A Flourish and a Spoil is about growing up and not fitting in.
The Districts aren't a young band. Its members have been playing together since late 2009. But they are a band of youngsters: Groupmates Pat Cassidy, Rob Grote, Connor Jacobs and Braden Lawrence still can't legally sip beers at the bars where they frequently play.
Like most bands that get their start in high school, the Districts' original goals weren't ambitious. Mostly, they just wanted to have a good time writing and playing songs while living in suburban Pennsylvania.
But their simple fun has equated to serious ear candy for others. The boys began garnering label interest as they got closer to graduation, ultimately signing with Fat Possum (the perfect place to land for a band that makes ramshackle, bar-friendly rock 'n' roll) in November 2013.
Last week, Fat Possum released the Districts' second record, A Flourish and a Spoil. Recorded with producer John Congleton (who's recently worked with Angel Olsen, St. Vincent and Strand of Oaks), it captures the raucous guitars, raw energy and breakneck pace of their live sets. Lyrically, A Flourish and a Spoil is dominated by tales of growing up and not fitting in -- though due to its bar-show feel, the album's words often get buried under the weight of the heavy guitar, bass and drum parts.
Throughout A Flourish and a Spoil, the Districts stick to four-minute songs with simple structures, avoiding, for the most part, any earth-shattering guitar solos or drums fills. This reluctance to stray from the familiar may come across as a tad conservative; however, the resulting record is still a spectacular listen. After all, these boys excel at making damn pleasing rock 'n' roll.
Isthmus recently spoke with the Districts' bassist Connor Jacobs about A Flourish and a Spoil and discussed some of our favorite tracks from the new record:
"4th and Roebling"
The record's first single and opening track, "4th and Roebling," is arguably the band's catchiest song. Consisting of quieter verses and blown-out, satisfying choruses, it works well as an introduction to the band's work. "It is the oldest song on the album," says Jacobs. "We probably wrote it two years ago. When we played our first show in Brooklyn, it was the street intersection that we parked on. We didn't have a name, so we just picked that."
"Hounds" is home to A Flourish and a Spoil's most melodic guitar line. Though the track initially recalls Artic Monkeys, its head-turning climax is all Districts. "It is my favorite one that we recorded," says Jacobs. "It's got a lot of cool sounds, just experimenting with pedals and stuff like that."
Like most of the songs on A Flourish and a Spoil, the constantly building "Bold" feels like it could be extended into a nine-minute jam in concert. This is due largely to the Districts' decision to record the majority of the album live.
"At the beginning when we met with John [Congleton], we told him we wanted to capture the live feel with the album," says Jacobs. "And so we picked this studio in Cannon Falls, Minn. We knew that it had a really good live room."