FAMILY OF THE YEARWith a name like Family of the Year, you’d expect this LA based indie-folk to be entirely related to one another like the Jackson 5. While frontman Joe Keefe and drummer Seb Keefe share a connection that only comes from growing up together, Christina Schroeter (keys), James Buckey (guitar), and Alex Walker (bass) have formed a bond with the brothers Keefe that transcends something so random as genetics. Their effortless harmonies, peppy melodies and cheerful choruses are the product of a band that is utterly comfortable each other. They take full advantage of their top notch chemistry by wowing crowds with their signature group vocals. Their sound sways from folksy jams to britpop inspired dance numbers, combining to make them a band with a distinct style.
While most bands gather members prior to songwriting, Joe Keefe took a different track, writing their debut record “Songbook” and then finding the musicians who could bring the tunes to life. After uniting the band and recording their breakout album in 2009, Family of the Year earned national attention supporting Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and Ben Folds. With their 2012 sophomore album “Loma Vista” under their belts and their single “Hero” blanketing the airwaves, you’re sure to see more of them soon.
Family of the Year’s live shows are high energy affairs, bursts of unrepentant enthusiasm punctuated by short breaks to give shoutouts to the audience. The buoyancy of their songs and effervescent stage presence makes dancing an inevitability and singing a compulsion. Rather than rely on cheesy antics or gimmicks, the shows are earnest attempts to entertain on the merits of the music alone. The band strives to make a personal connection with their fans, and by the night they hope to leave you tired, happy and feeling like part of the family. MITCH KOCEN
San Francisco’s very own Doe Eye (AKA Maryam Qudus) made a splash on the local scene when she submitted the 4-song demo to local radio station Live 105. Her track “I Hate You” was a hit and national attention soon followed. Not content to rest on her laurels, her Sophomore EP, “Hotel Fire,” is the perfect follow-up to 2011’s “Run Run Run.” Her songs are lovely and haunting, like a ghost’s lullaby, and her live shows are renowned for their intimacy and energy. MITCH KOCEN
PSYCHIC FRIENDAlthough Psychic Friend (headed by Imperial Teen and Hey Willpower’s Will Schwartz) is LA based, they played their very first song right here at Noisepop. Schwartz’s vibrant keys and vocals are joined by drummer extraordinaire Tripp Beam. Schwartz identifies their sound as “New California Pop,” keyboard driven ‘70s infused indie-pop that will drag a smile out of you kicking and screaming. Psychic Friend has recently made a name for themselves opening for comedy acts at LA’s Largo club, but they’ll be making a triumphant return to where it all began for them this year at Noisepop! MITCH KOCEN
RIN TIN RIGER
“NO COMPUTERS WERE USED IN THE RECORDING OR MIXING OF THIS ALBUM!!!” states the Bandcamp page of Bay Area indie-folk Trio Rin Tin Tiger for the release of their 2012 release “Toxic Pocketbook”. It’s a fitting testament to the depth that the album holds, and to the care that was put into producing an album that showcases the groups’ raw talents. Building a bridge between Bob Dylan and James Taylor, vocalist/guitarist Kevin Sullivan’s vocals are welcoming and familiar, nested comfortably atop the clock-like precision of rhythm section Sean Sullivan (Bass/Vocals) and Andrew Skews-Cox (Drums/Vocals). ANDREW POHL