Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Districts at A.K.A. Music, On The Water at PhilaMOCA, Cheerleader at Kung Fu Necktie

Photo by Eric Ashleigh
Photo by Eric Ashleigh

Central PA natives The Districts will celebrate the release of their first EP on Fat Possum Records tonight with a free show at AKA Music in Old City. The Americana-rock band is about to head out on a winter tour with White Denim, with a South By Southwest appearance and spring shows on the horizon. Pre-order the EP here, and watch the band’s HotBox session performance of “Radiator” below.

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Celebrate The Districts’ EP release with an instore at AKA Music on January 28th

The Districts | photo via
The Districts | photo via

We’re hugely psyched for Lititz rock crew The Districts, their recently-signed record deal with Fat Possum, their butt-kicking Shaking Through session, their sweet new website, and everything else they’ve got ahead of them this year. And we’re ready to help them celebrate the release of their self-titled EP on January 28th.

That evening, the band will play an instore set at AKA Music, 2nd and Market Streets in Old City. The free, all-ages show begins at 6 p.m., and copies of the EP will be available at the show. For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page. Below, check out “Funeral Beds,” and find out more about the EP here.


Nothing’s Domenic Palermo on Guilty of Everything and getting signed by Relapse (playing AKA Music tomorrow)


“It’s grown more miserable,” says Domenic Palermo when we swap messages about the next chapter of his band, Nothing. “You can expect us whining about shit.”

Which, okay, he’s clearly being a bit facetious. But in light of yesterday’s big news for the band – as Stereogum announced, Nothing was signed to the roster of heavy-hitting independent label Relapse Records, which will release their debut LP Guilty of Everything in 2014 – it does mean a bigger, broader platform for the band’s amplified emotional white-noise soundscaping.

“We have been in contact with Relapse for about a couple months now,” Palermo writes. “They heard some early mixes and were interested.”

The Upper Darby label is known for pretty much introducing the term “grindcore” into the American musical lexicon, and also launching the careers of prog-metal, psych-metal and metal-metal groups like Mastadon, Neurosis and current favorites Baroness. And the pairing makes sense when you consider Palermo’s linage – he fronted the Philly hardcore outfit Horror Show, which became cult favorites in the early aughts with a string of 7″ EPs on Deathwish Inc. Records. Nothing’s 2012 EP Downward Years to Come was also released on an underground punk label, A389 Records.

But that EP was also the turning point where Nothing’s sound moved from the skittish, gritty industrial tones of their debut EP Poshlost and a more complex, sweeping, dreampop-influenced sound that drew from My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. But way more badass. That EP – and especially the band’s live show – was mega-distorted and amped to eleven. As Philebrity‘s Joey Sweeney said to me after Nothing played an in-store show at AKA Music, “it’s like they took shoegaze and stripped it of every fey genome.”

Based on “Dig,” the song Nothing premiered yesterday, that progression is continuing. The wall of sound gives way to the most clear and present vocals we’ve heard from Palermo, and very melodic ones at that. It’s aggressive, but catchy – commenters on Soundcloud are already fondly comparing it to Smashing Pumpkins and other 90s faves.

Relapse is known for its uncompromisingly loud and aggressive roster, and Nothing has that down, no question. But it’s also got a strong sense of melody that you rarely hear from the label’s bands (maybe from Neurosis), and that’s something that will make Nothing stand out from the pack in a massively positive way. When I mention this, though, Palermo says he would prefer not to think about being “the melodic Relapse band.”

“I hate the word melodic,” he says. “And probably every other thing were gonna get lumped in with as far as titles go. But I also don’t really give a shit either. We’re a punk band and I’m psyched Relapse wants to put out a punk record.”

The nine-track Guilty of Everything was produced by Jeff Zeigler at Uniform Recording (“Jeff’s the man,” says Palermo), and will be out early next year. Nothing performs an all-ages in-store set tomorrow at AKA Music along with their current tour-mates Whirr; both will also perform the 21+ This Is Hardcore after-party at Kung Fu Necktie. Listen to “Dig” below.


Light Heat’s new album now streaming at The New York Times website (appearing on XPN Philly Local tonight)

LightHeatLight Heat‘s self-titled debut is due out on June 25th via Ribbon Music, but if you’re itching to hear it now, the album is now available to stream at The New York Times website. The local psych-rockers will be in town for two up-coming shows, supporting Tame Impala at the Electric Factory on June 19th, as well performing a free in-store concert at AKA Music on June 25th. In addition to that, Light Heat is this week’s Key Studio Session guest, so be sure to tune in to WXPN tonight at 9:30 to hear their performance and check back to the blog tomorrow morning to get a download of it.. Listen to the New York Times stream here.