THE DISTRICTS – Track by Track

Foto-© David McClister

Schon seit Jahren gehören The Districts für uns zu den besten Rock-Bands unserer Zeit – auch wenn die US-Amerikaner leider noch größtenteils unter dem Radar fliegen. Eine der größten Stärken der Band ist dabei ihre Wandlungsfähigkeit und die stetige Weiterentwicklung im Sound – so auch beim neuen, heute erschienenen Album Great American Painting. Produziert von Joe Chiccarelli (u.a. Spoon, The Strokes und Broken Social Scene) wurden die insgesamt neun Songs in dem legendären Recordingstudio Sunset Sound in Los Angeles aufgenommen. Als außerordentliches Album beleuchtet Great American Painting zwar alles, was falsch läuft in dieser Welt, liefert jedoch gleichzeitig auch einen wichtigen Funken Hoffnung. Zu gleichen Teilen als eine nuancierte Beobachtung und Ausbruch von Gefühlen adressiert die in Philadelphia lebende Band eine Vielzahl von Problemen, welche an dem amerikanischen Ideal nagen (Gentrifizierung, Waffengewalt, das erdrückende Gewicht des späten Kapitalismus), während jeder Track mit der explosiven Eleganz des Indie-Rocks und Post-Punks der Band ausgeschmückt ist. Durch die intensive Selbstreflexion, mit der diese Themen behandelt werden, knüpft Great American Painting letztendlich an die Mission an, die The Districts sich als Teenager während der Bandgründung in einer Kleinstadt Pennsylvanias auferlegt haben: Das Bedürfnis unabweisbar kathartische Musik zu schaffen, die Hoffnungslosigkeit ausblendet und die Hörer dazu einlädt, von einer deutlich besseren Zukunft zu träumen.

Die Songs wurden dabei stark von zwei Monaten, die die Band in einer Hütte in Washington State während dem Höhepunkt der Pandemie verbrachte, beeinflusst: “Als wir dort waren, verbrachte ich einige Zeit damit an diese verrückten Flüsse und den Gifford Pinchot National Forest zu fahren und war davon fasziniert, wie diese unberührte Landschaft wirklich diese zeitlose Idee von dem festhält, was Amerika ist,” sagt Sänger Rob Grote. “Ich kam gerade von der Teilnahme an den Protesten in Philly zurück, bei denen ich mit Tränengas besprüht wurde, und es fühlte sich so komisch, an sich zwischen diesen beiden Extremen zu bewegen. In gewisser Weise fragt dieses Album: “Was ist das große amerikanische Gemälde? Ist es Polizei-Gewalt oder ist es diese wunderschöne Landschaft?” Die Wahrheit ist, dass es all das ist.” Für uns hat die Band ein Track by Track mit allen wissenswerten Details zu den Songs des neuen Albums geschrieben!

1. Revival Psalm

Revival Psalm began as a reflection on close brushes with death and trying to survive in a capitalist world. From nearly getting struck by lightning, being in Paris the same night as a terrorist attack, to near car accidents, there are numerous situations where death felt close at hand. From a young age, I developed a deep anxiety surrounding death and loss and many of these events compounded it. This anxiety surrounding bodily death parallels the numerous times that my bank account has hit $2, $42, however many lows and the societal death performed by a refusal or inability to participate traditionally in the capitalist system. I’ve chosen a life in music, but many people are not in that precarious situation by choice. Revival Psalm is about saying no to fear and the liberation offered by embracing and having faith in your own survival, no matter how unlikely.

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2. No Blood

Growing up in America, gun violence was always present. Ever since the Bataclan attacks in Paris, blocks away from where our show got locked down for security, the reality of that violence became more visceral and every instance of new violence in America struck my nerves electrically. Meaningless, senseless violence is simply spineless evil. What is the point? To eradicate humanity? To eradicate difference? To eradicate the other? Any answer is futile. I wrote this song as a catharsis over the idea that no weapon, no violence will eradicate the truth. In every era, it is those who live in the name of truth who are the most resilient and prevail in the shadow of evil. The peak pandemic world was like an apocalyptic landscape – as if much of society had vanished in an instant. Even in the solitude of such a world, truth remains. No Blood is about dancing toward it in spite of fear, danger, and ignorance.

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3. Do It Over

Do It Over is about wising up and seeing the past through the lens of a more complete version of yourself. We’ve all made mistakes and some haunt us more than others. A lot of pain has been caused with good intentions. It’s also directed towards my younger self who wasn’t ready for the responsibility and attention of being in a band and speaking, singing and writing publicly, let alone simply navigating interpersonal relationships. It’s a simple song and a simple plea to right your wrongs and clarify your intentions and untangle the mess of relationships and do it the way you would now.

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4. White Devil

This song is a direct reaction to real estate exploitation, from red lining to gentrification, and the heresy of crowning a most blatant exploiter, the most ugly face of that behavior, as a leader. It’s about the ideals that are compromised in the name of getting ahead and an explosion of my own rage towards such oppressive structures and my place in them.

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5. Long End

A persistent theme of this record is survival. Long End is about holding on to hope at the end of history and not giving in to the idea that there are no better possible futures. Mark Fisher’s writing, particularly his introduction to the unfinished book Acid Communism was a big inspiration to me during the making of this record. Its essential argument is that we need to reinvigorate our ability to radically shift our consciousness and dream up new futures. This song is nowhere near an answer to what that will look like, but simply a longing and a digging-in-of-the-heels in the face of what sometimes feels like a hopeless epoch.

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6. Outlaw Love

Outlaw Love is about reassessing the past and realizing how much of your perception is colored by your particular set of experiences and beliefs. Who was right and who was wrong? Was it love or a web of lies? Life is this weird, fucked up journey, constantly changing and constantly realizing you were wrong or followed a false messiah, but there’s a lot of beauty in our ability to shift and grow through observing ourselves and our patterns. I’ve been hurt by people I love and given more than I should at my own expense, but ultimately wouldn’t trade it for the lessons I’ve taken away from it all.

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7. Hover

I have flashes of strange memories from coming of age traveling the country in this band. Memory contains all of these disjointed pieces of your life experience. Once, while checking into a hotel in Arizona, our van was surrounded by police and the spotlight of an extremely low-flying helicopter was trained on us. The officer ran up with his hand on his gun and we were all frozen, “what the fuck?” It was surreal and ultimately turned out that they had tracked down the wrong vehicle. It was incredibly strange and felt almost symbolic. This song is about how you build your experience off of certain assumptions and memories that are potentially wrong or misunderstood and wondering whether you are rushing towards a false reality or a dead end.

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8. I Want To Feel It All

I wrote this song inspired by LSD in a dark forest in Washington state under a volcano and it is about feeling everything possible all at once and emotional fireworks and explosions and loving the universe and everyone in it but also about death and the darkness underlying all existence and forgiveness and pain and acceptance.

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9. On Our Parting, My Beloved

This song is about letting go and the lifting of dark clouds. It’s about giving in to the flow of life instead of kicking against it and holding good memories of those you’ve lost close to your heart. I’ve been frozen in pain and stuck while life rushes forward before, and this song is about acceptance – take the good, leave the bad and move always onwards.

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Bedroomdisco-Gründer, Redaktions-Chef, Hans in allen Gassen, Golden Leaves Festival Booker, Sammler, Fanboy, Exil-Darmstädter Wahl-Hamburger & happy kid, stuck with the heart of a sad punk - spreading love for great music since '08!

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