Finally, after over a month of unanswered emails and text messages, blown deadlines, and pleas to finish and turn in their new album, last week, a large brown cardboard box showed up at the Dead Oceans doorstep. It had “SHINJU TNT” scrawled across the bottom of the box in black magic marker, and the return address read only “AK, Detroit.”
Opening it revealed a sincere but poorly made diorama of futurist swirling spaces filled with toy astronauts and dinosaurs, four blown out song fragments on a TDK CDR in a ziplock bag, three pictures, a track list written in crayon, and a typewritten note from Akron/Family. A post-it on the bag declared that the band refused to send the full album to anyone but the vinyl pressing plant, for fear of leaking and possible lost revenues.
From the note and a short video that arrived days later, we’ve pieced together that the album was written in a cabin built into the side of Mount Meakan, an active volcano in Akan National Park, on the island of Hokkaido, Japan. It was recorded in an abandoned train station in Detroit with the blackest white dude we all know, Chris Koltay (Liars, Women, Deerhunter, Holy Fuck, No Age). Chris, on tour after finishing the record, commented: “This album will transcend the Internet.”
Akron/Family spent the end of 2009 and half of 2010 exploring the future of sound through Bent Acid Punk Diamond fuzz and Underground Japanese noise cassettes, lower case micro tone poems and emotional Cagean field recordings, rebuilding electronic drums from the ’70s and playing them with sticks they carved themselves. Upon miraculous resuscitation of the original AKAK hard drive, the album layers thousands of minute imperceptible samples of their first recordings with fuzzed-out representations of their present beings to induce pleasant emotional feeling states and many momentary transcendent inspirations.
This album is titled S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT. We have no idea what that means.
Akron/Family – S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT Track Listing:
1. Silly Bears
3. A AAA O A WAY
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)
On December 24th a version of the album marked 2/6 was leaked online, it was a radical departure from the band's typical mix of folk and prog. rock, although they have incorporated some experimental elements into their sound before it has been nothing to this extent. The version of the album that leaked sounds like Holy Fuck, Animal Collective and Aids Wolf on an acid trip, an overwhelming combustion of noise that seems almost destructive. On December 28th another leak reportedly surfaced, this time marked 1/6, although I haven't heard it yet reports state that it is an alternate mix of the previous leak heard. Apparently someone close to the band has said that they are purposefully leaking deconstructed versions of the album to whet the appetite of fans as well as cause rumblings around the blogosphere, but thus far all is a rumor. One thing is for sure, this is a great marketing strategy, from the bizarre press release to the cryptic clues posted on the band's Twitter page alerting followers to THIS video as well as the teaser trailer posted below. Whether or not this album turns out to really be a noise experiment or if we'll eventually be presented with a more conventional release belying these tasters I certainly want to pay attention until the final product hits the shelves.