Why Family Video Rules by David Lander (2015)
The first time I saw Jenn King play music was after a Prescott Street show (an infamous house venue in St. John’s, Newfoundland). She would start and stop songs, forget lyrics and would often get genuinely frustrated. It wasn’t her show, she just wanted to play guitar and sing – and that was cool. I loved Jenn, but her music just wasn’t for me.
Shortly after that, she formed a band called ‘Pap Pap’. Seemingly out of nowhere, her guitar playing improved, her songs became a lot more interesting and she possessed a confidence that she didn’t have before. It did not seem like the same person. Pap Pap gradually morphed into Family Video, a project that saw Jenn collaborating with two of St. John’s top local players, Noah Bender and Jake Nicoll. The results were not only good, but astonishing. Somehow this person, whose music did nothing for me a few years earlier, would go off and make a record with Jake and Noah called Maybe This Summer, an album that would almost instantly become one of the most important records of my life.
Sounding like a band that could have toured with late Beat Happening or early Modest Mouse, Family Video make catchy, affecting rock music. While their songs are sincere and sprout from the isolation of the double-edged sword of having a broken heart and living on the edge of the world (AKA St. John’s), the songs are about finding a way through – but this is not sad or mopey music. This is a celebration – A celebration from powerful, confident and intelligent art-pop masters.
A true golden nugget in this year’s Kazoo! Fest program, odds are you do not know Family Video – but, hey, maybe that’s what you need right about now. Can you put a price on the first times you heard “those bands” before they became “those bands” to you? You know, the ones that stay with you for the rest of your life?
David Lander is a Co-Producer of Kazoo! Fest.