Opening with a groove unlike anything Akron/Family have ever laid to tape, the first track on Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free kicks off a new chapter for the band. The percussive thunder and anthemic electric guitars of “Everyone is Guilty” make a bold statement, touching on everything from Fela Kuti to Sly and the Family Stone in under six psychedelic minutes. As “Everyone is Guilty” fades into “River” the band returns to something they have always been known for: writing a timeless hook. “River” delivers Ali Farka Toure-like guitar work, but this song is all about the infectious vocal melody. As the album unfolds, Akron/Family’s musical explorations are virtually without limits. Whether it’s the celebratory sing-along gospel of “Gravelly Mountains of the Moon,” the lush folk sounds of “Sun Will Shine (Warmth of the Sunship Version),” or “MBF,” which lies at the intersection of primal punk rock and heavy free jazz, Akron/Family are a band boiling over with ideas. They feel at home on this album, confident and self-assured.
Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free, due out May 5th on Dead Oceans, marks Akron/Family’s first album recorded as a trio; Seth Olinsky, Miles Seaton and Dana Janssen became a three piece in 2007 after original member Ryan Vanderhoof left the band that fall. This is also the first time Akron/Family have self-produced an album, as well as their first recording since parting ways with their original label, Young God Records. These changes could not be more significant, and all are at the core of Akron/Family’s transformation on Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free. With limited outside assistance, this trio has made a focused, powerful and unified work. The album maintains the communal spirit of the big band that has been consistently winning audiences over throughout the world, but it showcases Akron/Family at its core – three musicians, equals, creating music from deep within. Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free is something undeniably special and immensely powerful. Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free is the new psychedelic rock.
Throughout the last year, Akron/Family has been making things bigger and wilder live proving to be remarkably undeniable. Whether it’s the three members of Akron/Family – communicating, interacting and creating with one another onstage with something like the visceral language of the classic John Coltrane or Albert Ayler ensembles – or upwards of a dozen guest musicians joining them, their live shows are becoming a thing of legend. As previously announced, Akron/Family will be busy in the weeks leading up to SXSW with special intimate performances and residencies in San Francisco, Los Angeles and select other cities. Additionally, they will be joining Ben Harper and Howlin’ Rain for a special Chris Darrow tribute show, "Take Good Care Of Yourself" The Songs of Chris Darrow," at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica on Sunday, March 1st.
Further knowledge about Akron/Family can be found here: http://www.akronfamily.com/, http://www.facebook.com/pages/akronfamily/99555975371, http://www.myspace.com/akak and http://www.deadoceans.com/.
Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free Tracklisting:
01. Everyone Is Guilty
04. The Alps & Their Orange Evergreen
05. Set ‘Em Free
06. Gravelly Mountains of the Moon
07. Many Ghosts
09. They Will Appear
10. Sun Will Shine (Warmth of the Sunship Version)
11. Last Year
Sun. Mar. 1 – Santa Monica, CA @ McCabe’s Guitar Shop w/ Ben Harper, Howlin’ Rain (Chris Darrow tribute show)
Fri. Mar. 6 – San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock Tavern w/ Avocet
Sat. Mar. 7 – San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock Tavern w/ Citay
Sun. Mar. 8 – San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock Tavern w/ Howlin’ Rain (acoustic)
Mon. Mar. 9 – Santa Cruz, CA @ Brookdale Lodge
Tue. Mar. 10 – Los Angeles, CA @ Steve Allen Theatre w/ Charlyne Yi, the Hollywood Hotshots
Wed. Mar. 11 – Los Angeles, CA @ Steve Allen Theatre w/ Golden Animals, Max Maven
Thu. Mar. 12 – Los Angeles, CA @ Steve Allen Theatre
Fri. Mar. 13 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Aruba @ Neon Reverb Festival
Tue. Mar. 17 – Denver, CO @ Oriental Theatre
Wed. Mar. 18 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk – 5 PM – Austinist/Gothamist Party – SXSW
Thu. Mar. 19 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk – Dead Oceans/Jagjaguwar/Secretly Canadian Showcase – SXSW
Sun. Mar. 22 – Hamilton, ON @ The Casbah w/ Rock Plaza Central
Mon. Mar. 23 – Toronto, ON @ Sneaky Dees w/ Born Ruffians
Tue. Mar. 24 – Toronto, ON @ Sneaky Dees w/ Born Rufians – SOLD OUT
Wed. Mar. 25 – Montreal, QC @ Il Motore w/ Born Ruffians
Thu. Mar. 26 – Montreal, QC @ Il Motore w/ Born Ruffians
Fri. Mar. 27 – New York, NY @ The New Museum w/ The Lexie Mountain Boys
Sat. Mar. 28 – Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool w/ Gold Sparkle Band
Sun. Mar. 29 – Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool w/ Larkin Grimm