Family of the Year’s Third Album Is Summer in Music Form

KCRW DJ Anne Litt on a local musician who’s caught her ear

Autumn is upon us, but the self-titled third album of Family of the Year (out September 4) captures the sound of Southern California’s perpetual summer. Moviegoers may know the L.A.-based quartet—which started out in a garage—for the lilting acoustic tune “Hero” (off their previous album, Loma Vista); the tune was featured on the Boyhood soundtrack and later became the theme song of awards season. This newest full-length seems destined to be the indie band’s official breakout. Partly inspired by the group’s nomadic L.A. lives, the record brims with beachside, sun-splashed anthems, including the single “Make You Mine.” But give Family of the Year a few more listens and you’ll feel the strong pull of its wistful, melancholic undertow. “There’s a beauty in sadness,” is how FOTY’s lead singer and guitarist, Joe Keefe, describes the aural contradiction. Big beats, layered guitars, and rich vocals add focus and depth.