Graham Cousens
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Graham Cousens

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE
Band Pop Rock

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"Not Lame Recordings"

Some outstanding cool acoustic pop, which is the perfect over simplified descriptive for Graham Cousens`s debut album. His smooth, soft croon recalls Eric Matthews and, in fact, the songs here sound like a perfect mix of early solo Paul McCartney(Think "Ram"`s quieter moments), Eric Matthews, America, C,S&N and Orleans. It also reminds us of Not Lame artist, The General Store. but the best way to pin it down is if Eric Matthews was continually happy and a bit more joy-filled and less inclined to noodle in the studio endlessly, then this might be the result. If this came out in 1974, it would have been all over the radio. Cousens uses a wonderful, warm mike for his vocals, which are consistently breathtaking and magical. The rich, resonant colors painted here make this not only a Sunday Morning album but a late-evening one. Anotherwords, in the right, more mellow mood, you are going to have a hard time doing better than this. The breezy, plaintive formula here is simply a timeless and enthralling one. Extremely Highly Recommended. - notlame.com


"Kool Kat Musik"

Graham's "album of songs" debut serves up some terrific acoustic guitar-driven, bedroom pop that takes you on a musical journey that celebrates some of the best in the biz - The Beatles, Elliott Smith, The Association, America, Batdorf & Rodney (remember them?) - just to name a few!  The songs are primarily upbeat, extremely catchy, featuring lots of heavenly "Woodstock nation harmonies" and some "tasty Les Paul licks"!  EXCELLENT!!! - koolkatmusik.com


"Reckless Records"

Really really really really nice collection of songs from Chicago's Graham Cousens on the equally Chicago Spade Kitty label. As the title suggests, these are simple and low-keyish produced songs, mostly acoustic guitar with some sparse drumming, electric guitar and harmonies. Pop is sometimes explained by what it implies rather than what it is. This implies a non-pretentious drawing of a dog wearing a comfortable sweater and having a thought bubble show the words "nice". - Reckless Records


"LMNOP"

Graham Cousens - Living Room Sessions (CD, Spade Kitty, Pop)
Beautifully understated guitar pop. Living Room Sessions is a collection of ten tunes Graham Cousens recorded entirely by himself in his home studio. That said, these tunes do not have the sterile sound that is usually associated with one man bands. Mr. Cousens isn't trying to dazzle his listeners with studio polish or impress them with fancy playing. Instead, Living Room Sessions is exactly what the name implies...a nice collection of honest music from a fellow who isn't trying too hard. The cool laidback feel of this album is probably what makes it so appealing. Whereas most pop artists try to cover up the fact that their music has no substance by layering their recordings to death, Graham does the exact opposite. The simple, clean arrangements on this album allow the listener to hear the real meat of the music...melodies and lyrics. This exceptionally solid album features ten classic tracks including "Julia," "Holy Roller," "So Long," "Emily," and "Help Me Help Myself" (our favorite). (Rating: 5+)
- babysue.com


"Rock & Roll Report - France"

The liner notes of this album sets the tone: a charming young man in his living room surrounded by an amazing collection of guitars. Graham Cousens is from Chicago and in his record collection are albums from Dylan and George Harrison. You can tell that he likes this type of music as he reflects the influences wonderfully: warm sounds, laid back, relaxing. Acoustic pop hand-crafted by a master crafstman! - Girard Gerard 89.5 St. Etienne France


"Cosmik Debris Magazine"

A boy, his guitars and an Apple Powerbook. There's a lot of potential there, and Graham Cousens fills up more than his share on his Spade Kitty debut, Living Room Sessions. The title is quite literal. The ten tracks on the disc are home recorded, featuring Cousens on a variety of guitars and bass. The quality of production is first rate throughout, though, and if Cousens' own performance and recording schedule don't prevent it, I'd think he could find a steady list of performers in need of a helpful hand at the studio controls.

Production values, though, are only really valuable in terms of the quality of the music they serve. That being true, the songs Cousens has crafted deserve the very best presentation he can muster. Little pop jewels, with the obligatory echoes of the obvious (the Beatles) and some less so (say, mid-career Donovan), but a freshness that's rooted in real originality, too.

Really, it's just a great sounding record of terrific pop songs. They shouldn't be that hard to find, but they are, which makes this one a treasure. - Cosmik.com


"IndiePop - Italy"

In questo proprio esordio il cantautore Graham Cousens di Detroit propone un gruppo di semplici melodie acustiche a base di chitarra. La sorpresa e il "riscatto" di queste canzoni è come vengono credibilmente concepite e costruite. Assolutamente familiari in effetti gli arrangiamenti quanto a forma e semplicità ; corde pizzicate come da molti autori folk anni settanta: più d'una canzone si direbbe prodotta alla George Martin, come il caso di “holy roller”, “when i was around”, ”so long”.

C'è chi nel descrivere Cousens ha menzionato, non senza ragione, anche il primo Paul McCartney solista, quello di album impressionisti come l'omonimo e il seguente “Ram”. Sul proprio sito, Cousens scrive: “i loved music regardless of era, make or model”. Dunque un omaggio al proprio retaggio musicale in forma di deliziosi confetti di soave duttilità melodica. Intorno a queste canzoni, come una sorta di sublime sintesi tra chitarre acustiche pop-folkeggianti e interpretazioni in chiave (Elliott)Smithsiana che ispirano aure di sentimento e sincerità piuttosto che ruffianeria.

È forse il caso di rimarcare che qui si è decisamente sopra la media del marasma delle pubblicazioni cantautoriali. Personalmente risparmio commenti a molti gruppi "del genere", che non esprimono la personalità che dovrebbero, arroccati dietro arrangiamenti e vocalismi convenzionali, baluardo per mascherare limitatezze di risorse.

La dedica, nel titolo, è al più appropriato e attendibile luogo di concepimento dell'album: “Living Room Sessions”. Rivestito in questo prezioso involucro di anonimato, l'autore legittima e custodisce l'appariscente solidità della raccolta. Addirittura, insospettabilmente risalta la particolare e lucente natura incontaminata. Succede di ascoltare dischi del genere (di qualsiasi genere) ormai spesso, ma come spesso accade, alla quantità non si accompagna l'auspicabile qualità. Ebbene, qui basti ascoltare, oltre alle menzionate, le splendide e modeste “emily”, “help me myself”: si emozionerebbe tanto Jimmy Webb quanto Mark Robinson; non fatichiamo a rintracciare in Cousens i germi di un novello Elliott Smith nei propri fastosi trascorsi militanti nell'etichetta Kill Rock Stars. Non si aspettino miracoli da Graham; ciò nonostante, scommetterei nel tardivo recupero di questo esordio, da parte di molti. Si sollecitano trasporti d'altri tempi, eleganze andate, inusitate corde. Il tutto tanto più inspiegabilmente ottenuto con grande umiltà e una povertà di mezzi (voce, chitarra, basso, batteria), il cui esito non si può che plaudire. - indiepop.it


"Pop Matters"

Graham Cousens will have performed his first live gig with his new band by the time you read this. His album is part folk but primarily the sweet, summer sounds of Matthew Sweet and Velvet Crush minus the shimmering chorus and plugged in instruments. Songs like "Julia" and the slightly rowdier "Holly Roller" amble along quite nicely with Cousens nailing each track to perfection.

Fans of The Moore Brothers or Simon and Garfunkel will love his voice with its sweet richness. Cousens has a knack for crafting timeless melodies around simple arrangements, particularly with the roots-y "When I Was Around" and the gorgeous "Comfort Me".

Recorded at his home, Cousens has records of Harrison and Dylan in his collection shown on the inner sleeve. The album is one engaging song after another, which makes for an easy listen, especially during the lovely Yorke-ish "So Long" and the straightforward "Lucky Stars". The softness of his voice is the selling point on the crowning jewel "Help Me Help Myself" and the Petty circa Wildflowers "Anymore".

This album is proof that ProTools doesn't make smart, finely-crafted pop!
— Jason MacNeil - popmatters.com


Discography

2005 - "Living Room Sessions" - Spade Kitty Records

Photos

Bio

Graham is originally from Detroit where he was part of two of the most locally renowned bands of the 1990s, the Vudu Hippies and Tyrone’s Power Wheel.

Having released a number of indie-label CDs, worked in some of the world’s best recording studios including A&M Records, worked with some of the world’s most respected creators of film and music (including Al Maysles), and having appeared with acts as diverse as Kid Rock, George Clinton, Peter Wolf, the Wallflowers, Weezer, MC 900ft Jesus, Morphine, Juliana Hatfield and others at such legendary venues as CBGB and St. Andrew’s Hall, Graham is no stranger to the music business.

“Growing up in Detroit, I loved music regardless of era, make or model. I grew my hair, joined a heavy band, and played nice loud music for a while.

A few years ago, I left my band, packed my guitar away, and moved to Chicago. And I didn’t play again until my ears stopped ringing.

When I did, I started writing the kinds of songs I used to love. And so began ‘Living Room Sessions.’ I tried to write good, simple songs with melodies you can hum.

I hope you’ll give it a spin.” - Graham