Release Date: Aug 11, 2017
Record label: Fat Possum
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
Indie rock, as we know it today, is so entrenched in recent history that many new bands feel familiar and therefore breed contempt. To state that the genre is dead is commonplace nowadays and that's heartbreaking. Popular Manipulations is a vibrant, biting and tactile slice of the inspiring power of indie rock. Album highlight "Rattling of the Heart" aches with the defensive wit of frontman Robby Grote as he laments on familial loss and love.
Philadelphia indie rock quartet the Districts put all the pieces together on their third LP, Popular Manipulations. Friends since grade school, bandmates since high school, the four members have grown up in front of their fans, self-releasing their first album in their teens and signing a deal with Fat Possum Records not long after graduation. While earlier releases revealed a scrappy, hard-working band performing beyond the expectations of their tender age, they had yet to lock onto an essential sound.
The Districts are no ordinary rock band. They might come off as one, though. When representation remains an issue even in a field as progressive as music, who's to blame for passing over the familiar trope of four white dudes in a Philly-based outfit playing guitar, drums, and bass in favor of something else? This would be a mistake. There are plenty of reasons The Districts' music began to take off before these guys had even graduated high school; the band's charm is undeniable to even the strongest of cynics.
On their 2015 album A Flourish and a Spoil, former high school rock band The Districts explored well-trodden paths of small town disillusionment; that strange feeling, known by so many teenagers, of somehow not belonging to the place you've spent your whole life in up to that point. Yet despite beginning to achieve the kind of success young musicians dream of, being signed by indie label Fat Possum merely a week before the band members were due to start college and leaving home to tour the country, the young four-piece muse on familiar feelings of alienation and monotony on their third LP Popular Manipulations. Lead single "Ordinary Day" characterises the uneasy sensation of going through the motions in life: front man Rob Grote singing of sunsets that lead into days that invariably bring about more sunsets, all of them "ordinary", while a chromatic bassline thuds on over drummer Braden Lawrence's unruffled beat.
The Districts was formed by four childhood friends in 2009, while they were still in high school, and the Lititz, Pa. band has since grown up in the public eye, having signed to Fat Possum in 2013. Their catalog traces the Districts' evolution from indistinct blues rock to an infatuation with the ….