On first listen, the new Akron/Family album Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free is everything I love about Akron/Family and nothing that I dislike. The guitars are huge and gorgeous, the harmonies are thick and natural, raw even. They bring out all the instruments in a little red wagon and never leave one untouched. Or, I hope they do. They bridge this gap between delicate and crushing in a way that no one else really does. It’s unreal. They’re able to contain the noise bursts in a manner that don’t make you scratch your head waiting for the melody to come. The melodies are right in front of you, grab them, everyone! This is an inclusive record. Akron/Family would like you to join them.
They do funk on this record, but this is not a funk record. This is music that feels timeless and I’ve only listened to it once. It’s full of warm images, tones, feelings; driving up the coast with the glow neverending, north along the cliffs 68 degrees August 3rd windows down 5:30 PM Santa Cruz county line cliff face at the right after you pass the ocean and the redwoods all at once. This is music that brings you there. I can’t wait to hear it again. As I start it again, the first song, which Dead Oceans proclaims as “touching on everything from Fela Kuti to Sly and the Family Stone in under six psychedelic minutes,” is most definitely Akron/Family. It’s faster, more straightforward, but they are the same band. Tighter, faster – Sunset Rubdown without the inflation problems. I don’t know.
On fifth listen, the new Julie Doiron album, I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day is still as immediate as the first time. Julie Doiron is singing to you. You have been where Julie Doiron is. This album is really my favorite whole work she’s done. Nothing else really sounds like her music. Her voice is natural, honest – not affected, not haunting. Julie Doiron sticks with you not because you’re afraid but because you’re engrossed in her world. She can play the guitar. “Spill Yer Lungs” starts with an almost metal half-time droney riff that falls into her voice and story. “Consolation Prize” is the perfect fuzzy pop song on this record. You listen to these words and tell me you don’t understand the primal human feeling that she feels. I do. I’ve been there. It’s shocking, upon hearing her music, to realize that people listen to people who are not Julie Doiron. I want to sit with her as she plays her guitar and think really hard. Walk down streets with her as she rides her bike back and forth because her life is pretty great, some of the time. You will too.
Akron/Family plays this next Monday at the Brookdale Lodge in Santa Cruz (well, in Brookdale). Everest opens. Thank you, FolkYEAH for bringing this.
Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free is out in May via Dead Oceans, I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day is out this next tuesday from Jagjaguwar.
also: One of my favorite bands of the year and favorite songs of the year, Scorpio by the Dutchess and the Duke is available still on 7″. HoZac’s been out for a while, but Hardly Art has them and some rad t-shirts. Pick one up while you can. I would listen to “Scorpio” in bed every night, reaching out to hit start on my record player and then waiting for it to be over to reach out and turn off my receiver to go to sleep. You can, too.