Rare or Unreleased 11: Akron/Family

What a waste of a sincere, tragic and funnily true love song: to record it at home, sell a few hundred copies on tour, then abandon it to oblivion, without the opportunity to soothe thousands of lonely ears that pine for the cruel and beautiful person who just doesn't feel the same:
You've been dazzling me
With your ability
To forget that we loved once
So deeply
And freedom reigned in our bed
We were drenched in it…

I've been chasing you up
And down the street
I'm a lonely dog
On an empty beach
And your ass is a carrot
And I am a rabbit
And I can't give up
'Til my body has had it…
The kind of lyrics that only work when accompanied by a sole, acoustic guitar, almost (but just not) a parody of the forlorn college boy who's just had the virginity of his first heartbreak popped, with all the brutality of indifference. Ah, the memories… This song reminds you what a sad bunch we human beings are, with few things as pathetic as our hankering for love (and anal sex!). Good thing we have Akron/Family to help us deal with the ridiculous impulses and helpless wishes coded into the DNA that cruelly lets us reflect on it, only to realise what a joke it is. When Akron/Family aren't soundtracking our lazy drifting off to the flow of things, they burst out revelling with infectious joy at our weaknesses, wallowing not in self-pity but like a pig in its cherished mud…

If music is seasonal, then I don't know whether Akron/Family is for springtime or autumn listening, but the frail, warm hopes of their recordings indicate spring, so here you go: a collection culled from CDs sold by the band on their early European tours—two of the CDs themselves culled from the countless hours of home and field recordings that the group bombarded producer Michael Gira with, back when they were an unsigned, hopeful quartet living together in a house in Brooklyn, New York. The third CD is a live recording from what the band dubs «Brick Lane» (presumably the now-defunct club Spitz), put to tape in London on 15 November 2005.

I've picked some cherries from these all too limited releases and edited down/spliced together some of the tracks, for your springtime listening enjoyment:

Akron/Family: Tour [.zip file]
  1. Mic Check
  2. Sometimes Breezes Exchange Signs
  3. The Open Sea
  4. Onward/Onward, Trainstop, Bookmark
  5. East Coast (edit)
  6. Goodnight Creg
  7. August Fans
  8. Forest of Individuals Plink Linp
  9. You Float Away
  10. Future Myth
  11. Running, Returning (live, edit)
  12. I'll Be on the Water (live, edit)
  13. Love and Space (live, edit)
  14. Raising the Sparks (live, edit)

By the way, the band's new album, Set 'em Wild, Set 'em Free, is out now on Dead Oceans. Check out the free, official download of righteous (and joyous!) album track «River»!