Chapel Hill's Ill Family are very firm about two things. One, though they are independent, they are not "indie." Two, their moniker isn't just for show; they are a family, or at least a group of close friends who also make music together. Both facets come through in the relaxingly skewed folk-rock of their 2011 self-titled debut. Buoyant, Beatles-inspired melodies percolate amid slightly funky rhythms that recall The Grateful Dead and The Band. Their adherence to these hallmarks is no accident.
"Pink Floyd is our mother, the Grateful Dead our father, and The Beatles our God," the group writes in a collaborative email, the method of communication on which they insist because no one member can speak for an entire family. "Neil Young, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Bowie and Dylan are distant cousins who stop by on the weekends. We like to consider ourselves 'organic psychedelic rock and roll.' We play old. We are young."
The band's self-claimed influences, overwhelming reverence and touch of pomposity might tempt you to write them off as simple hero worshipers. But don't: Formed in 2010, Ill Family already move with a charming sway all their own, respecting their idols while recombining them in energetic new ways. Ill Family plays Motorco on Tuesday with The Shack Band and The People's Blues of Richmond. —Jordan Lawrence