Akron/Family set for 2013 UK tour
- Malcolm Jack
- 11 July 2013
US experimental rock band to perform in Glasgow
A thick, purple, perfumed mist spreads out across the cracked desert floor as the raider AKs ride forth on bloodied white stallions – somehow quintessentially American,' writes Swans’ Michael Gira, boss of Akron/Family’s former label Young God Records, in a promo blurb for the band’s latest album Sub Verses. 'A conflation of orchestrated jazz, prog psych, R&B and devotional mantras. Their hermetic hero guitars serve the master sky.'
Nope, we’ve got no idea what he’s on about either. But Gira’s bouquet of flowery prose (and there’s much more where that came from) does somehow capture the unquantifiable majesty of a troupe of musicians vastly spread-to-the-winds not just geographically (core members Dana Janssen, Seth Olinsky and Miles Seaton live in Portland, Tucson and New York respectively), but stylistically too. Akron/Family could practically be a different band every day of the week if they wanted to – none of them easy to define in mere earthly words.
After emerging circa 2005 with a self-titled debut album, placed firmly in the then-emerging US freak-folk camp captained by Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom et al, their route pointed towards rustic psychedelia – think a pared-down Fleet Foxes several years ahead of their time. But if you haven’t checked in on Akron/Family since then, try giving Sub Verses a spin and marvel at just how far off that trajectory they’ve travelled – into the outer space of a Black Mountain-style sludgy hard-rock riffage, woven with heavenly harmonies and huge, transcendent slabs of dense, dark noise.
Quite what that’ll all add up to as a live experience is hard to say – elsewhere in Gira’s love letter he describes seeing Akron/Family in concert several times over several years -- a variety of experiences ranging from 'delicate, improvisational experimentalism, laced with occasional rock grooves' to 'fucking Led Zeppelin!' We predict only that unpredictability shall reign, as these bloodied guitar heroes serve their perfumed purple horse masters in the misty desert sky. Or something.