It’s Okay to Kiss Your Cousin

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MP3: Kissing Cousins – “You Bring Me Down”

When your music is described as a cross between the Shangri-Las and Black Sabbath, chances are you’ve struck upon a pretty interesting sound. But there’s much more to Kissing Cousins than those two bands. Hailing from Los Angeles, the all-girl group concocts churning mixtures of pitch-black atmosphere and driving rhythms that draw upon an array of musical, literary, and cinematic influences.

Sonically, the four-piece sounds like PJ Harvey on a cranky day, complete with surging factory beats and half-sung, half-spoken words that often maketh murder. Their lyrics are influenced by Southern Gothic writers like William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor, both of whom heavily influenced frontwoman Bray Heywood during her childhood in Alabama.

There’s even some David Lynch (see the bible-spouting, Eric Stoltz-starring video for “Don’t Look Back,” off the band’s debut album, Pillar of Salt) and Cinemax-style exploitation (as in the new video for “You Bring Me Down,” which finds the girls being sent to prison and generally kicking the crap out of each other) thrown into the mix.

Those are some pretty grim inspirations, and Kissing Cousins’ heart of darkness shows no signs of lightening up. Their just-released EP, the cheerily titled Unfortunate End, boasts four tracks of ominous moods and deceptively sweet vocals. Brawlers like “Throw Her Body in the River” and bawlers like “Granny Get Your Gun” prove that the band’s skill at evoking mood without skipping the beat is only growing stronger with time.

Kissing Cousins will bring their sassy gloom to the Che Cafe on June 17 for a special show presented by your friendly neighborhood Owl and Bear. Three opening acts will also be on hand to set the mood: Roxy Jones, Colony and Maren Parusel. That’s a total of four exciting bands on a Friday night in the greatest city in the world, so naturally you won’t want to miss it.

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