has finally caught up to its ambition. It demands and commands your attention.” Continue reading →

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Listen to “Salt,” the fourth single from The Districts’ Popular Manipulations

The Districts | Photo by Pooneh Ghana | courtesy of the artist

Oh my goodness, can The Districts just release Popular Manipulations already? The upcoming third album from the Philly faves is due August 11th on Fat Possum, and while I’ll take any new material they deign to give it’s all just a reminder that it’s not here yet (but at least we’re in the same month now?). Continue reading →