Cousin Dud
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Cousin Dud

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States
Band Americana Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Cousin Dud Release New Album, Video"

The guys from Cousin Dud have been pretty busy lately. The local folk-rockers released their first EP Of Hats and Unicorns just last September, but instead of basking in post-release glory, they got right to recording new material and preparing their first full-length album, Our American Cousin.

Dropped earlier this month, Our American Cousin is a 7-song collection of raw, no-frills folk songs marked by jangly guitar riffs, brisk percussion, and rambling lyrics. For example, “South Dakota pt. I,” the first of a three-part series, features a steady, fast-paced beat behind wailing saxophone and stream-of-consciousness lyrics about love and a girl named Julie. They slow the tempo with “The Ballad of Alice and Kitty,” which narrates the stories of two women’s deceits, backed by a constant rolling drum beat and lively xylophone melodies. And our favorite - “Hey, Cannibal Lover!” - is a pleasant, buoyant song about a date with a man eater, featuring quick-spit lyrics like, “I am flattered that your turned on by my flesh, but what it's doing in your freezer there, it is anybody's guess.”

Our American Cousin is available for free download at Cousin Dud’s Bandcamp, as is their EP Of Hats and Unicorns. If you like what you hear, you have the option of supporting the band by donating a few dollars. And you can catch the band next month when they perform live at Cole's Bar, with supporting acts Blue Ribbon Glee Club and Jaime Rojo. In the meantime, check out this woodsy, stop-motion video for “Crows” off the above-mentioned EP:

- Chicagoist

"Interview: Cousin Dud"

Who are Cousin Dud?

Cousin Dud are Ben Arthur on drums, Josh Burns on guitars and vocals, Dan Schuld on the bass, and myself (Matt Carmichael) on guitars and vocals, with frequent collaboration from Pete Geraci on saxophone.

How did you get together?

Josh and I knew each other in high school and both played guitar so we started playing together for fun. We both played in other bands for a while, but some years later we finally got together and started writing songs and played a few gigs as a duo. It was all real folky stuff and just the two of us on guitars. Ben started working with Josh sometime after and joined the band not too long after that. I knew Dan from college, and for a while we were playing with other bass players or just two guitars and the drums, but eventually we all decided that Dan should learn the bass and join the band. Only it didn’t happen in that order. He joined the band first and then learned the bass. This was just a couple of months ago, and he jumped right into the recording of Our American Cousin. But that’s kind of a boring story…let’s just say we all met in rehab.

How would you describe your music?

For the most part we are a folk-rock outfit. But sometimes on our MySpace page we label ourselves ironically with genres like “grime/thrash/a capella”. Just kidding. I definitely wouldn’t describe the music as misogynistic or anything like that.

What’s been your favourite moment as a band?

There have been many, but deciding the album was finished was a pretty damn good one.

What’s of Hats and Unicorns like?

of Hats and Unicorns is a pretty subdued collection of songs. Musically, like all of our stuff, it’s pretty straightforward and lyrically driven and explores questionable characters and darker subject matter, I think. It’s definitely got a slower, more melancholic feel to it than Our American Cousin, which is more upbeat and has more of a rock feel to it. We recorded of Hats and Unicorns in like twelve hours one night at my apartment in Chicago. We’d never practiced the songs as a band beforehand and we were really playing the songs for the first time while we recorded it.

What do you try to convey in your music?

I don’t really set out to convey anything in particular really. There’s always a story there, and usually it pertains to some sort of decadence on the part of a character or characters. But it’s really just the story I’d like to convey, moreso than any sort of deeper meaning behind it. I’d prefer to let that be abstract and subjective. We like to create characters and places and images with our lyrics and just sort of let the songs be interpreted as they may. I don’t think original intent really matters when you submit something to the world of strangers anyways, so yeah, whatever anybody thinks we are conveying, we are happy to be conveying it.

What are your plans for 2011?

We’ve already started up on another couple of EP’s that we’d like to put out there as soon as possible, and we’ve got a lot of other stuff we need to get out there too, so we’ll be doing as much recording as we can. We’ll keep playing shows, too, and hopefully start to cover more ground geographically, but we’re really anxious to keep putting new music out there. Always onto the next one. None of us can bank on any sort of longevity.

If someone was to listen to your music for the first time, where would you recommend they start?

We’ve got a full length album, Our American Cousin, and an EP, of Hats and Unicorns, just put them both on the same playlist and hit shuffle!

Any plans to come to the UK/Scotland?

The second we get the chance, man. The second we get the chance. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

Our American Cousin and of Hats and Unicorns are both available now on their Bandcamp for pay what you want.

- The Web is not a Cold Dark Place

"Haunt the Old"

Nothing about this song wants a neologism like insongniac, but it is, for better or worse, its type. It's surly and hefty and drunk late tired watching Slice until 7am. It has two personalities, the happy social drinker, and the sad lonely drunk. As you can hear, the song has two distinct halves, each representing one of these personalities. The first is easy, swaying, accessible. It's a night with old friends, it's cards, it's beer. The second half is violent, it's a mind racing from whiskey and doubt. What if I can't keep going the way I'm going? What if I don't have what it takes? What if I've forgotten how to love without fear? What if I get found out?
It does not seem like there are any answers, it doesn't even seem like there's a morning.

- Said the Gramophone


Of Hats and Unicorns, EP
Our American Cousin



Cousin Dud was contrived by founding members Josh Burns and Matt Carmichael after years spent trawling guitars around the garages and house parties of Woodstock, IL, a small town up there near the Wisconsin border. With a shared affection for simple, soulful folk music, Burns and Carmichael began a songwriting partnership that they eventually christened, and began delivering tales of hobos, party girls, and disgraced beauty queens, among other concerns.