Akron/Family

akron_van.jpg
WRITTEN BY
William Goodman

What? Pushing Americana to its limits, dipping the genre's unraveled threads into sweeping psychedelia, classic rock, experimental jazz, and African music, these seemingly regular dudes from Williamsport, PA somehow manage a collected sound indebted to rootsy sentiment. And the band's latest album, Love is Simple, (out now) is a testament to their eclectic influence yet sleek interpretation; "Phenomena" swaps high-pitched vocals and acoustic plucks for thick, Tom Petty-like distorted guitars before peaking in a three-part chant and a lilting, melodious warble -- a Whitman's Sampler of music, all under the wing of Middle America.

Who? The Family consists of instrument-swapping core trio Seth Olinsky (vocals, guitars, percussion), Miles Seaton (vocals, bass, guitar, percussion) and Dana Janssen (drums, vocals, misc.), which expands to a seven-piece band when performing live. Original founding member Ryan Vanderhoof departed in 2007, reportedly to "live in a Buddhist Dharma center in the Midwest." Catch Akron/Family at Coachella's Gobi Stage on Saturday, April 26 8:40 - 9:30 P.M.

Fun Fact: On Akron/Family's eponymous debut, the boys utilize a few, ahem, unconventional instruments to construct their decidedly unique sound -- a creaking rocking chair and the white noise from a TV set.

Now Hear This: "Phenomena" (DOWNLOAD MP3)

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