Over the course of five studio albums, Akron/Family have developed their own unique take on psychedelic rock that straddles the line between Animal Collective’s knob turning weirdness, the Grateful Dead’s early ’60s primordial acid-drenched material and Middle Eastern-drenched ragas. On April 30, the Brooklyn and Portland-based band will release their latest full-length effort – Sub Verses via Dead Oceans, and have lined up a month-long North American tour in support.
The band, who tend to stretch their songs out live, often past the ten-plus minute mark, will play a handful of warm-up dates on the West Coast this week and will officially kick off their 24-date run at Low Spirits in Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 9.
If you’re not into a night with the psychedelic rock act, then maybe you’ll be interested in hitting one of these recently announced tours…
Last Thursday night, the sounds permeating the air at the Knitting Factory’s new outpost in Williamsburg were full of long improvised jams, yet you’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the room discussing Trey Anastasio’s impending solo tour or dissecting Umphrey’s McGee’s setlist from the night before. This night belonged to a completely different breed of “jamband,” as the Akron/Family put its brand of Cosmic American music on display, to a sold out crowd, that enthusiastically danced with abandon during the Brooklyn & Portland-based act’s hour and a half-plus tour opening show.
Declaring that they had lost a coin-toss with the universe, the three-piece act, whose music straddles the line between Animal Collective’s knob turning psychedelic weirdness and the Grateful Dead’s early ’60s primordial acid-drenched material, opened the night with an impromptu acapella cover of the chorus of Marvin Gaye & Tami Terrell’s Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing. With the debt paid to the music gods, the band used the majority of the night to showcase material from the highly recommended new studio album S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT.
READ ON for more on the night and a full photo gallery…
The beginning of the year is traditionally slow for new music, but over the last few weeks things have been picking up with a number of quality releases giving us some fresh music to inject into our ears. With that in mind, I thought I’d use this week’s Mix Tape to offer up a batch of songs from some obvious releases, and maybe a few that might be under the radar. So sit back, enjoy and play it loud.
We kick things off with a trio of psychedelic rock revivalists. First up we’ve got Smith Westerns with Weekend, the lead track from the Chicago-based act’s sophomore album Dye It Blonde. From there, it’s the Akron/Family with Silly Bears from their very clunky and absurdly titled record S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT. Then, we’ve got the Real Estate side-project Ducktails with their Seinfeld referencing tune called Art Vandelay, which can be found on Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics.
We follow that up with folk-rockers The Cave Singers and All Land Crabs And Divinity from their upcoming release No Witch, which hits stores on February 22. Then, we’ve got the lovely Nicole Atkins with Cry, Cry, Cry from Mondo Amore, which came out earlier this week. Finally, we close things out with a song I’ve been obsessed with the most over the last few weeks – Iron & Wine’s Half Moon from his major label debut Kiss Each Other Clean. Take a listen…
Technically speaking, Akron/Family are a jamband: they look like hippies, cite early Grateful Dead as an influence and like to play long, spacey, psychedelic jams. That said, we bet the band members would probably prefer to be lumped in with the likes of Woods, Megafaun and Real Estate than Umphrey’s McGee, the Disco Biscuits and STS9. On February 11, the Brooklyn-based trio will release their slightly clunky titled new studio album, S/T II: The Cosmic Birth And Journey Of Shinju TNT, and have recently uploaded this trippy homemade video for So It Goes…
On August 29, 1966, The Beatles played their final live concert in the United Stated to a sold out crowd of screaming fans at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. Now, some 44 years later, the legendary band’s bass player – Paul McCartney – will return to the city by the bay for another ballpark show, this time at AT&T Park on July 10. In addition to the Frisco date, Macca has also added a show three nights later at the Rinto Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, UT, a state that he’s never played before. Tickets for both shows will go on sale this Monday, May 24.
Finally, psychedelic rockers Akron/Family are asking their fans to contribute their own homemade videos for any song of their liking off their latest LP Set Em Wild, Set Em Free and “set them to the weirdest, simplest, or funniest visual material they like”. All entries should be sent to [email protected], and will be posted to their Vimeo page for the project, where you can currently check out a bunch of submissions.
Paste is devoted to Pearl Jam today as they posted a number of articles about Eddie & Co.. One piece that’s of particular interest to our readers compares the grunge pioneers to the Grateful Dead. Between the tendencies of both bands to play different sets each night, the dedicated fan base and similar roles in pop culture they just might have a point.
Here’s six more articles to keep you busy this weekend…
Finally, my personal favorite Percy Hill lineup is reforming for a show at the legendary Stone Church on December 11 according to Jambands.com. If you grew up listening to Setting the Boat Adrift and Straight On Till Morning, these are the guys who made those severely underrated discs.
After shelling out money for all those shed shows this summer, money is probably tight for hitting your local record shop for some new tunes. Well luckily the folks over at Sub Pop have got you covered as the seminal indie label are offering up their free Cyber Sex Digital Sampler. The 14 track download includes a who’s who from their current roster with tracks from Fleet Foxes, Iron & Wine, Vetiver, Flight Of The Conchords and more.
Finally, in what is sure to be continuing trend in bands embracing emerging technology Wilco has released their very own free iPhone app. Wilco (The App) will allows fans “to track the band’s tour dates, check out photos, keep up to date on Wilco’s latest news, and stream songs and videos”.
With March 6 rapidly approaching, the news of some more post-Phish shows happening around Hampton, VA has been released. The fine folks at Glitterglu Productions will be hosting two nights of live-tronica heavy after-shows at the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium, located about three miles from the Hampton Coliseum. Night one features a headlining set from EOTO, which features former SCI members Michael Travis and Jason Hann, while night two will see former Blips act Boombox headline.
Doors will open for both nights at nine with music expected to stretch till 5 AM. Tickets will run you 20 bucks and are onsale now.
If like me you’re not heading down to Hampton, than maybe you’ll want to hit one of these recently announced tours…
Ben Folds brings his smart piano rock on the road (begins: 02/11)
Finally, in our continuing effort to keep up to date on the summer festival season the lastest festie to reveal their initial line up is the Bella Madre Festival. Taking place over Memorial Day weekend at Harmony Park in Clarks Grove, MN the festie will feature the likes of Tea Leaf Green, Del tha Funky Homosapien, Bassnectar, Moonalice and more. Tickets are currently on sale for the low price for $75 which includes access to the festival grounds, camp grounds and music for all three days of this fantastic festival.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation last week issued a report decrying the RIAA’s strategy of suing illegal downloaders, opting to support a “voluntary collective licensing regime.” But even that report misses a larger point, that musicians should find ways to creatively market their wares to an increasingly apathetic audience.
More bands need to take a page from artists like Beck, who allowed his fans to design their own album cover for The Information. But there’s another, easier option: live DVD footage with each purchase. Akron/Family is doing just that.
On September 10, Akron/Family release Love Is Simple, their second full-length release and fourth overall. And serving as bait, initial quantities of the album will come with a bonus DVD of live performance footage — the video of Moment is available for viewing in the embedded YouTube clip above. It’s simple, it’s smart, and the fact that everyone doesn’t do this serves as a reminder that plenty of bands and their managers don’t know shit about their audience.
Our main man Danfun‘s been all over the place. Today he supplied us with photos of last night’s less-than-stellar Booker T & the MGs with Sharon Jones show, a night removed from his experience at Akron/Family at the Bowery Ballroom. His brief review and pictures from Tuesday’s show follows below…
Over the past few years, Akron/Family has stood out as one of the few bands I’ve tried to outwardly push on everyone I meet. People often ask me in return to describe their sound, and I generally have a very hard time doing so. Most of my description compares them to some sort of mythical rock beast that would shoot red-hot rock ’n roll from its mouth instead of fire. I usually get funny looks.
But Tuesday’s show opened my eyes to what it really is that these guys do so well: everything. A typical show features all kinds of singalongs, wild noise freakouts, tight energetic jams, a stage full of fans playing all types instruments, a four-piece horn section, additional drummers, a crew of back up singers and four musicians with serious chops. It’s tough to tame this mythical rock beast.
Read on for more of Dan’s review and photos from the Bowery show…