Akron/Family - Sub Verses
For those of you not in the know, Akron/Family leaked several different remixed versions of their previous album, Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT, causing much confusion amongst fans. No such tomfoolery occurred in the run-up to the release of LP7, Sub Verses, but the album's going to throw listeners for a loop regardless. Stylistically, it's all over the place; this won't come as a shock to some of you, but even by the trio's usual standards, their new record is 'out there', wherever 'there' is. The only thing consistent about the record is also the most important thing: its 10 songs are all very good. Broadly speaking, it's an experimental rock record, but manages to take in noise, drone, psychedelic pop and folk along the way, all with varying degrees of intensity, which won't come as a surprise when one learns that they appeared on Swans' monolithic The Seer last year.
That album seems to have rubbed off on them more than they realise; the ferocious rhythms and almost hymnal quality of 'Sand Talk' make it one of the most intense moments on the record, and this comes after the pined soul-searching of frontman Dana Janssen on 'Until the Morning' ('"I had always wondered how you carried all that grief / I knew it wasn't right to saddle you with mine / My life, my identity: I lay them at your feet, standing broken in the mirror of your eyes"), so it doesn't take long to realise that the new record is one of the most personal Akron/Family documents yet, and it only gets more personal from there, with Janssen lamenting his lost youth on 'When I Was Young' and painting himself as an outcast on closer 'Samurai'. There's not much light to be found on an album like this, which does admittedly make it a tough listen sometimes, but Jansen has to be applauded for baring his soul so openly.
There are times when the album's sound matches the unsettling nature of its lyrics, with 'Sometimes I' relying on dissonance and a palpable sense of unease to help it stand out from the rest of the record. Situated next to the psychedelic weirdness of 'Holy Boredom', it comes off as cold and introspective, and may be a little off-putting for some listeners, but there's plenty of warmth to be found elsewhere; like in the pastoral-sounding 'Whole World is Watching', or on 'Way Up, whose infectious call-and-response vocal lines demand repeated listens. Sub Verses marks Akron/Family's 11th year as a band, and they've lost and gained members over the years, but they've managed to remain an engaging and boundary-pushing band through all that time. Sub Verses may initially scare off the casual listener, but the album reveals itself to be an accomplished work once given time.
Emanuel and The Fear is an 11-piece band featuring the common staples of most bands but also, other wonderful instruments such as violins, cellos and horns. Emanuel’s members have worked with the likes of Sufjan Stevens, The National and Akron/Family and with such a great pedigree within the ranks you sort of expect greatness before even hitting play – thankfully, they don’t disappoint. [read more]
Akron/Family, Deerhoof, Dirty Projectors, Deer Tick, Megafun - The Knitting Factory(R.I.P), New York, New Years Eve
Words By: Greg Thrasher On what has been the most bone chilling night of the current winter, I found myself waiting in line to enter the Knitting Factory for not only the last time of 2008, but the last time ever.Â Unfortunately, the closing of culturally important performance venues has become quite an ugly trend here in New York and the "Knit" is the latest victim.Â In what seems like an obvious and predictable move, The Knitting Factory will be opening in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 200... [read more]
If you currently regard yourself a fan of Akron/Family's music, then don't think you're going to instantly fall in love their new release. To say it's a departure from their last record, Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free, would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions. Where previous efforts have seen the band turn out some delightfully oddball psychedelic rock, Akron Family II sees the band launch themselves into outer space creating a cosmos of noise all of their own. Songs either fall in... [read more]
Akron/Family are an eclectic bunch. After all, their previous six albums have charted countless genres and styles from intimate acoustic folk to bizarre, glitchy electronica. It won’t surprise you to know then that the Brooklyn/Portland trio’s performance at Bush Hall was far from the ‘typical gig’. For all the unadulterated entertainment the performance offered, the band’s varied set was a fairly fatiguing experience... [read more]