Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Brad Kopplin, Patrick Fleming and Joe Terry
The fun in listening to Akron/Family do its thang comes via numerous directions, but those bursting, twittering freakouts and groove ripples are like fountains of youth. Even the young, who have a strong flowing current from this very fountain that Ponce de Leon thought he was going to find in Florida, can add some years to their life by listening intently - yes - but there's more. There needs to be different intention and more of an abandonment of stricture to come into the full powers of this band from the Mecca of Little League Baseball - Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The members of this band wouldn't be interested in the least in new-fangled iPhone applications or trendy fashionables. They are about the wild of the beast that sleeps in the woods wherever it damn well pleases, wakes up with matted, nappy fur and then roams around in all its waking hours letting instincts take care of everything that might be put on a to-do list.
They let themselves look and smell the way they're going to look and smell. They're going to munch of the berry bushes, no matter whose they are and they're going to get loud or quiet and moody whenever the distinct feeling strikes them. They allow for the idea that there are no rules that they personally know about, or so it sounds on everything that they've ever made. The band is full of these tantalizing jitters that don't even sound weird or kooky, just the extension of what was naturally going to be coming next - and that would be an utter surprise, something that gets to just run outside, streaking around the wet yard and diving head-first into a muddy patch. It gets up with a slimy brown suit on and a grin from one ear to the other.
They can't make you understand their souls by painting them gold, but they can make you understand the flavorful bounty of spontaneity and untethered dysfunction that's just as easily function. They could look at an ice cream cone, milky side down on the sidewalk and hear music in that. They could hear a night full of locusts and crickets having their prime time social gatherings - where they chirp and rub their stuff together until the kegs are empty or the dark starts to wane away into a sluggish and bright morning - and imagine what kind of an imperial wonder is in those notes that they aren't realizing at the moment. They are gladly all about going off on tangents and making the loop-da-loops feel pleasant and sweaty.
Everything the band - oftentimes found as a six-piece with the help of the members of Megafaun joining in on the fray - does exudes a sort of war paint mentality, as if you everything they send out at us makes you want to just finger paint stripes below your eyes, roll a bandana into a headband and just run around squealing out of turn and beating on things - creating entrancing rhythms wherever they're most needed out in the world. It's a form of meditation that just takes more work or effort. You sweat buckets for this kind of meditation. When this session was recorded down in Austin this spring, the band quickly sped into a zone that included hooting and hollering, grunting, stamina and the creation of a steamy sauna. It was originally planned as a collaborative set also involving The Dodos, but an interstate accident in El Paso left the Dodos hauling ass to make it to their evening showcase so the session proceeded as if nothing ever happened. As a scene, when Seth Olinsky opened the door and came out of the studio upon the completion of the four marathon songs, it was as if every piece of him had been satisfied playing the things he'd just played, as if everything was alright. He may as well have lit up a celebratory cigarette or popped an after dinner mint. The storms that had kicked up, the calories that had been burnt to shreds were all still floating in the air, heading toward the hill country.
Akron/Family Official Site