Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Song of the Week: The Family Crest

The Family Crest, a San Francisco based band, takes me back to house parties during my undergrad days. I was a pretty boring grad student, with the exception of food fights in public parks.  But in my college town out west, there was a small yellow house just south of campus that would become a makeshift venue on the weekends for local as well as touring bands. Maybe calling it a small house is an understatement.  When bands would come and play, the drum kit would often be the kitchen,  a guitar player usually had to stand on some piece of furniture, and the crowd filled every inch of space and spilled out of the open doors unto the front and back lawns.  It is there that I started to appreciative music as not only community, but also a living, organic force.  The musicians, the listeners, the clapping, the stomping, the echoes; there was no figurative wall up, we are all part of this, and we are all in this together.

The Family Crest has 6 base members, but as they record and tour along the West Coast, they pick up “extended family members” making the ranks of their collaborative orchestral community swell up over 200 members.  The range of the voices is vast, the range of instrumentation is vast, but the music, like music has the tendency to do, brings people together.  Musical influences heard in their songs would be too numerous to list. Each person brings a little bit of themselves, their own little universes full of a thousand different stories.

Last fall, the Family Crest embraced a new project to play live every single day for the month of September in the San Francisco area. They played in clubs, on the street corner, and in house parties.  In January of this year, they repeated the project in Seattle, WA.  In March they head to Austin for the ever blessed SXSW.  Maybe if we all cross our fingers and click our ruby slippers together we can have them remember the East Coast and we can be part of the Family too.

I immediately fell in love with the song, The Valley Below, it stirred my diluted, but forever fierce, Irish blood.

Their EP, Songs From the Valley Below, is currently out and available on all the usual suspects (bandcamp, iTunes, etc), and their debut album, The Village is scheduled to drop in the next couple weeks. 

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