Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, selected by Midday Show host Cheryl Waters, is “Sand Talk” by Akron/Family from the 2013 album Sub Verses on Dead Oceans.
Formed out of the fertile Williamsburg, NY, scene of the early 2000s, the experimental rock outfit Akron/Family has built a career on being creatively unpredictable and uncompromisingly shifting their sound in different settings. Helmed by three core members - Dana Janssen, Seth Olinsky, and Miles Seaton - who are all multi-instrumentalists, the band’s experimental tendencies earned them a deal with Michael Gira’s Young God Records in 2003. Since then, the band has released seven albums, all of which bear only small resemblances to each other, and toured worldwide both as a trio and a sextet incorporating the members of Megafaun. The band’s sixth album (not including the 2005 split LP with Angels of Light), Sub Verses, finds the band moving away from some of their folk tendencies and embracing noise and psychedelics more prominently. Opening with a squall of feedback-drenched guitars that falls somewhere between shoegaze and post-punk, “Sand Talk” is a fierce, confident next step for the group. Halfway through the song, the band shifts into a psychedelic, Animal Collective-esque swirl of hazy keyboards before jumping back into the raucous tumble of the song’s beginning. True to the band’s nature, “Sand Talk” is an breakneck four-minute exercise in fitting as many ideas into one song as possible, which is a problem for most bands. However, for Akron/Family, their stylistic restlessness is their greatest strength.
Akron/Family is on tour in Europe this summer, but they don’t have any American dates on their docket at the moment, so keep an eye on their website and Facebook for any news about new shows. Watch the band play “The River” live on KEXP below: