“What would Kurt Cobain think of the Foo Fighters?” and other musings from The Districts

By Tate Kamish

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Photo by: Chris Stone

Originally from “America’s coolest small town,”—Lititz, Pennsylvania—the four-piece garage rock outfit, The Districts, has become a staple in Philadelphia’s music scene, selling out every gig in clubs around the city—not to mention also having played to a stadium crowd opening for the Rolling Stones. Sunday night’s show at Higher Ground was the band’s third time playing in Vermont; however, lead singer and guitarist, Rob Grote, grew up making frequent visits to the state.

“I used to come here a lot when I was younger to go skiing with my dad at Mad River Glen—where I did a double backflip off that ledge,” he laughs quietly before adding, “No I didn’t.”

“You guys didn’t tell me that wasn’t true for a while. I really hoped it was true,” chimes in guitarist, Pat Cassidy—a relatively recent addition to the band—who came on board after their sophomore release, A Flourish and a Spoil.

After Burlington, the band heads to Portland, Maine to wrap up their tour with Dr. Dog’s Eric Slick before embarking on another tour this April with fellow Philly-rocker, Abi Reimold.

“When we put out an album, we have to focus on the ‘major markets’ like New York and Boston, but since the album is not out yet, we can get out to some other people,” explains Grote. “We are excited to hit a lot of places—college towns in particular—that we have never been to before.”

Instead of touring, the band spent most of last year writing their upcoming album—due out later this year:

“It was a lot of trial and error. We zoned in on dynamics,” explains Grote. “We wanted to use restraint in a different way than we had before to create more contrast in songs – using smaller moments to make the bigger moments seem even bigger.”

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Photo by: Chris Stone

The band members share a mutual vision for their music and have powerful chemistry that is obvious to audiences, but collaborations with other artists are not off the table, either.

“It would be crazy to [collaborate with] someone who has completely different ideas,” says Cassidy.

“Like Johann Sebastian Bach,” suggests Grote.

“Yeah, put some electric guitars in that shit, bro,” adds drummer, Braden Lawrence.

Jokes aside, the band agrees that in a dream world they would love to work with Kurt Cobain, yet can’t help but wondering: “Would he be a Foo Fighters type guy, or would he be like, ‘Dave, this is horrible.’

“He could be proud of Dave,” offers Lawrence, “but also like, ‘This sucks.’

I guess the world will never know, but I think we can agree that Kurt would definitely approve of The Districts’ new single, “Ordinary Day”—available to stream here.

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MARCH RADNESS: Update

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After countless meetings, emails, video conference calls, and promotional efforts, I am beyond excited to see the success of WRUV’s much-anticipated March concert series – especially after last night’s sold out HOMESHAKE show! It is extremely rewarding to see not only audience members, but also the featured artists having such a great time, and knowing that I, as WRUV’s Events Director, played a role in creating these memorable experiences for others.

It is hard to believe that the series is coming to a close next week with Obama-approved Philly rockers, Low Cut Connie. I think it will end on an unforgettable note, and I look forward to planning similar events in the future. Stay rad, Burlington!

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Adult Mom captivates the audience with tender yet dynamic songs of heartache and acceptance. | Photo by: Brittain Shorter

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Palehound shreds at their WRUV in-studio session. | Photo by: Tate Kamish

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Homeshake brings ALL the grooves to their sold out show at ArtsRiot. | Photo by: Brittain Shorter

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Homeshake’s Peter Sagar puts the audience in a trance with his sweet vocals. | Photo by: Luke Awtry

 

Josh Farley: Creating Sustainable Solutions to an Ecological Crisis

CDAE Professor Works in Brazil for Agroecological Solutions to Sustain Farmers, Communities, and Local Ecology

Published on: www.uvm.edu/cals/cdae

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In just a few weeks, CDAE Professor Josh Farley will be on a plane to Brazil to continue his research on the interconnections between agroecology, ecosystem services, economic institutions and human welfare in the Atlantic Forest.

Since 2009, Farley has been working with Brazilian farmers, the Santa Rosa De Lima government, and the Federal University of Santa Catarina to create sustainable solutions for the fragile forest system – 85% of which is now destroyed.

The focus is on the economics of what is essential and Farley argues that although food is the most important thing to produce, it is also the most threatening to the ecosystem. The only way to solve this catastrophic situation is to develop agricultural methods that simultaneously benefit the ecosystem as well as the economic well-being of local farmers, all while feeding the region – home to two-thirds of Brazil’s population; but, developing the agricultural methods is only the first part of the solution.

To effectively implement changes, Farley and his team are collaborating with “state, local, and national government to develop policies that will disseminate the practice across the landscape at the pace necessary to prevent ecological collapse,” he explains. The dissemination of the newly developed agricultural methods, he argues, justify the work they are doing: without widespread adoption, the developed methods would not provide great value to Brazil and its people.

Although agroecological practices are more labor – and knowledge – intensive, they produce higher yields while cutting down on fossil fuels; in other words, the work is well-worth the costs.

“Every region can have its own agroecological system,” adds Farley. This can be as simple as adding leaves or grass from your yard to the soil of your garden to add nutrients, instead of buying toxic fertilizers. Similarly, the practices Farley and his team are developing will help to revitalize and preserve  the ecosystem in the Atlantic Rainforest, while producing native food to feed the region.

“Let’s do the right thing while we have time,” suggests Farley. Through this particular case study, he and his colleagues are hoping to create techniques that can be replicated worldwide.

 

 

Connecting Classrooms with Communities: How CDAE is Creating Real Change Globally and Locally

To be published in the University of Vermont’s Community Development and Applied Economics Newsletter:

“How do we help people make the change they want to see in their community?” poses CDAE Lecturer Thomas DeSisto.

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Photo by: Shea Caligari

He continues, “One of the problems with high schools or universities is the fact that we’re all in different departments and that everything is topically focused.”

DeSisto teaches courses on computer literacy, research methods, and sustainable development, enabling students to create their own solutions to “real world” problems – specifically through service learning.  

CDAE students are encouraged to look at situations from a “broader, more holistic” perspective, and act on it. DeSisto reflects that, as an undergrad, he was always frustrated by how professors presented problem after problem, offering few – if any – solutions.

DeSisto’s flagship service learning partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Education in St. Lucia  provides students with the opportunity to work with community members in the small island state to create the change they want to see.

Shelley Nhan, a senior Public Communications major, reflects on her time in St. Lucia, “I loved learning about the St. Lucian culture and working with the students at the Rivere Doree school.”

She recommends this course to anyone looking to “make a difference and gain hands-on experience through CDAE.”

DeSisto has been leading the service-learning trip every January since 2005, and finds it rewarding to see students “realize what they can do with what they already know.” DeSisto teaches courses on computer literacy, research methods, and sustainable development, enabling students to create their own solutions to “real world” problems – specifically through service learning.  

CDAE students are encouraged to look at situations from a “broader, more holistic” perspective, and act on it. DeSisto reflects that, as an undergrad, he was always frustrated by how professors presented problem after problem, offering few – if any – solutions.

DeSisto’s flagship service learning partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Education in St. Lucia  provides students with the opportunity to work with community members in the small island state to create the change they want to see.

Shelley Nhan, a senior Public Communications major, reflects on her time in St. Lucia, “I loved learning about the St. Lucian culture and working with the students at the Rivere Doree school.”

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Photo by: Molly O’Shea

She recommends this course to anyone looking to “make a difference and gain hands-on experience through CDAE.”

DeSisto has been leading the service-learning trip every January since 2005, and finds it rewarding to see students “realize what they can do with what they already know.”

To replicate these efforts in Burlington, DeSisto developed a course called “Local Community Initiatives” in which students work with low-income entrepreneurs in the North End to help improve and expand their businesses. Similarly, Kelly Hamshaw teaches a separate section of the course focused on rural Vermont, specifically the town of Bristol.

Although DeSisto finds the learning, teaching, and community-building opportunities in CDAE rewarding, he considers working with UVM students to be a bittersweet experience: “The best and worst part about teaching at UVM is you meet all these great people and they go off and do all these great things. You are really excited for them, but you miss them.”

  

Millions of Americans spend Presidents’ Day in Canada

(OTTAWA, ON) – On February 20th, Ottawan officials reported millions of US tourists not only in the capital, but throughout the entire country of Canada – exceeding the projected number of tourists for the next five years in just one weekend. Why? Many US citizens felt a sudden inclination to celebrate Canada’s annual Family Day instead of their own Presidents’ Day.

Family Day is a national holiday that takes place in almost all Canadian provinces on the third Monday in February. Most people have off from work, and are encouraged to spend time with their loved ones.

“It is great to see so many people taking part in Canadian culture,” commented Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. “Family Day is a holiday of which we are immensely proud, and we hope our visitors – those who do return home – bring the tradition back with them.”

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US President, Donald Trump, however, has offered some “alternative facts” on the matter. He published an official tweet stating, “This Presidents’ Day was the most celebrated ever. Huge. The best!”

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