Family Junction
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Family Junction

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Nov
16
Family Junction @ Knitting Factory - Tap Bar

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

Nov
02
Family Junction @ Ground Zero (RPI)

Troy, New York, USA

Troy, New York, USA

Oct
03
Family Junction @ Lion's Den (214 Sullivan St.)

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

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Family Junction
FamJam Records
Running Trains (we're huge in Japan)
13-song CD + extras

Family Junction’s Running Trains (we’re huge in Japan) is a self-produced album that includes 13 great original tunes plus a bonus DVD that features two versions of their homemade movie, shorts, deleted scenes and commentary tracks. I am impressed by the overall packaging and the idea of including a DVD. This multi-instrumentalist (they all switch) quintet incorporate various styles of music such as progressive, funk, jazz, rock, folk and hip hop and utilize them flawlessly in their approach to songwriting. There are some great jazzy guitar arrangements complimented with smooth rhymes flowing on top. Family Junction remind me of Phish during the upslope of their success; before their egos and drug addictions forced them to write goofy songs while continuously breaking up and reforming until the diehard Trey fans finally realized that he does not have the ‘Midas Touch.’ Family Junction has evolved past the jam-band scene, creating a new genre for their fans to absorb. If you like Umhpries Mcgee and hip-hop (backed by a live band) then you will enjoy Family Junction. (Leonid)
- The Noise: Rock Around Boston


Don't silence us
by Seth Kroll | June 26, 2007

FAMILY JUNCTION is a band made up of five childhood friends. We decided that, after college, we were going to take on the American entrepreneurial spirit, work together, and create music as a living -- a job that is rewarding, but by no means easy.

As listeners of Internet radio, we were able to find new and incredible influences from around the globe.

Once we recorded our first Family Junction songs, Internet radio helped us once again. We were able to have our music played to thousands of people across the United States -- people who were eager to hear our music.

By finding a niche crowd across the United States, we were given the encouragement to continue following our dreams of writing and recording music. We now have songs playing on college radio stations (many of which are web-only), and niche genre stations throughout the United States.

But that could all change.

In March, the Copyright Royalty Board issued catastrophic royalty rate hikes -- increases of 300 to 1200 percent -- which are set to take effect July 15. And some of the increases will be retroactive to January of last year.

The decision by the Copyright Royalty Board to increase royalty rates would drastically restrict these crucial outlets of expression for music creators and the outlets of diversity for music listeners.

Artists like us should be compensated for creative works. This is vital to the way independent artists make a living. But royalties should be collected at fair rates -- certainly not at rates that would bankrupt Internet radio stations. If the balance is disturbed, and the current status quo drastically changes, the diverse Internet radio services will be forced to pay increased royalty rates that are so high (by many estimates, royalties will exceed what some of these stations generate in revenue), they will simply shut down.

The Internet radio stations that Family Junction depends on are among the many that will not be able to afford to pay the royalties required of them.

Royalties are supposed to reward artists, but the new rates will not help us. Quite the opposite. Instead of worrying about generating income from royalty rates, we could basically forget about royalties altogether, because there will be very few stations left who will play our songs. And our experience is the same as so many other bands out there.

If Congress allows these new royalty rates to go into effect, independent artists will have a more difficult time being successful in sustaining ourselves though our creative works. For music fans, the Internet's greatest feature of democracy of thought, action and exchange of ideas around the globe will be limited and online radio will start to sound more like broadcast radio -- a limited number of artists and a limited number of genres. And that translates to bored music fans.

The Family Junction sound may not ever make it onto mainstream terrestrial radio, and that has never been our intention. But we should not be restricted from the markets that have embraced and appreciated our creative works. We aim to create music for this crowd -- and hope that crowd continues to grow. The 50 million people who listen to Internet radio every week are doing so for the diversity of content they find on it.

As musicians and music lovers, we want to preserve the channels that present our music to people who might like it and might otherwise never hear it. Without Internet radio, where do we connect with the fans we are seeking?

Seth Kroll is the lyricist for the band Family Junction. The band's website is www.familyjunction.org.
- Boston Globe - Opinion Section


Family Junction Unveils Family Jewel
by Matthew Robinson
EDGE Boston Contributor
Monday Sep 17, 2007

The members of local jam-jazz, pop-funk band not only share instruments, musical influences (ranging from David Byrne to Frank Zappa, with more than a touch of Phish and Radiohead mixed in) and production duties, they also share their new album--the CD/DVD combination called "Running Trains (We’re Huge in Japan)" (FamJam) with a bunch of other talented regional artists.

In addition to offering a new, full-length CD of their own impressive music, the Family Junction’s jewel includes an Easter egg-enhanced DVD, on which is a special pioneering package called "FamJam’s Music-Stache, Vol. I"--a complete album’s worth of great songs by a raft of other musicians, including Bajuco, Casa Soy, Fiction Function and Los Mustachios.

"The common thread between our closest friends and us is that we all are creating new and interesting music," says Family member Seth Kroll. "We came up with the idea of FamJam’s Music-Stache after long conversations about how difficult it is for independent musicians to promote themselves."

In addition to supporting other up-and-coming bands by featuring their music on the "Stache," Family Junction has also been working to help support the environment (by way of Guster-ite Adam Gardner’s Reverb programs) and Internet radio. They recently performed in front of the U.S. Capitol in order to bring attention to the Save Net Radio Coalition--a group of concerned artists and record industry professionals who have banded together to fight RIAA efforts to raise royalty fees.

"If the royalty rates are increased to the proposed levels," Kroll explains, "many of the Internet radio stations...will be forced to shut down because the rates will be too high for them to stay in business. If that happens, as independent artists, we can forget about royalty rates all together because there will be no one around to play our music."

Though all these efforts on behalf of other artists may be unusual, Kroll and the rest of the Family see it as a win-win.

"Our response has been overwhelmingly positive," Kroll says, noting that Sen. John Kerry agreed to co-sponsor the Internet Radio Equality Act after the band lobbied him on its behalf. "A commitment has been made to negotiate reasonable royalties."

Family Junction will unveil their new CD "Running Trains (Huge in Japan)" at Bill’s Bar, 5 ½ Lansdowne St. with special guests Cambiata, The Dig, and Fly Upright Kite 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20.
- Edge


By: Stephanie Jacoby

Every once in awhile, one comes across a band whose music completely reflects their close relationships with one another, whose prose and overall ability is heightened by their history together, and whose sophomore album, Running Trains (We're Huge in Japan) (self-released) has the potential to make a rather large impact on folk's ears.

Born and bred in Boston, Family Junction is a local gem - a group of creative minds that have managed to not only produce their own CD but also an accompanying DVD as well. The audio portion starts with "Calypso Gentle Giant," an obvious reference to one of their influences that provides a short snappy intro to "Superhero Rejects," a relaxed jam that seeps into your head and allows you to get lost in the jazzy, funky undertone. It gradually builds to the final verse: "Alouicious so magicious / His decisions so ambitious," sung three times in a beautiful two-part harmony.

The DVD syncs up to the CD in the beginning then begins to switch songs out of order to compliment the video portion. The DVD is directed, acted in and produced by the band themselves, and each trippy skit segues into the next with a flying aloe plant, a bathtub full of egg yokes (dubbed "egg-istentialism") and a bevy of noses with moustaches dancing on a dining room table. It also features a series of video shorts, plus alternate angles and 3D viewing options. It's like Mr. Show with Bob and David meets MTV's Wonder Showzen, an orgy of sound, color and comedy.

"Ranger Stranger," the album's signature track, stars drummer-guitarist-bassist Matt Ross as the "creepy loner" in a trench coat and a pair of combat boots as he roots around the railroad tracks flashing people. This video literalizes the tune - slow and deliberate, black and white, and a bit sinister.

The sheer ingenuity of Family Junction's latest album is that it successfully marries jazz, funk and rock with humorous white-boy hip-hop a la "Aijah" and "Grandpa Al," an ode to elderly Jewish relatives. And it doesn't end there. They incorporate multiple instrument swaps, guaranteeing that each song will sound completely different than the next.

Outspoken advocates of Internet radio and new methods of music distribution, the band recorded a spoken-word poem about copyright infringement, read aloud and set to a bass and drum line in the last few minutes of the track "Bilward Back." Lyrics like "Copy left copy left / Soon there'll be no copies left / If art appreciation's intellectual theft," showcase the band's legitimate concerns about the darker side of file sharing.

Family Junction are the kind of guys you'd love to be friends with, to sit around and listen to them exchange instruments and jam with no end in sight. With many years of friendship and band-ship together, Running Trains (We're Huge in Japan) is nothing less one would expect from this "family" of talented, charismatic musicians. - Jambase.com


Local Band eschews RIAA's illegal downloading policy
By: Rachel Marder
Posted: 11/13/07
http://media.www.thejusticeonline.com/media/storage/paper573/news/2007/11/13/Music/Local.Band.Eschews.Riaas.Illegal.Downloading.Policy-3095616.shtml

t's clear that the Recording Industry Association of America is playing catch-up in the digital age. By picking on college students who download and share music online-around 15 Brandeis undergraduates were forced to pay $3,000 each to the RIAA last semester-the music industry is revealing the weaknesses in its outdated business strategy for promoting artists.

Independent bands such as Family Junction are taking a stand against the RIAA through the Digital Freedom Campaign, an organization that promotes the rights of artists and fans to utilize digital technology without unreasonable government restriction or fear of RIAA lawsuits.

Family Junction, an eclectic funk/jazz/rock/hip-hop band performing at Cholmondeley's Thursday at 9 p.m., includes Ryan Pressman '06, a post-bac in studio art (guitar/bass/drums), Brandeis Hillel staffer Dan Levine (guitar/vocals), Matt Ross (guitar/bass/drums) and Alan Cohen (guitar/bass/vocals). The Family got involved in the campaign for digital rights after signing on to the SaveNetRadio Coalition, a group of artists and Internet radio providers such as www.pandora.com, currently lobbying hard against a federal bill proposing massive hikes in royalty rates at the expense of Internet radio stations.

"We don't want the rates to be so high that Internet radio stations are put out of business that play our music," said 24-year-old Seth Kroll, the band's manager and co-lyricist.

The Copyright Royalty Board's proposal last March sought to increase royalty rates by between 300 and 1,200 percent, but Kroll said the bill is still in limbo.

Family Junction and other bands that get airtime primarily through college and Internet radio stations rely on the freedom and accessibility of the Internet to get their music heard around the world. Kroll said around 40 percent of music played on the Internet is from independent artists, as opposed to terrestrial radio, which Kroll said plays about 10 percent independent music. By aiming to put these stations out of business, the RIAA shows its panic over challenges being made to its monopoly on conventional music promotion.

If the proposed royalty rate increase goes through, Cohen said, Internet radio stations would have to pay $500 for each channel they use, and a site like www.pandora.com, which uses a multitude of stations, would inevitably go bankrupt.

"Just because record industries are entering this new phase where they're going to have to start adapting and have to start changing how they create their revenue, doesn't mean they should get so scared and try and restrict new inventions and innovations," Kroll said.

Levine, 23, whose shaggy brown hair falls past his ears, doesn't think the exorbitant lawsuits are scaring people away from downloading files off peer-to-peer sharing sites. If anything, the suits just make fans more determined to download and come up with new methods of finding music.

To show their support for the Digital Freedom Campaign, Family Junction performed on the campaign's college tour Oct. 12 at Northeastern University, and they're continuing to advocate for user rights through their own work.

"It's in their business interest not to encourage us to succeed, and it's a shame. That's where it really touches us personally. People should be able to trade music. It really does affect us when the RIAA acts in such a way that restricts us from connecting with our fans," Kroll said.

The RIAA tracks Internet Protocol addresses on filesharing Web sites and then contacts the Internet service provider (in our case, Brandeis University) and orders the users to pay $3,000 or else face much more serious financial consequences in court. But whether the industry likes it or not, the Internet, largely unregulated, is drastically changing its fan base and the way the music market functions.

Since the RIAA can't seem to prevent college students, or anyone, for that matter, from downloading, it should adapt to the new environment and adjust their business model, bandmates said.

On their recent self-produced album, Running Trains (We're Huge in Japan) released this year, at $10, the disc comes with a movie they created, mp3s to download off a "FamJam Music-Stache" featuring music from 12 fellow independent artists. Free downloads are available on the band's website.

Family Junction also distributes its albums online at little cost to them through CD Baby, an Internet-based store with music by independent artists. While record labels were previously the basic way bands promoted themselves and recorded albums, the Internet makes it easier for independent artists to do this work on their own terms.

Aside from selling albums, Family Junction also embraces simple sharing of its music. Rather than viewing disc burning and file sharing as obstacles to profit, Family Junction sees them as opportunities for self-promotion and for drawing people to their shows.

"Our goal is to build community, and so we want to embrace what our community wants, and if it means that we don't want to strictly enforce certain copyright laws that we could, fine. That's something that we have to deal with and that we have to work with," Kroll said.

The guys especially take issue with the RIAA's claim that illegal downloading is destroying the music industry's potential for growth. Instead of focusing on record sales as a primary means to make money, the RIAA should put more energy into live shows, band merchandise and digital accessibility.

Levine said record labels fail by charging excessively high prices for their albums and by controlling the management of digital media by making it impossible, for instance, to transfer songs between computers, iPods and CDs.

"How can you question what [the consumers] are going to do with a product that they own?" Pressman said. "It sucks for the artist who's not making money from it, but at the same time, it is their CD, and they can do with it what they want. Somehow you've got to draw the line without policing it and telling them they can't do what they want with what they own."

With the myriad of opportunities made available by the Internet, the record industry needs to adapt rather than punish consumers for seeking other means of listening to or buying music.

"Why should they be policing, as opposed to seeing how the market is changing?" Levine asked. "We're willing to pay for music. Just stop trying to rape our wallet." - The Justice


by Mandy Williams

The musical equivalent of Monty Python - Experimental prog rock, jazz, folk, funk and hip hop with flying plants, egg baths and banana fingers.

Prog, funk, jazz, rock, folk and hip hop comes care of Boston, collective Family Junction on their CD/DVD ‘Running Trains (we’re huge in Japan.)’ You can be sure there was no record company involvement here as you absorb this quirky self produced product with wonderment.

On the CD the opener sounds like a Calypso version of Vampire Weekend then it segues into ‘Superhero Rejects,’ a moogy jam of jazz and funk that ends in the chorus ‘Aloeicious so magicious, his decisions so ambitious.’ ‘Ranger Stranger,’ is a lovely yet creepy prog piece and the album’s signature track. Having heard the CD the DVD is no surprise. It’s a day-in-the-life alternative-universe musical adventure, which incorporates a flying plant, a man with banana fingers and a bathtub of egg yokes. False noses, moustaches, trench coats and combat boots are some of the props the band use as they cruise around rapping in a car. The ludicrous surrealism of They Might Be Giants meets the white-boy hip-hop of the Beastie Boys, daisy age De La Soul and the concept of Gorillaz. As you listen further the ingenious tracks marry jazz, funk and prog rock beautifully and interestingly. Some great arrangements are achieved by their instrument swapping and no two songs are in any way the same.

Family Junction was founded on a simple principal: a coming together of friends so connected, that ‘family’ is the only fitting description. As weird as the Animal Collective and like the musical equivalent of Monty Python this family they have created a truly original concept piece for the leftfield consumer.

http://www.subba-cultcha.com/article_album.php?id=7225 - Subba-Cultcha


Discography

Pasta Bar (2004)
Running Trains (we're huge in Japan) (2007)
FamJam Music-Stache (2007)

Photos

Bio

In May of 2002, Family Junction was founded and is based on friendship and diversity of music.

After their debut at The House of Blues in Cambridge, MA, Family Junction quickly took to the studio to record their first batch of demos. These songs were the foundation of their first album, Pasta Bar, which was produced, written, arranged, and recorded entirely by Family Junction.

While recording Pasta Bar, one inspired night pushed Family Junction into an entirely new venture: film-making. A simple idea became a special-effects-ridden-quirky-adventure called Milk and Honey, and was published as a bonus in the data section of the CD.

Immediately following the release of Pasta Bar in August of 2004, Family Junction began touring between Boston and Washington DC, while continuously adding new material to their act.

These new songs evolved into a brand new project, and after two years of work, in the summer of 2007 Family Junction released their second album (CD/DVD combo), "Running Trains (we�re huge in Japan)."

The self-produced CD portion of "Running Trains (we're huge in Japan)" contains thirteen tightly crafted, complexly arranged songs. Family Junction members Alan Cohen (guitar/bass/vocals), Dan Levine (guitar/vocals), Matt Ross (guitar/bass/drums), and Ryan Pressman (guitar/bass/drums) switch and exchange instruments, enabling the band to independently capture various styles of music, from progressive to funk, jazz to rock, and folk to hip hop.

The DVD portion of Running Trains (we're huge in Japan) contains a day-in-the-life alternative-universe musical adventure of rejected superheroes as they interact with the worlds around them. The after school special length (40min) movie was created (written, filmed, directed, and edited) entirely by the band. The movie provides an interactive experience for viewers with special features that include: an alternative version of the entire movie viewable by switching to the alternative angle on the viewer�s DVD player at any point during the movie, commentary tracks by characters and creators, hidden Easter Egg videos throughout the whole movie, a 3D scene viewable with red and blue lensed glasses, and Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 audio mixes.

Running Trains (We're Huge in Japan) also comes with a twelve song compilation album, FamJam�s Music-Stache, Vol. 1, of independent/unsigned artists. The songs are already in MP3 format and can be easily dragged into a digital music library and can be freely shared and distributed. Liner notes for the Music-Stache are also included in the DVD�s data section.

So pack the car and get the kids, Family Junction is currently taking the music, video and fun on the road.