Music News

Akron/Family Announce New Album, Somehow Manage to Become Even Weirder

Folk-tinged psych-rockers Akron/Family have a new album due out in February, and they've stopped at nothing to get the word out in perhaps the most offbeat way. The album is conveniently titled S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT, natch.

The trio has a history of being on the more eccentric side of things, but this morning's press release regarding the album's details -- more specifically, what all the band sent to their label Dead Oceans -- instantly caught my eye. It all starts with a brown box inscribed with the words "SHINJU TNT" with a return address of "AK DETROIT" -- all of which was in black magic marker.

According to the fantasticly bizarre press release, the contents of the box included "a sincere but poorly made diorama of futurist swirling spaces filled with toy astronauts and dinosaurs," four new song snippets on a TDK CDR inside of a ziplock bag, the album tracklisting written in crayon and a typewritten note from Akron/Family themselves. The band refused to provide the album to Dead Oceans -- sending it only to the vinyl pressing plant -- notifying their label by leaving a post-it note explaining their "fear of leaking and possible lost revenues."

Oh, it gets better. Dead Oceans was able to deduct that S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT was written in a cabin built on the side of Mount Meakan, an active volcano in Akan National Park on the island of Hokkaidō, Japan. Not weird enough yet? Well, the album was subsequently recorded in an abandoned train station in Detroit, produced by Chris Koltay (Liars, Deerhunter, Holy Fuck, No Age) who had this to say once the record was finished: "This album will transcend the Internet."

For all of this oddball hyperbole, S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT will be released February 8 via Dead Oceans. The song fragments provided by the band can be heard here. As well, the press release included a somewhat explanatory video sent to them by the band which can be seen here. The tracklisting is as follows:

1. Silly Bears
2. Island
4. So It Goes
5. Another Sky
6. Light Emerges
7. Cast a Net
8. Tatsuya Neon Purple Walkby
9. Fuji I (Global Dub)
10. Say What You Want To
11. Fuji II (Single Pane)
12. Canopy
13. Creator

I'll leave you with my favorite part of the typewritten note Akron/Family included in their bizarre box of goodies:

Catching the Big Fish. An Eastern European blue van dream up. Follow the 12-foot yellow paper roll from SE Portland. A dream roll of visions and bulldozers organized by Future Librarians unemployed, intoxicated, Artistic-bent, Roving Aimlessly Free of expectation 100 years later.

Here's hoping I find that paper roll when I head back to, oddly enough, SE Portland for Thanksgiving in two weeks.
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Michael Lopez