by Adria Young
Performing an estimated “fiftieth or sixtieth” show in the last three months, Halifax-based two-piece, sometimes three-piece, indie rock band Cousins played at the Homegrown Skateboards Summer Launch party at the Homegrown Skateboards headquarters in LaHave, Nova Scotia on Saturday, 9 July. The launch celebrated the newest press of decks by the board company, and the birthday of Homegrown owner and operator Jesse Watson.
Coming off a three-week tour across Canada, preceded by a two-month tour of the US and Canada, and a performance at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, TX, in March, Cousins rocked the shop while skaters dropped in and out of the skateboarding bowl installed at Homegrown. The high-energy group played a set of songs pulled from their 2009 full-length Out on Town (Youth Club Records), and included their newest singles, “Secret Weapon” and “Speech,” which were just released on 7” vinyl.
Originally from Wolfville, NS, drummer, vocalist, and guitarist (and sometimes all three at once) Aaron Mangle formed Cousins in 2009 in Halifax with guitarist Pat Ryan. At the skateboard shop, Cousins was joined by Leigh Dotey on bass and vocals, which filled out the sound of the usual two-piece; she also provided a contagious punk-rock energy that animated the crowd. Having spent the last three months touring almost non-stop, with bands like Long, Long, Long and Duzheknew, Cousins has mastered intuitive timing and rhythm. They played all up-beat tunes to keep the skaters skating and crowd dancing.
With more power than most other two-pieces, like The Black Keys, more realism than Led Zeppelin, and a little heavier and grittier than anything you might call pop-rock, Cousins flows between songs with various changes of various tempos. The forty-minute set, which included “Khyber,” (a single released in January) “Throwing Rocks,” and “Jewels,” ended in a crescendo with the rolling drums and famous Mangle-howl of “Nans.” Cousins records their tapes and albums in low-fi, but when on-stage, they offer nothing but high-fi high-fun.
Currently unsigned and seeking, Cousins has a few shows planned for the rest of the summer, but Mangle says they hope to finish and release the new album, which will include the two new singles, by the end of the season. It will be available by digital download or by order at cousinscousins.bandcamp.com or at shows, which are regularly updated on their Facebook group, cousins, along with their Myspace page.
Cousins is a group of tireless, passionate artists who, with the songwriting skills of Mangle and rhythm riffs of Ryan, perform their unique discography with an intoxicating energy and confidence. Not only will you dance when you see or listen to Cousins, you will also fall in love with their technical simplicity and honest love of sound.