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Tonight, Tonight: Akron/Family at The Loft, Deadman at Glass Cactus and Kevin Fowler at Rockin Rodeo

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Thursday is diversity night this week, as freak-folk and hardcore country reign supreme.

Akron/Family and Delicate Steve at The Loft
For just about a decade now, the oddball trio of Dana Janssen, Seth Olinsky and Miles Seaton, collectively known as Akron/Family, has been making some of the strangest music imaginable. Incorporating everything from a creaking chair to white noise from a television into their warped folk and psychedelia blend, this is truly one wonderfully dysfunctional family. The band's fifth full-length effort, Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT, came out last month and was the second effort without vocalist and guitarist Ryan Vanderhoof. The remaining trio seem to have hardly missed a beat, as Cosmic Birth is solid avant-garde rock from the opening song "Silly Bears" to the closing cut "Creator." Known for their intense and visual live performances, Akron/Family are capable of drawing your attention in a variety of ways.

Deadman at Glass Cactus
Even for a six-piece, Dallas' Deadman creates a dense and layered sound that recalls some hayseed chamber orchestra. Led by Steven Collins, the band makes big-minded, atmospheric alt-country that may lean toward the bombastic, but is never boring. Songs like "Brother John" and "Don't Do This to Me" sound like The Band, with all the amplifiers turned up to 11. Hell, even the ballads are loud. Hopefully, Deadman is working on a new effort; their lone full-length is a live album. But we don't want some producer reining these guys in, either. Perhaps Lemmy from Motorhead is available?

Kevin Fowler at Rockin Rodeo
Perhaps better known as a songwriter than a performer, Amarillo's Kevin Fowler is nonetheless quite a capable showman. Plus, the guy's got a killer sense of humor as aptly demonstrated by "Beer, Bait and Ammo," a hit Fowler wrote for Sammy Kershaw. Fowler's most recent single, "Girl in a Truck," is a slight deviation from his regularly alcohol-themed songs. This guy's a redneck of the highest order, but one without the slick Nashville trappings of conventional country. Instead, you get the drunken, blowhard uncle who doesn't give a shit about you until you can get him another beer. Fowler could not be from anywhere but Texas.

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