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Set Em Wild, Set Em Free

Akron/FamilyAudio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Price: $9.64 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 11 Songs, 2009 $9.49  
Audio CD, 2009 $9.64  
Vinyl, 2009 $16.59  

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It was a century ago when I first saw Akron/Family perform, in the tiny back room of a bar in Brooklyn that held perhaps 20 people. Akron sat in chairs on a small stage festooned with red velvet and small theater light bulbs, their plentiful gadgets and musical toys littering more than a few tables – always seemingly on the verge of collapse. The young men awkwardly held their guitars in ... Read more in Amazon's Akron/Family Store

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for 8 albums, 8 photos, and 1 full streaming song.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 5, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: 2009
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: DEAD OCEANS
  • ASIN: B001W3P5EU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293,361 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Everyone is Guilty
2. River
3. Creatures
4. The Alps & Their Orange Evergreen
5. Set 'Em Free, Pt. 1
6. Gravelly Mountains of the Moon
7. Many Ghosts
8. MBF
9. They Will Appear
10. Sun Will Shine (Warmth of the Sunship Version)
11. Last Year

Editorial Reviews

Their musical vocabulary runs deep - it's not just Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, and The Grateful Dead that inform this record; the band feels at home, confident, and self-assured. With limited outside assistance, the trio has made a focused, powerful, and unified work. This is the new psychedelic rock.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You and I and the flame make three" August 23, 2009
Format:Audio CD
Akron/Family are an 'experimental rock band', also occasionally lumped in with the 'freak folk' stylings of The Angels of Light, or the more psychedelic Animal Collective. They have an extremely wide range of influences in their work, and yet they sound like a cohesive band with their own identity. You can hear the Led Zeppelin, the Sonic Youth, the Jethro Tull, as well the more modern sounds of Modest Mouse and The Arcade Fire. They're obviously listened to loads of obscure psychedelia and probably electronic music, too. The vocals range from the raw, out of tune modern indie style to a smooth tenor to Radiohead-esque breathless crooning. And if there was any question about it, they're definitely a bunch of hippies, as the tie dyed flag on the cover would suggest.

For the most part, they have near perfect control of all these different sounds, and their music paints subtle and colorful pictures. The band has a lot of passion and feeling in what they do. Their experiments definitely do not all find equal success, yet "Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free", their 4th album (and my first experience with the band), is an incredibly listenable album. After a little while, the listener knows each track will likely be distinct and stylistically different from the rest, even if they aren't all as compelling as "River" or "Creatures", the two best songs on the album, by far.

"River" is some kind of mad, over-intellectualized campfire singalong, complete with some seriously wordy lyrics, but the melody will get stuck in your head for days, and the band plays with a lot of energy... Somehow, it all totally works. "You and I and the flame make three". This song really exemplifies the woodsy, pagan flavor of the album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haven't found a group I like this much in years September 20, 2009
Format:Audio CD
These guys are great. I first heard them just a few weeks ago on KCRW's morning becomes eclectic, and I immediately fell in love with their music and their hippie spirit. The songs are so alive and have such a spontaneous spirit, though they are expertly crafted. This was the first album of Akron/family I bought. I just ordered "love is simple" as well. I think I'll eventually end up with their whole collection, and can't wait to see them live. River is the most amazingly heart stopping love song I think I've heard in a long time. The lyrics on this CD are very poetic and the music is guaranteed to take you for a ride through the dreamiest places of your soul. Just when you're being soothed into a mystical lullaby, you'll be rushed awake by a tide of stirring guitars and their own special brand of jam which I can't quite find words for. Buy this CD and you'll find yourself dropping life's dull realities like clothes at the shore of a psychedelic swimming hole. Once in you won't want to get out.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not their best.... August 2, 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have been an admirer of Akron/Family for years. I've got all their albums, have seen them in concert several times, etc. For reasons that aren't quite clear, this latest album really isn't doing it for me. All the usual Akron/Family stylistic traits are there... quirky existential lyrics, sound levels veering from quietly meditative to prolonged loud assault, intermittently countrified instrumentation.... but it just isn't adding up. Could the fact that Michael Gira didn't produce this record have something to do with its problems? I was never wild about Gira's own songs, but it might very well be that he was instrumental in making Akron/Family so compelling on their prior disks. Or could the bigger issue be Ryan Vanderhoof's departure from the band? Whatever the cause, "Love is Simple" and earlier albums were meaningfully better, in my view, than this one.

My disenchantment with "Set Em Wild..." is not the usual "uh, the band has changed its style, and I don't like this new style" -- Akron/Family is using the same musical vocabulary but their execution of it is much less effective here than in previous efforts. They've kept the shell of their music (the facade, really), but much of the soul has apparently moved on.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Last Year Was a Hard Year February 19, 2014
Format:Audio CD
"River" is a must listen... regardless of your tastes. Akron/Family's pinnacle (if not, close to it). Its fun, epic, danceable, with Kink-like riffage meets Neil Young soloing that is down-right indie pop magic. This song still gives me goose bumps every time its played.

The remainder of this record is a bit ho-hum. I suppose "Everyone is Guilty" is worth an honorable mention.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a warm fire for the winter December 15, 2009
Format:Audio CD
This band is probably one of my favorite discoveries of the year. They're so great at making things really organic and folky, but they also occasionally implement really great electronic flourishes and larger orchestration. They love the old but they infuse it with the new. And they do it in a way that if you had never listened to folk, you wouldn't be sure if folk came before or after Akron/Family. In other words it's less of an indie schtick and more of a thoughtful fusion. The usage of family in the band name makes me imagine a resolution between 2 brothers that share a profound love of music but within different genres. "Gravelly Mountain on the Moon" is a great example. It starts out being this nice little plucky folk number but evolves into this sweeping rock jam without you questioning it. In a sonic climate where listeners have an increasingly shorter attention span, their ability to keep things interesting will likely bring them substantial rewards.
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