|photo (c) Rolling Stone|
The first time I heard Tennessee's Kopecky Family Band was on the excellent "Indie Rock Hit Parade," which streams Friday nights on Philly's WXPN. The song was called "My Way." It starts off rather delicately, Kelsey Kopecky singing sweetly alongside a plucky guitar line and twinkling xylophone. Then bam! Co-vocalist Gabe Simon shouts the chorus over a frenzy of horns and and chants, the whole thing kin to Arcade Fire's "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)." I was hooked.
The Arcade Fire comparison doesn't fit all that snugly for a lot of their songs – they're a folk-rock outfit at heart – but it's a hard one for me to avoid when the band kicks it into high gear. "The Glow" is another one that builds upon the folk-rock framework. Kopecky and Simon sing together about running toward home, and are backed by a chugging guitar and a glittering piano; it sounds like it should be on The Suburbs.
The Kopecky's – who aren't actually family – number six in studio but usually perform live with more There's a male and female vocalist who trade parts and harmony, plus a string player, horn player, and couple guitarists for good measure. They formed in 2007, in Tennessee, yet they have only one full-length album to date, 2013's Kids Raising Kids. That album, in my opinion, has an outstanding first half, but the B side fizzles out quickly. Coincidentally, that is when they seem to run out of ideas and fall back on the type of flat indie folk that characterizes much of the genre today.
But again, this is only the band's first album. You get the sense that the band is working toward something special, and that all this potential won't go unrealized. They are also renowned for their live performances; Paste named them a top live act back in 2011. Here they are performing a couple songs for NPR:
Tickets to the show, which is 21+, cost just $10 and are available online at TicketWeb. We also have a pair of tickets to giveaway for the performance. To enter, simply email your name to firstname.lastname@example.org, and put "kopecky family band" in the subject line. We'll announce a winner Friday.
Essential Machine, from Greensburg, open. Doors are at 10, music 10:30.
– B. Conway