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Stars Pick Their Top 5: The Districts

click to enlarge The Districts: They got the song-thing down, man

Caitlin McCann

The Districts: They got the song-thing down, man

Shoegaze, avant-garde alternative, indie rock, garage-something—all somewhat lazy descriptives that have been aimed at Pennsylvania rockers The Districts. They all miss the mark somewhat, because, really the band needs to be heard to be understood, and their recent third album, Popular Manipulations, is a sweet place to start. Melodic and heavy, yet drone-y and soothing, the songwriting (and execution) is downright masterful. The Districts recently added a new member too, this guy Pat Cassidy, and transitioned into a four-piece. The fuller sound has only enhanced the band, as you'll discover at their Tucson show this week. To celebrate said gig, the quartet gave up the five albums that changed their lives ...

Braden Lawrence (drums)

Sparklehorse—It's a Wonderful Life: I first heard this album when I was transitioning from high school to living in Philadelphia, and it was the soundtrack to many wacky, fun, and sad experiences that happened during a major change in my life.

Pat Cassidy (guitar)

My Bloody ValentineLoveless: I was first introduced to this album when I was 14 or so, and I haven't stopped listening to it since then. It taught me a lot about layering textures and creating sonic landscapes. 

Robby Grote (vocals/guitar)

Lee Hazlewood—The LHI Years-Nudes, Singles and Backsides: Not a proper album, but this compilation was my first introduction to Lee Hazlewood, and what got me into some really interesting production of the '60s, and his other music. Humorous, sexy, and strange!

Connor Jacobus (bass)

Godspeed You! Black Emperor—Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!: This was the first album to get me into the band's other records. It's a great record for long van rides, and it helps me think. It's gotten me into much more diverse music, especially things that are massive and aggressive sounding. BIG!

Group pick

Andy Shauf —The Party: As a group, this was our favorite 2016 release. His arrangements and lyrics are extremely intimate and powerful ... ■

With Spirit of the Beehive on Friday, June 30 at 7 p.m., Club Congress, 311 Congress St., $12-$15, All ages.

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