Barely out of their teens and already signed to the prestigious Fat Possum label, blistering rock band The Districts are back with their second album, A Flourish and a Spoil. From high school cover band beginnings to causing a stir at SXSW a few years back – no mean feat at festival where literally hundreds of bands are playing at one time – the Pennsylvanian four-piece have kicked off their US tour with two sold out shows.
“[There] seems to be a lot more people singing along to our songs, a lot of people dancing too, which is always really nice to see,” says bass player Connor Jacobus.
Despite riding the ‘next big thing’ status, the band were eager and confident to step back into the studio. “We weren’t super stressed out, we were just having fun with it,” says Jacobus. After recording the album with Bill Moriarty, producer of their self-titled debut EP, and dabbling with producing it themselves, they decided to go in another direction.
Third time was the charm when they teamed up with John Congleton, whose credits include Swans, St Vincent and Angel Olsen. “We used his session as the one that’s on the album,” says Jacobus. “It was really fun making an album with John Congleton, he’s a really cool dude.”
A more deliberate album than their last previous releases, A Flourish and a Spoil is the sound of a band coming into their own. “The songs on the new one fit together more cohesively, while our last album we just threw a bunch of songs together,” says Jacobus. “Our sound has matured and maybe got a bit darker, or a little more aggressive.”
“There wasn’t much of a music scene,” says Jacobus of growing up in Litiz, Pennsylvania. “We all knew we played music so we just naturally drifted towards each other and decided to jam one day, and it just worked out.”
Together, the band made the recent move to Philadelphia, where they cut their big city-teeth playing house shows to college kids. “It’s cool being in a city where Dr Dog and Man Man and Kurt Vile are from – it’s part of the reason why we went there.”
Currently winding their way around the USA in a “15-passenger van and a trailer to carry all of our stuff”, aren’t they getting sick of each other?” Jacobus laughs off the accusation. “It’s really fun. Actually, we were all pretty excited to go on tour. We were getting pretty bored just staying in Philly for too long. It’s been going very well so far.”
‘A Flourish and a Spoil’ is out now in Australia on POD via Inertia.
Listen: The Districts – 4th and Roebling