Friday, January 06, 2006

The Most Underrated Band of 2005

At first, I was planning on writing a little something about the most overrated artist of 2005. It was to be called "Sufjan Stevens- Making English Majors Feel Hip Since 2001," but I decided that I would better serve the public interest by writing about the most underrated band of 2005, something that you might actually want to listen to. And that band is Akron Family. Whats that you say? I didn't get a best new music email about them from Pitchfork? Well fear not, reasonable indie rock consumer, they did make a couple year end lists, and you probably shouldn't pay so much attention to people that listen to Clipse anyway (check #15). Their split CD with Angels of Light that came out this year might not have had the impact that other indie releases did (see Wolf Parade, Caribou, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), but it is just as strong as any of those, and certainly more timeless and ambitious in scope. On their CD with Angels of Light (not to be confused with the full CD they released earlier this year), they sould like Brian Wilson fronting The Police and playing covers of Radiohead versions of Modest Mouse songs. Their contribution to the split, the first seven tracks on the album, contains the qualities of avant garde expiremental song structures with bright sun shine pop fighting the noise to get through to the surface. And yes they do sound a bit like Radiohead, but so completely different and new at the same time that it will matter to you very little once you start actually listening to the record rather than playing "spot the influence" with the guy at CD World. I'm actually suprised that more people don't rank them with Animal Collective and Oneida as one of the best New York art rock/folk bands around, because they are without a doubt just as experimental as those bands, yet much more accessible than either at the same time.

And maybe thats the problem with Akron Family AND Hipster publications like Pitchforkmedia. Akron family won't ever be as "cool" as Animal Collective because they are much easier to listen to, and writers for Pitchfork and record store clerks and the jerk down the street that reads Brooklynvegan every day don't get off from talking and writing about accessible music. They are in fact around to point out those bands that you "really have to take the time to listen to." Anyone can pick out a good pop record, play it, and enjoy it. We don't need pitchfork for that, and they don't want to do it. They want to tell us about German microhouse, avant garde jazz, and music that you can only dance to in theory. Thats fine, I like a lot of that music too, and I usually agree with those people on most of the records they like. However, because they are the tastemakers, and they have a desire to publicly announce their love for "difficult" music, bands like Akron Family will never be held in the same esteem as Animal Collective or Can simply because its not as fun or rewarding to point out how good they are. That fact certainly shouldn't make anyone hesitate before listening to a record that is just as fun to listen to as it is to talk about.



Post a Comment

<< Home