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Afterhours at Northeastern
Curry Student Center, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
The Districts + Field Medic
Wednesday, February 13
Doors: 6:30, Show: 7:00
Afterhours, NU Only
It's not uncommon for musicians to grow and evolve between releases — but even by those standards, the Districts' Popular Manipulations is stunning. The Pennsylvania-borne band's third full-length represents an exponential leap in sound and cohesion, an impressive and impassioned burn with a wide scope that threatens to swallow everything else surrounding it. Perhaps it's a cliché to say so, but while listening, you might find yourself wondering why people don't make indie rock like this anymore.
The total electric charge of Popular Manipulations is just the latest evolution for the impressively young quartet, whose founding members — vocalist/guitarist Rob Grote, bassist Connor Jacobus, and drummer Braden Lawrence — have known each other since attending grade school together in the Pennsylvania town of Lititz. After deciding to form a band in high school, the Districts gigged hard in the tri-state area, releasing a slew of promising material (including the rootsy 2012 debut Telephone) before catching the eye of venerable indie Fat Possum. 2015's A Flourish and a Spoil found the band refining their embryonic sound with veteran producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, Kurt Vile) — and looking back on that release, there are glimmers of Popular Manipulations in chrysalis form to be found on it, hints of the fence-swinging anthemic sound they'd soon make wholly their own.
Field Medic is the lo-fi folk project of Kevin Patrick. His first release on Run For Cover Records, Songs From the Sunroom, compiles material he’s recorded and released over two years from a small sunroom in San Francisco which doubled as his bedroom. At eighteen, Patrick discovered the music of Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, who changed his perspective on what a song could be and led to him developing his own style which he describes as “freak folk/post country with an emphasis on finger style guitar and lyrics.”
Patrick initially embraced lo-fi because he felt that his home recordings were a truer method of expressing what he was creating than anything he could do in a studio. Drawing inspiration from new wave and rap, Patrick pushed the boundaries of what a folk song could be, incorporating new elements in each subsequent release from analogue drum machines to Casio keyboards to banjo. The immediacy of that recording process and the freedom of experimentation inherent within are central to Field Medic’s character, extending through his music to his freestyle, improvised mixtapes and his poetry.