1201 N. Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA, 19125
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:30 PM
This event is 21 and over
"It has taken five records to make one that sounds the way we do onstage," says White Denim frontman James Petralli, explaining the band's new full-length "Corsicana Lemonade."
Set for release October 2013 via Downtown Records, "Corsicana Lemonade" puts White Denim's freewheeling stage ethos to wax and cements their position as a quintessential, unique American rock band. Featuring production on two songs and a full mix from iconic songwriter Jeff Tweedy, it's a revelation, merging the group's manic live virtuosity into a rollicking ten-song mission statement.
The Austin, TX four-piece is no stranger to mixing crunchy punk energy, scorched psychedelia, Southern rock and knotty funk, but "Corsicana Lemonade," the group's fifth studio album, naturally covers so many bases that it plays like the greatest lost mixtape you could find on your dashboard during a hot summer afternoon.
Since its formation in 2005 and first string of EPs in 2007, White Denim has steadily expanded its sound. From the rootsy classicism of "Last Day Of Summer" (2010) and noisy sun-soaked sizzle of "Fits" (2009) to the soft-edged riffage of "D" (2011), the group's commitment to fiery live performance, textured exploration and blissful interludes has never wavered. It peaks on "Corsicana Lemonade."
Album sessions started in Chicago at fabled Wilco compound The Loft with Jeff Tweedy (and frequent production partner Tom Schick) manning the boards and providing motivation. The record was almost entirely recorded live with full-band takes, ensuring a lived-in live feel.
"Before, we had kind of leaned on the ability to give the impression of a full live band on our recordings. That Protools Rock is way more common than people know," says Petralli. "On 'Corsicana Lemonade,' it was actually the band playing together and doing takes as a whole. Whatever sounded best was what we stuck with."
After the Chicago sessions, White Denim returned to their native Austin, holing-up in a house overlooking Lake Travis from a 100-foot cliff. There, with the help of local producer Jim Vollentine, the band designed a makeshift studio, wheeled in a bunch of crazy '50s gear and solidified the mixture of hard and classic rock elements that they began exploring on their fourth album "D."
The record's songs feel at home with the skuzzy rawness of contemporaries like The Black Keys or Jack White and the Americana experimentalism of Wilco, while the band cites the classic rock shuffles of Thin Lizzy and The Allman Brothers' instrumental ecstasy as primary influences.
And now, with the support of leading publications like the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and Relix, as well as adoring crowds from Bonnaroo to their sold-out headlining tours, White Denim has fully arrived with a record to claim their own spot in America's great rock lineage.
"Corsicana Lemonade" is available in October 29, 2013 via Downtown Records. Catch the band at Austin City Limits this October and on tour with Tame Impala this fall.
Whether they're tearing it up in a basement, rocking a festival crowd or hard at work in a studio, The Districts are a band that exists in the moment.
The Pennsylvania four-piece channels its long-forged bonds into visceral, explosive rock and roll. You'll hear hints of Americana, moments of the blues and folk, but written into songs so expressive that those labels are transcended. Their second LP, "A Flourish and a Spoil," is out on Fat Possum Records in February of 2015.
Founding members Rob Grote (guitar, vocals) Connor Jacobus (bass) and Braden Lawrence (drums) have been friends since childhood and formed The Districts in high school. You can hear that closeness in their effortless chemistry onstage and off, the way their songs build and grow, the way instrumental bits intertwine and the compelling command they have of whatever square footage they occupy behind microphones and a PA.
The band self-recorded and self-released its "Kitchen Songs" EP in 2012, followed that summer by their full-length debut "Telephone" (also a self-release, and all the more impressive for it). By their senior year, the band had already begun to make inroads beyond their small Lancaster County hometown of Lititz, and were performing on the regular in Philadelphia, Delaware and New York ("4th and Roebling" from "Flourish" is named after the intersection in Brooklyn where they parked their car for their first New York gig at the now-defunct Big Snow Buffalo Lounge).
In 2013, they were being played in regular rotation at WXPN in Philadelphia and were a featured performer at the station's XPoNential Music Festival. That fall they signed to Fat Possum, which released their self-titled EP in January of 2014; the five-song 10" contained two new songs -- "Rocking Chair" and "Lyla" -- along with three tracks from their self-releases.
With the momentum behind the EP and their buzzed-about live show, The Districts had a tremendous showing in Austin for SXSW 2014, named "the band who owned SXSW" by the NME. They've since taken the show to Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Reading / Leeds, Outside Lands, Haldern Pop Festival and many more fests in the U.S. and Europe.
That's not to say the band hasn't experienced its share of setbacks. In early summer of 2014, its van was broken into during a tour stop in St. Louis and all of its gear was stolen. Shortly after, founding guitarist Mark Larson left the band to pursue college, performing as a District for the last time at the 2014 XPoNential Music Festival (where they shared the stage with Band of Horses and Beck). But the band persevered, recruiting new guitarist Pat Cassidy and recording their second full length with producer John Congleton in the fall.
"A Flourish and a Spoil" is built about those ideas of transition. As Rob puts it, it's a record about "change and loss, the fact that everything sours in time, but also the beauty that can be found in that." It's reflected in the cover art the band made in collaboration with photographer Joanna Ference: a halved grapefruit, dried and decaying, but still attached to a bright green stem.
Sonically, "Flourish" is a vibrant, eclectic rock record, collecting sounds from toe-tapping fuzz-pop ("Peaches") to contemplative folk ("Suburban Smell") and driving, impressionistic soundscapes ("Young Blood" is well worth 9 minutes of your time) into a whirlwind 45 minute set. The Districts credit John Congleton with shaping their sound on this outing. While the band is used to writing and producing on its own, Congleton "gave us an objective ear that helped us find and refine what we were trying to accomplish with this album."
Rob recalls that, toward the end of the recording process, he had a song stuck in his head: the old Doris Day tune "A Bushel and a Peck," which his mother used to sing to him as a childhood lullaby. "The title was born from that," he says. "'A Flourish and a Spoil' is our attempt to reconcile lullabies with reality."
It also announces the arrival of The Districts as a captivating voice in contemporary rock: a young band crafting heartfelt music that's honest, raw, energetic and unforgettable.
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