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Video of the Moment #1173: Family of the Year

By on Tuesday, 9th April 2013 at 6:00 pm

California’s Family of the Year have released their next video for the gorgeous tune ‘Hero’. Taking a look at the lonely life of a rodeo-riding cowboy, ‘Hero’ shows us the sacrifices made for even the simplest of dreams. Family of the Year’s bright summery pop is a perfect accompaniment to the impending warmer weather. (C’mon, warmer weather!) Pick up their album ‘Loma Vista’ now.

You can also watch an acoustic version of this song from last year here.



Live Gig Video: Family of the Year perform an acoustic version of ‘Hero’ at Wax Studios

By on Monday, 1st October 2012 at 4:00 pm

Cheryl recently caught Family of the Year on tour here in Washington, DC with Milo Greene this past summer (read the review here) and interviewed their guitarist James Buckey (and you can read that interview here). This Monday afternoon, us here at TGTF have some pretty special video for you. The band performed their song ‘Hero’ at Wax Studios in Los Angeles (thanks Philip K.) and filmed it for everyone to see. Watch it below.



Video of the Moment #926: Family of the Year

By on Thursday, 16th August 2012 at 6:00 pm

Family of the Year‘s next single is for ‘St. Croix’, which is as appropriately sunny as something should be with such a title; they’re essentially pretending to the Beach Boys in this promo below. The single will be released on the 24th of September. “You bring the ocean, I’ll bring the lotion, together we’ll make a love potion”? Hahaha.

Read Cheryl’s interview with guitarist James Buckey of the band here, conducted when the band were in Washington, DC supporting Milo Greene in July.



Interview: James Buckey of Family of the Year

By on Tuesday, 14th August 2012 at 11:00 am

I’ve been trying hard to figure out a way to characterize the band Family of the Year. Folk/Americana seems to be their assigned category, but I’m not so sure. There are some great bands in that genre playing now, but I feel like Americana has more banjo, accordion, and glockenspiel. Family of the Year rocks much harder than your standard folk band. Yet, with an acoustic guitar out front, it’s got a bit of the folkish feel. So I sat down with James Buckey, guitar player with the band, before their support slot with Milo Greene last month in Washington, to ask how they came to their particular sound.

Your general sound is kind of like folk/Americana, are your surprised that you have appeared in this huge burgeoning field of folk. There are so many acts right now finding success with this sound and you’re right in there. Does that surprise you, or did you see this three years ago and placed yourselves there?
No, not at all, actually. It does surprise us. When this whole project started it was more just for fun. Me and Joe were in a band before, I’ve known Joe for 10 years, and we’ve had different projects that have been going on for a long time and actually when this one started we were all kind of ‘retired’ for a little bit. It was at the time the economy crashed, the end of ’08. So toward the summer of ’09 we were all just sitting around thinking ‘why don’t we hang out some more?’ Joe had been writing a lot of songs by himself with his girlfriend at the time, Vanessa, and a lot of that was on the first album. So when that was done, we had all these songs, so we just started hanging out and jamming. It wasn’t meant to be this, it was just ‘We’re all friends, let’s just play music.’

I read that the first album was more of an experiment, but it must have been different with ‘Loma Vista’ since this was going to be the second album. How was it different this time?

‘Loma Vista’ was different. Although it’s our second album, it’s the first one that all of us [in this line-up] collaborated on. I think that’s why it has a little more focus. Where the first record has a whole bunch of different styles, because each of us had our own personal musical style and tastes in there. But working with Wally (Gagel [Muse, Sebadoh]), our producer, he kind of took all these ideas and moved pieces around to where it made a nice little pop song.

You spoke about the different interests you have, musically, as individuals. Are they concentrated in the folk/Americana genre? Is it similar or are you into death metal?
Well, I am into metal! I’m not kidding. As you grow older your tastes change. I am sure that the sixteen year old version of me would kick my ass for what I am doing now. But you evolve as a person, you grow and then one day you listen to classical music and think ‘ah this is perfect’. You just learn more about music, further than what you listened to when you were growing up.

[In 2010, Family of the Year had a project where they released a different song every month.] Where are those monthly songs? How did it go?
That was an idea of our manager at the time because when we got together we had this huge catalog of songs. It was something we were just able to do. We had released ‘Songbook’ with 14 or 15 songs on it but there were all these songs leftover so we set this up through email.

Are all those songs represented on the EPs and albums somewhere? Or are they super special. Never to be seen again?

In the past, you’ve pursued less than traditional ways of funding, like Bandcamp and the postcards [note: for $5 they would send a personalized postcard from the road]. Are you doing anything like that these days?
Well, what we do these days is more of a donation basis. Everyone’s having a hard time. In the old days, the tour would support the album, but nowadays the album’s almost a giveaway and the album supports the tour. So it’s like if you guys want it, take it, it’s all about getting it out there.

So what do you think about people who do projects on PledgeMusic and Kickstarter? Do you think that’s the way to go?
In my opinion, Kickstater can be a very valuable tool for certain people’s projects, but we’ve seen people do Kickstarter for some weird things and thought ‘huh’? So it’s a very good tool if it fits your project.

I know it’s a big controversy, but what do you think about Spotify?
That’s kind of a hard one. Me, personally, I’ve signed up for it and I absolutely love it because my musical taste is ridiculous. I listen to Kanye, I listen to Dragon Force, and then I’ll listen to Peter Gabriel. Plus my iPod of six years died eight months ago, so I had 10,000 songs on there and I can’t go back and buy them all. So I was just like ‘Thanks Spotify’.

But do you think it’s a model that’s going to be able to sustain you, as a musician?
Not by itself I don’t think. It’s very new, the free one has all the commercials. Hopefully they can streamline it, figure it out. But then there are certain bands like Def Leppard and Metallica, artists that won’t do that. But I think it’s kind of funny, they’re so big that if they did do it, they would have a revenue stream of some sort.

You are heading to Reading and Leeds – is that exciting?
That’s SO exciting. It’s going to be awesome. We are going to go over and do Reading and Leeds then we are going to do a two week tour around northern Europe – Holland, Belgium, Germany, France. Then we go up to Canada. We hope it will lead to something more that it will snowball.

If you could collaborate with any current band to do a charity track, who would you pick?
I think it would have to be our friends. We are really good friends with Grouplove or Givers. Bands with similar music, happy tunes.

And with that James had to head back for a rather late soundcheck. True to his word, their album ‘Loma Vista’ was being sold at the merch table for donations. I checked the big jar at the end of the night and it was quite full (hopefully not of all singles) so I think they had a lot of converts that night. Look for Family of the Year to play Reading/Leeds later this month, with a show at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen in London to follow on the 6th of September.

Many thanks to James for his time and Meg for sorting this interview out for us here at TGTF.


Live Review: Milo Greene with Family of the Year at DC9, Washington DC – 24th July 2012

By on Tuesday, 7th August 2012 at 2:00 pm

In 2011, I covered this gig by the Civil Wars and was delighted by the support band. Fast forward nearly a year and that support band, Milo Greene, is now selling out venues as they travel through their own headlining tour. They made a triumphant return to Washington, DC playing to a sold out crowd at the intimate DC9 nightclub.

Starting out our night was the California-based band Family of the Year. Although they seem to fall into the current crop of folk bands, Family of the Year rocks much harder than your standard folk band. Yet, with an acoustic guitar out front, it’s got a bit of that folkish feel. I’m just happy to say that this band plays a great set from gentle, sweet tunes like ‘Heroes’ to the rocking ‘Diversity’. Playing mostly songs from their just release album ‘Loma Vista’, Joseph Keefe (guitar and vocals), Sebastian Keefe (drums), Christina Schroeter (keys), James Buckey (guitar) and Alex Walker (bass) got the crowd dancing with their bouncy, carefree songs. But it was ‘St. Croix’ that made me grin as they channeled, just for a moment, TGTF darlings Two Door Cinema Club with their “oh, oh, oh“ bit. Seriously, go listen. You will have the opportunity to see this band quite soon as they are playing Reading and Leeds on the BBC Introducing Stage. With a couple of other UK and European dates as well, I again predict good things for this band that I first saw playing support.

With the stage so tiny, I worried about how Milo Greene were going to carry out their trademark instrument shuffling. They slid into their set with ‘Cutty Love’ with one set-up and before the next song was underway, their first transition was complete: guitar to keys, keys to bass, bass to banjo. With nary a flub throughout the night, this band has clearly become very well polished during their short stint in the national public eye. Indeed, band members Robbie Arnett, Marlana Sheetz, Andrew Heringer, and Graham Fink share nearly all the instruments and vocal duties. “Four of us were lead singers in our previous projects, so we really have no focal point, no lead melody writer or lyricist. Everything is Milo,” Arnett claims. Only Curtis Marrero remains stationary at his drums.

I was thrilled to see the instrumental ‘Wooden Antlers’ was still on the set list – not many bands have the courage to have instrumentals on their albums, let alone in their live shows. Even though the album came out only a week before the gig, the crowd teemed with singalongs. The unforgettable melodies and catchy lyrics were sung back to the band, complete with harmonies from the couple next to me. Both meditative and swelling, Milo Greene’s live set sweeps you into a feel-good place that you want to go on and on.

It also seems that I was quite correct in originally tipping the song ‘1957’ as their breakthrough tune. Not only is it their first single, it’s the song they have chosen to end their set with. With supreme confidence in it, Arnett turned the mic out towards us for the ending chant “I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I.” With grins all around, the band watched as their creation was belted out back at them.

As the set wound down, Fink revealed that they were going to have to leave quite quickly at the end of the gig because they needed to get to New York City to set up for their ‘Late Night with David Letterman’ performance. (You can watch this performance below.) This is indeed a huge coup for a small band in America. While they do not currently have dates scheduled for the UK at this time, I won’t be surprised in the least to see them head over in the spring.


After the cut: the set lists.
Continue reading Live Review: Milo Greene with Family of the Year at DC9, Washington DC – 24th July 2012


Single Review: Family of the Year – Diversity

By on Friday, 8th June 2012 at 1:00 pm

Family of the Year’s new single ‘Diversity’ would be likable enough without the adorable video, but the two combined make it quite a winner. Known for their layered vocals, the band builds this song from the simple melody line of “No trouble’s ever gonna take anything away from me” and walks us through a troubled relationship, ending with the concern that “I can’t believe no one’s started yelling at me yet”. The catchy tune and simple repeated lyrics let the talents of keys player Christina Schroeter shine through.

The video, however, hinges on a mid-song change in the lyrics to “no one is ever gonna to take anything from me again”. Clearly, not only is trouble going to take advantage of you, but your friends and neighbors are going to strip you naked as well! One can’t help wonder just how many times they had to edit that ending to cut it *just right*.

Comprised of real family, frontman Joe Keefe and drummer Sebastian Keefe are brothers who, though American, grew up in Wales. The band will be touring North America with Milo Greene this summer and have plans to return to Europe, where they have an avid fan base, in the fall.


Featuring straight up indie rock, Family of the Year’s fourth release ‘Loma Vista’ is due 10 July on Nettwerk Records. The single ‘Diversity’ will be released on the 23rd of July.



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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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