New Band Of The Week #5 - The Districts

Country-twinged Americana has always gone down a treat in the UK, and with any luck this teenage quartet will join the long list of succesful names before them...
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Outside of a Planet Organic, in this country The Districts are literally as fresh as you can get. On the 28th they dropped their debut, self-titled, E.P on Fat Possum Records, and it’s a record that can happily hold its own on a label home to such luminaries as Townes Van Zandt, Dinosaur Jr, The Black Keys and Smith Westerns.  Indeed, it is imbued with the kind of country-twanged Americana that for a certain type of person (i.e me), they tick the boxes of more-or-less everything you want in an American rock and roll outfit.


Of course, as is the way with these things: they might be fresh in our eyes, but they’ve actually been together for four years.  The four still-teenage members of the band met in high school in Pensylvania, and have been together on and off ever since, before recently all moving in together in Philadelphia.

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Attention towards the band skyrocketed on the back of a youtube video of E.P highlight ‘Funeral Beds’.  Shot in one take, lead singer Rob Grote’s voice on the video sounds barely-broken, like the 13 year old cousin of Ryan Adams.  On record, it’s a little less damaged, more nuanced, a still not-too-distant relative of Adams, but more likely the little brother of The Lumineers’ Wesley Schultz (who he really does sound an awful lot alike, which is fine as The Lumineers are ace). Like the song as a whole Grote shows restraint, not blowing his load too early and it’s not until four minutes plus in that everything erupts,  with Grote’s protagonist pining for his girl who he is going to ‘take to the funeral beds to lay’. It's fucking great. In its structure, it reminds me a bit of this.

E.P highlights are regular- closer ‘Stay Open’ is a thrashy little number that eventually submerges itself and segues out in dreamy keys that you’d be happy soundtracking sad sex dreams about your ex.  Opener ‘Rocking Chair’, with its harmonies and whooping and solos, could be Guns N’ Roses played in Neil Young’s house band.  Like the song just mentioned,  'Lyla' is also absolutely nothing like the Oasis single of the same name, and is instead propelled by the chorus’ gorgeous vocal melody that is freakishly world-weary for a band so young.

2014 will see them on tour with fellow shredders White Denim, with a jaunt round the U.K being mooted.  One thing is for sure: if past reaction to other bands on their label’s roster is anything to go by, they’ll be wholeheartedly embraced here.  Quite rightly so.

The Districts debut E.P is out now, please buy it here