Thursday, February 22, 2007

Akron/Family Tour Press

In their relatively short existence as a band Akron / Family have logged in some serious time on the road. In 2006 alone they conquered numerous tours of the US, Canada, and Europe. Judging by the list of upcoming shows they don't appear to be slowing down any time soon. Mid West and European dates are listed below. Check out some recent tour press from their latest East Cost jaunt.

Akron/Family live preview
Feb 22/07
By David Malitz

The first (and only) time David saw Akron/Family was Dec. 8, 2005. Why does
he remember the specific date for a random concert? Because -- and sorry to
get all Zach Braff on you -- more than any other show over the past few
years, that one changed his life the most. Here's why: It wasn't necessarily
the best show I've seen during that stretch, although it certainly was
great. It was more the circumstances surrounding it. It was a Thursday
night, the forecast was calling for snow, it was a band I was into, but not
all that much. Still, I felt some pull to go see this show, to support a
good band that I hadn't seen before on a night when there clearly wasn't
going to be much of a crowd. So I went to Iota and was rewarded with one of
the most unique performances I've ever seen. The band certainly didn't care
that there were maybe 30 people in attendance. It went about its business as
it normally would, playing a two-hour-plus set that veered all over the map
from instrument-free four-part singalongs in the middle of the audience to
psychedelic noise freakouts that extended past the 10-minute mark. The
band's album didn't prepare me for that second half of that equation. I was
expecting mostly gentle, back-porch folk with some experimental undertones,
not the second coming of Blue Cheer. It was an awesome show and it served as
inspiration to check out more unknown, somewhat obscure bands on a regular
basis, because you never know when you'll have your mind blown. Tonight the
Family has a much more high-profile show at the Rock and Roll Hotel. Opener
Kitty Hawk flies under the radar in the Federal Reserve collective, but it
might just be the best of the batch, with fragile indie-folk songs that
exude that most intangible of musical qualities -- honesty. Deleted Scenes
rounds out the bill.

The Weekly Dig / Boston
All together now
by Michael Brodeur
February 07, 2007

“Quit your job, move to New York, we’ll live in the shittiest neighborhood
in the city, and we’ll start a band. It’ll be fucking great!”

Ahh, the mating call of the North American indie rocker. Who in the prime of
their youth hasn’t heard its sweet, completely impractical song? And yet, as
tired and done and old and over as the notion of leaving behind one’s
proverbial Pennsylvania to find success on the sticky stages and glossy
pages of the big city may be, that’s precisely what Akron/Family did.

They also did the requisite
crappy-apartment-in-Bushwick-right-above-volume-fascist-neighbors thing
until they could afford separate quarters and a rehearsal space; as well as
the 50-copies-of-their-demo-stuffed-into-an-Astor Place-mailbox thing,
complete with “here goes” finger-crossing and starry eyes. The thing is,
that shit actually worked.

From the 50 vellum packets sent out by the four transplants, they received
two replies: a friendly pre-printed “thank you”/“sorry” card from Merge
(“That was nice of them,” Akron multi-instrumentalist Dana Janssen says) and
a relatively detailed appraisal and critique via email from ex-Swans czar
and contemporary fringe impresario Michael Gira.

“He started coming to see us perform every Sunday at Pete’s Candy Store,
suggested we work together on recording and releasing and album, and we were
like, ‘Great!’” Janssen recalls, sounding residually dumbstruck even three
years after the fact.

Then the story momentarily pauses while Cameron Crowe goes out on the
balcony to have a cigarette and phone his mom.

Just kidding.

But this whole thing just seems so easy, doesn’t it? Gosh, what happens
next? Does Uncle Jerry die and leave the kids his decrepit old tour bus from
the ’60s? You wouldn’t expect one of the most original bands out there to
spring from the oldest story ever told, but if there’s one thing clearly
demonstrated by both the making and the music of Akron/Family, it’s that
cliché (cliché as it is) is hardly barren—it can be mined, refined and used
for fuel.

The debut record that rose from their initial encounters with Gira (as
producer) caught them at their songiest and most level—clear-minded but
elaborate, decadent but modest, noisy but controlled. It was a strategy, no
doubt, devised by Gira himself, whose flair for introduction could be
credited for launching that whole Devendra Banhart situation. Gira’s Young
God label, even with all 10 of its toes wiggling in the tepid freakfolk
puddle, would prove to be the perfect forum for Akron/Family to come into
their own. Interest swelled as label devotees were automatically curious
about what a Young God rock band could possibly sound like, while the
collaborative yet laissez-faire M.O. of the label ensured they’d never sound
like one thing for long.

Perhaps the best realization of the band’s ease with variety is last year’s
split album between Akron/Family and Gira’s own Angels of Light project (for
which the boys served as backing band). On the Angels’ half, the Family
holds down beaten slo-mo country grooves for Gira’s moany baritone to crawl
across. On their own songs, Revolver-ish arabesques collapse into storms of
noise that would make Glenn Branca giggle; limpid, croony ballads erupt into
mathy fits and stutters; and Jewish mystics crash an Appalachian hoedown.
Throughout it all, the band sings in unison. Sometimes this unison sounds
like a gospel choir from central Vermont; sometimes it sounds like the
occupants of a plummeting elevator—but it always sounds like Akron/Family.

“That’s directly related to Michael’s influence,” Janssen says. “[Bandmate]
Ryan [Vanderhoof] had worked a lot with harmonies in the past, but it was
something that Michael really wanted to pull out of us and showcase. That’s
the role of a producer, partly, but really, it’s a gift that Michael has for
seeing things.”

One song in particular from the split album, “Raising the Sparks,” features
a stretch where the instruments drop out entirely, leaving the four
hollering, clapping and practically leaping right off the recording. It’s as
explosively lonely as it is powerfully vulnerable—Akron/Family at their

“How can I put it—it means to uplift yourself,” Janssen says. “So often, you
have to deal with this whole image thing. People just want to be cool. And
that’s fine. I like cool people. I don’t want to be a preacher—the point is
to let it go, loosen up, not worry about what the guy next to you thinks of
your dancing.”

And, like the nightly climax of any rock dream come remarkably true, you can
bet there will be dancing at this week’s appearance—or some approximation

“People lose their shit,” he says, “and I think we’ve already lost ours.”

03/08 Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig
03/09 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
03/10 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
03/11 St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
03/13 Vermillion, SD @ University of South Dakota
03/14 Grinnell, IA @ Bob’s Underground at Grinnell College
03/16 Columbus, OH @ Little Brothers
03/17 Buffalo, NY @ Sound Lab
03/07 Annandale-On-Hudson, NY @ Bard College

04/10 Stockholm, SWE @ Debasser
04/11 Oslo, NOR @ John Dee-Oslo
04/12 Copenhagen, DK @ Vega
04/13 Berlin, DEU @ Festsaal Kreuzberg
04/14 Rotterdam, NL @ Motel Mozaique, Fest
04/15 Brugge, BEL @ Cactus
04/17 Brussels, BEL @ AB Domino Fest,
04/18 Tourcoing, FR @ Le grand mix,
04/19 Bourges, FR @ Printemps de Bourges Fest
04/20 Bilbao, ESP @ Azkena
04/21 Madrid, ESP @ Low Club
04/22 Lisbon, PRT @ Music Box
04/23 Braga, PRT @ Teatro Circo
04/25 Barcelona, ESP @ Auditorio
04/26 Turin, IT @ Spazio 2121,
04/27 Milan, IT @ Jail Club
04/28 Ravenna, IT @ Bronson
04/29 Romam,IT @ Circolo Artisti

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