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Watch The Districts’ full set from Best Kept Secret festival

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

Hometown rockers The Districts found themselves in Europe earlier this summer, traveling from England to Denmark in June, with stops in Germany, Belgium, Norway, and the Netherlands along the way. It was on June 8th in the Netherlands The Districts performed at Best Kept Secret festival. Thanks to the festival, their full set is now up on YouTube to stream.

During their set, the band played five songs off their 2017 LP, Popular Manipulations, which recently celebrated its first birthday on August 11th. According to an Instagram post from the band, the boys are back in the studio gearing up for their fourth LP. While their Best Kept Secret set didn’t contain any new songs, be on the lookout for new material teased out by the band in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future. The band closed out their set with a career-spanning best-of run, from 2012’s “Funeral Beds” into 2018’s “Nighttime Girls,” and finally ripping through set-closing staple “Young Blood,” in all of its glorious 10 minutes. Continue reading →

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Listen to The Districts cover “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division

The Districts | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

As a preface to their upcoming UK and EU tour, Philly indie rock band The Districts released a cover of Joy Division’s classic “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” The original song debuted in 1980, eloquently combining gritty post-punk vibes with a melodic synth that crossed the boundaries of genre into new wave.

The Districts’ version is less harsh, as vocalist Rob Grote sings with a softer cadence than Ian Curtis’ signature melancholic wailing. The guitar tone feels reminiscent of 90s shoegaze, and vacant space is carved out with muted drums and meandering riffs. It lacks the synth pop touch of the original, but nothing necessarily feels lost or missing, and it still holds onto the classic ghostly sound. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: The Districts and Hardwork Movement to co-headline Beyond the Bars benefit show this May

The Districts
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

Local acts Hardwork Movement and The Districts have been announced as special guests for the next Beyond the Bars benefit concert, hosted at World Cafe Live this May. Both acts are no strangers to the stage downstairs, as the hip-hop soulsters performed a free at noon set just last month, and the Philly-via-Lititz rockers played in one of the first BtB benefit show in April of 2016. Now, the two local forces are coming together for a special co-headlining event, all to benefit the local organization dedicated to exposing youth who have been impacted by the incarceration system to musical outlets and to provide safe spaces where they can express themselves. Continue reading →

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The Districts depict Philly nightlife in new track “Nighttime Girls”

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

The Districts had a huge 2017, to say the least. Last fall into winter, the group toured the US behind 2017 LP Popular Manipulations, backed indie cult legend Daniel Johnston at the legendary Tower Theater, and ended the year with a pair of sold out New Year’s Eve shows at Johnny Brenda’s. Now, ahead of a US tour with Chicago rockers Twin Peaks, The Districts release new single “Nighttime Girls.” Continue reading →

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Pre-order Live at the World Cafe Volume 43 featuring The Districts, Maggie Rogers, The War on Drugs, Waxahatchee and more

Live at the World Cafe Volume 43

The latest compilation of live performances from NPR’s World Cafe is available this spring to XPN members — and it’s a fantastic collection.

Ranging from rock and folk vets Bob WeirLittle Steven & The Disciples of Soul, and Suzanne Vega to new voices Maggie Rogers, Sweet Spirit, and Phoebe Bridgers, Philly rooted artists The DistrictsThe War on Drugs, and Waxahatchee, Live at the World Cafe Vol. 43 is an expansive release. Continue reading →

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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 →