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Get a piece of CAKE, a photo zine by Caitlin McCann starring The Districts and Sun Club

from Cake | photo by Caitlin McCann | courtesy of the artist
from Cake | photo by Caitlin McCann | courtesy of the artist

If you don’t know Caitlin McCann yet, you should. The Philadelphia photographer has been making a name for herself with music videos and portraits of artists near and dear to the Philly scene, from Pine Barons to TJ Kong. Her latest project is CAKE, a large format, 60-page zine consisting of photos from The Districts / Sun Club US tour.

“It’s all sorts of sticky and sweaty and boozy,” McCann tells us. “But you won’t find any live music photos in the pages.” Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: The Districts throw down at the river stage

The Districts | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
The Districts | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

There’s no reason to cover up the truth. Before today, for one reason or another, I had never seen The Districts perform live. And in all honesty, I wasn’t even all that well-versed in their material. But I had heard enough to know that they were a big deal, and my expectations were high.

In short, my expectations were met. The guys from Lititz, PA absolutely killed it and provided what is most likely going to be my favorite XPN Fest set of 2016. They rocked hard — a degree of hard that can’t fully be expressed in a brief recap such as this.

One thing my uninformed self did get out of Sunday’s set, besides a newfound fandom of The Districts, was the fact that a younger crowd was drawn to see The Districts. There’s no denying that this festival, overall, is geared to an older crowd, which is totally ok. All I’m saying is that the average age of a Mavis Staples fan is most likely a few decades higher than that of a Districts die-hard. Continue reading →

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The Key Presents: The Districts

The Districts | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com
The Districts | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

“It’s a long way down from the top to the bottom,” laments Rob Grote in 2014’s “Young Blood.” Perhaps he’s warding against some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Weaving humility into the very fibres of his songwriting, he finds a great strength in weakness. But it’s not as simple as just putting pen to page. Being kind is something that comes second nature to The Districts. Even after releasing a record that garnered praise everywhere from tiny blogs to Rolling Stone, and sharing stages with legends like The (actual) Rolling Stones, they still remain the same sweaty, smiling boys I saw absolutely crushing basement shows, a couple of years back. Continue reading →

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Listen to The Districts’ frontman Rob Grote cover R.E.M.’s “Nightswimming”

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

The year was 1992 and R.E.M. had just put out their eighth studio album Automatic for the People, featuring the ballad “Nightswimming.” Near and dear to many fan’s hearts at the time (although I cannot give a first hand account having not been born yet) the song goes down as one of the best of the decade and genre. Continue reading →

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Beyond the Bars: The Districts, Queen of Jeans and more rip it up for a good cause

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

I could sit here and regale you with stories and stats about the Prison-Industrial Complex all day, but is that going to do anything? Even for the most #woke among us, it’s hard to know where to start to deal with something as massively unassailable as a for-profit prison system that funnels young lives straight into jails. But—much like music—it’s best to start with stories. Sunday night at World Cafe Live, Philly organization Beyond the Bars hit home with a massive benefit show incorporating both to strike back.

By going into prisons and teaching music to incarcerated youth, Beyond the Bars staff and volunteers are able to bring hope and respite to members of society that most people have already written off as a loss. “Even though they’re in prison, they’re still people, man. Just people,” said Bars staff member Christopher Thornton. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Beyond The Bars Fundraiser ft The Districts at World Cafe Live, No Brainer Benefit ft Avi Wisnia at Dave and Buster’s

The Districts
Photo by John Vettese | for WXPN

Tonight, a terrific lineup of Philly artists bands together to support Beyond The Bars at World Cafe Live. The organization, which provides musical instruments and lessons to incarcerated youth in Philadelphia, has been around since early 2015, and has found supporters in The Districts, Frances Quinlan from Hop Along, Queen of Jeans, The Bul Bey, Ben Arnold, and Milton. Raj Haldar of Lushlife will be DJing inbetween sets. For tickets and more information, check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Districts side project Straw Hats release self-titled debut EP of fuzzed-out punk

Straw Hats
Straw Hats | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | http://jeremy-zim.com/

Lititz young bloods The Districts have been slowly but surely taking over the world with their bombastic and thought-provoking rock and roll, but they’ve been taking the classic route to get there: gather buzz, sign to a prominent label (Fat Possum), release a great record via said label, tour extensively and eventually share a festival stage with The Rolling Stones.

Their side project Straw Hats gives some members of the band the chance to take a more DIY route. By mixing up instrumental roles (Districts frontman Rob Grote on drums, drummer Braden Lawrence on frontman duty), the bandmates reinvent themselves while proving their musical prowess at the same time.

With the addition of friend Breshon Martzell on bass and vocals, Straw Hats make old-school, cram-down-your-throat punk with the production quality of a couple of angry kids banging on metal in a junkyard Continue reading →

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The Districts, Frances Quinlan, and more to play Beyond The Bars benefit at World Cafe Live

 

The Districts
Photo by John Vettese | for WXPN

Well this is happening: The Districts, Frances Quinlan, Ben Arnold, and Milton will be performing at World Cafe Live on Sunday, April 17th at World Cafe Live to support Beyond The Bars. In addition, Lushlife‘s Raj Haldar will be DJing in between sets.

Beyond The Bars is a program that benefits music education for incarcerated youth in Philadelphia. Their programs consist of providing instruments and music lessons to “empower young men and women as they navigate the criminal justice system.” Beyond The Bars was founded by Matthew Kerr, Eric Ammon, Brian Thomas, and Christopher Thornton. The organization has been gaining momentum and was recently featured on WHYY. Continue reading →