Friday, March 4, 2011 - 8:30pm
Beard, hair, and prayer beads fly free amid showers of keening strings and cymbals:
Akron/Family do psychedelic rock. But they get something crucial about the form that
escapes way too many bands: transcendence is bee-yoooo-teeful, yeah, but it’s also
frigging scary. It’s disordered and all out of proportion, strange and unpredictable and
vibrating in all kinds of weird places in your brain. That’s the sound Akron/Family excels
at: adventurous and expansive arrangements, shamanistic group chants, hypno hooks and
massive soloing, all moving through an open circuit from the woody tones of American
folk roots to electrified threshold-crossings somewhere out near Jupiter. Check out the
new record, on Dead Oceans: tunes written in a shack on the side of an active volcano
in Japan and recorded in a warehouse deep in the crumbling caverns of Detroit, USA.
“Butterfly,” a stand-out tune from Delicate Steve’s unabashedly excellent lp
Wondervisions, demonstrates just how smart and innovative this band is. The caterpillar-
to-chrysalis-to-winged-wonder thing should be an exhausted metaphor for creativity by
now, but the songwriting and wildly original guitar playing of bandleader Steve Marion
get inside the process. The song is positively insectile—weird, hitching, near-formed
stabs at melody, borne along by the clicks and whirrs of the rest of the band, give over
to inevitable splashes of beauty in the song’s final section. But the beauty is earned, and
those of us that have seen Delicate Steve play live (or heard them LIVE on WKDU last month)
(in their first ever live radio set) have had the happiness of being in on the emergence of a new creature.
See all this and more, see it happen for yourself when WKDU presents both bands at the Blockley Pourhouse on Friday, March 4th.