a flourish

Our very own Charles Hale, well aware of my constant need to be exposed to new music, threw out a record to me: A Flourish And A Spoil by The Districts. I was intrigued by the introductory track: initially all bass and percussion, you’re gradually eased in to crashing waves of guitar and vocals, fuzzy and forceful and wild. This song, “4th and Roebling”, will remind you of several other bands you’ve heard, no doubt. But there’s a persistence in the lyricism, an unrelenting element to the instrumentation, that lets you know there’s a point to all of this beyond an ‘indie rock’ sound.

These songs sound torn more than written. I keep using the word ‘heavy’ to describe the content of albums I review, and that could be due to my own lack of vocabulary or it could be due to the pull, the draw, of powerful music. Slugging music, more Foreman than Ali. In that opening track, the singer laments

“I ain’t the same anymore / I ain’t the same as before / You gone and changed, I’m sure”

in a song about how powerful your sense of self can be wrapped up in your love, and how everything can be turned upside down so easily. It’s a picture that’s painted for the audience instead of a screenplay laid out, formulaic and coherent.

Another memorable track is “Suburban Smell”, an evisceration of childhoods spent safe and secure while discrimination and conformity bubble underneath the surface. This album is a collection of delicately threaded needles: powerful rhythm-heavy tracks that you find yourself swaying to, nodding along with the beat. It’s an album that you find unsettles you when a lyric catches you in an off moment and galvanizes a feeling you had when you were a different person, or reminds you of something long gone.

You can buy A Flourish And A Spoil over on Fat Possum records, and check out the band on Facebook and Twitter.

Ajax Diner Book Club – 2/23/15 KRFC Ft. Collins CO

Charles Mingus “Boogie Stop Shuffle” from Mingus Ah Um

Alabama Shakes “Don’t Wanna Fight” from Sound & Color

Robert Chaney “Black Eyed Susan” from Cracked Picture Frames

Lone Bellow “Take My Love” from Then Came the Morning

James McMurtry “Deaver’s Crossing” from Complicated Game

Meat Puppets “Mountain Line” from Out My Way

The Clash “Police & Theives” from The Clash

Micah Schnabel “More Drugs” from Not The Boy You Used To Be

Taj Mahal “Take a Giant Step” from Giant Step

Districts “Heavy Begs” from Flourish & a Spoil

Ajax Diner Book Club – 2/16/15 KRFC Ft. Collins CO

Oscar Peterson Trio “This Could Be The Start Of Something” from Affinity

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds “Henry Lee” from Murder Ballads

Districts “peaches” from Flourish & a Spoil

Booker T. Jones with Lou Reed “The Bronx” from The Road From Memphis

Sleater-Kinney “Surface Envy” from No Cities To Love

The Dead Weather “Treat Me Like Your Mother” from Horehound

Diamond Rugs “Voodoo Doll” from Cosmetics

Kinks “Dead End Street” from Candy From Mr. Dandy

Bob Dylan “Gotta Serve Somebody” from Slow Train Coming

Billy Joe Shaver “The Git Go” from Long In the Tooth

Otis Gibbs “Sometimes Angels” from Grandpa Walked a Picketline

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds “Today’s Lesson” from Dig Lazarus Dig

Patti Smith “Break It Up” from Horses