Family Of The Year

‘Loma Vista’ get’s Irish release on 9 May

Lead single ‘The Stairs’ releasing on 2 May


‘Epic pop…a bright and startling debut…Fun-drenched’ – NME

 ‘intense and atmospheric’ –

‘We ♥♥♥ Family Of The Year’ – Nylon

‘bright, shiny power-pop’ – Stereogum

Family Of The Year announce the Irish release of their second album ‘Loma Vista’ on 9th May, which is preceded by their forthcoming single ‘The Stairs’ on 2nd May.

‘Loma Vista’, the second album from LA’s Family Of The Year, has been, as is the nature of the brilliant bohemian party band, a pass-it-on thing. You imagine it being knocked together by a bunch of drunk, house-sharing friends during a wild-assed late night sing-along, recorded on a weed-dusted antique tape deck, left by the stereo and forgotten about. But this is a record so good, so packed with joy and celebration and melodic wonder that they could simply leave a tape of it lying around in their communal party den and eventually it would spread across the world. This was the sort of inclusive, in-the-moment, elated cocoon music that made you feel that you were right there, head full of bliss, heralding the dawn with your new best friends. It was free candy; you just have to share it around.

Summer 2009, in a gigantic empty warehouse space outside Los Angeles, the Family gathered. A misfit bunch of oddball musicians, a tangle of ends that all came loose at the same time though redundancy, relationship disasters or eviction. “We didn’t have any intentions to start a band,” says one. “We were all scratching heads and looking at what our next pursuit was going to be. Then we would start playing music later on at night, playing funny cover songs. We were all just passing time and sorting our lives out. It was all just meant to be fun.”

Among them were brothers Joseph and Sebastian Keefe, a pair born in Massachusetts but raised in Wrexham, Wales where their older sister taught them the difference between Britpop and grunge from an early age. In summers they’d return to their mother’s home in Martha’s Vineyard and eventually they moved back permanently. Come 2009, Joe and Seb were cast adrift, drawn by fate to the Family’s warehouse. And it was Joe’s songs they began to play together – with singer and keyboardist Christina Schroeter and guitarist James Buckley. Euphoric folk pop songs with a gang-chanting bent, cult campfire stompalongs and heart-lifting ballads. Music you wanted to be a part of. Word, inevitably, began to spread.

Family Of The Year – they named themselves after one of Joe’s songs long since discarded – soon moved out of the warehouse into Christina’s tiny apartment downtown, where they fell into a communal bohemia. It was carefree living, staying up late, sleeping where they fell and annoying the neighbours with their lusty late night songs until they began posting furious notes under the door. They laughed and eventually wrote a song about it – ‘The Stairs’, their biggest, loudest freak-out party song yet, which will be released here in Ireland on the 2nd May.

By the end of summer 2009, they had written, recorded and self-released a fan-funded EP ‘Where’s The Sun?’. Shortly after they were plucked from boho LA obscurity to support Ben Folds at the Boston Symphony Hall and bagged a CMJ Conference slot. By November their debut album ‘Songbook’ was released.

Since they couldn’t fit the world into Christina’s apartment, they decided that they’d have to take their jubilant house party to the world. And they’ve barely stopped since. “Our first tour was with Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros,” Seb says, “and that was fucking awesome, that was a great learning experience for us, our first real tour – and then we just jumped around onto all sorts of different tours with lots of different bands. We basically lived on the road – we still do.”

Between late 2010 and the spring of 2011, having found a producer that could harness all of their live experience in Wally Gagel (Folk Implosion, Best Coast), they set about piecing together their second album ‘Loma Vista’, often recording late into the night and listening to playbacks at dawn. Living the life they were singing. ”‘Buried’ was a fun one,” Seb says of the album’s morbid hoedown anthem, the entire band stomping gleefully along to Joe’s partner-swinging guitar and yowling ”Bury me with my guitar!” for something to play on the Other Side. ”We were all in the same room shaking and hitting all these bizarre percussion instruments and singing this song all together. The first time we were hearing playbacks of those songs was when we were getting high close to dawn, that was pretty incredible because we’d never really heard ourselves like that before. We were like, ‘oh crap, this sounds like a real band’.”

In fact, ‘Loma Vista’ sounded like two bands. Tone was the effervescent nocturnal folk gang mocking their sleepless neighbours on ‘The Stairs’, bawling out their central life ethos ”living on love and libation!” in ‘Living On Love’, coasting the wide-open highways on ‘Never Enough’ and dreaming of guzzling daiquiris at a Caribbean beach bar in the synth pop calypso classic ‘St Croix’. Upbeat cousins of Grouplove, Arcade Fire, Edward Sharpe and The Polyphonic Spree, crammed full of the sort of melodies that only come from total, joyful, wasted abandon. And the other was the wistful, vaguely troubled campfire band writing the stunning piano-led choral ‘Hey Ma’ as an open letter to the family and friends they miss back home and harmonizing beatifically through the hymnal ‘Find It’.

And it was this second band that wound up the recording sessions with ‘In The End’ and wrote a simple little ditty called ‘Hero’ that would change their lives forever. ”I just sat down and wrote it one night when we had just came back from a tour,” Joe says of this pivotal anthem of dislocation and self-effacement, a triumphal song about jumping off of someone’s pedestal and living a normal life. “I didn’t think about it much until a few months later… It wasn’t even really finished; it was just a little demo I’d been sitting on for a long time.” Ironically, ‘Hero’ would make them heroes. As ‘Loma Vista’ emerged quietly on Nettwerk Records in July 2012 and the band set out to tour it for the next 18 months straight, the album gradually crept out into the world, passed on, shared around, one of those records that couldn’t stay secret.

Through hard touring and word-of-mouth, the songs inched their way into the public eye. Festival shows at Reading & Leeds 2012 got ‘band of the weekend’ reviews. Calls started to come in from Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno, Carson Daley and Conan O’Brien. Over 2013 syncs started falling into their laps – ‘Buried’ on the TV show Being Human, ‘The Stairs’ on TV ads and Suburgatory, ‘Hero’ simply everywhere from Girls to American Idol. A year after the album was released the song had reached Number 12 on the Billboard Alternative Chart, 15 on Alternative Radio and Number One on the Triple A radio chart. Their first headline tour in 2013 sold out across the States and Canada.

In Europe, indeed, word spread like wildfire. ‘Hero’ went Top Ten in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – it is nearly Platinum in all three – and the fever is still spreading across the continent, hence the Irish release of soon ‘Loma Vista’.