- Photo courtesy of Paaya
- Cousin Boneless
The members of Cousin Boneless never fit in. That’s exactly how they like it.
“We can play a set that’s accessible to families having a picnic, or we can also play a super dingy basement show with a bunch of punks and get them riled up as well,” vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Joey Schuller says. “It’s hard to pigeonhole us.”
Cousin Boneless’ music gives punk a folk spin, jumping from light acoustic sounds to thrashing guitars and guttural screams with ease. The band’s lyrics touch on everything from dysphoria with technology to critiques of society and general disillusion, but there’s always an air of goofy fun involved. And while its music almost always has political meanings behind it, the group (by its own admission) isn’t Anti-Flag — all of its messages come in the form of narratives or imagery that play out in the songs.
Vocalist, guitarist and accordion player Chris Blake compares the band to the Halloween tradition of telling blindfolded children that peeled grapes and cold spaghetti are actually eyeballs and intestines.
“We try to trick you into thinking we’re more profound than we are just ’cause we’re weird,” Blake says. “But really, we’re just weird.”
Cousin Boneless’ upcoming fourth album, Possession, marks the band’s leap from acoustic roots to a fully electric sound. Almost completely recorded in two, 12-hour days in the studio, Possession adds electric guitar, giving the music a firmer base.
This band’s signature weirdness doesn’t go away on Possession, though. The album’s name even has a double meaning, representing both the band’s lyrical content and its love of irreverent horror.
For “Null Set,” the second of the two singles released ahead of Possession, the band filmed a music video that captures much of its essence.
“It’s, like, weird and goofy and also a little disturbing and vaguely sexual and, like, a little political, too,” Schuller says, joking that it influenced Childish Gambino’s viral “This Is America” video.
Possession will be unveiled at Cousin Boneless’ show June 7 at Spirit in Lawrenceville — the first stop on the group’s June tour. Hip-hop artist Ceschi and local marching band May Day Marching Band will open, and Sikes will close the show out with a DJ set. Vinyl copies of Possession will be available for $20.
Before Possession, physical copies of Cousin Boneless’ music were limited to CDs that Blake and Schuller burned and for which they provided hand-drew artwork. Thanks to Canada-based independent label All We’ve Got Records, that’s in the past.
“There’s only so many times you can go to Thanksgiving and tell your grandma that the band’s going OK and that’s the report,” Blake says.
“You gotta take that record home to Grandma,” Schuller adds.