Band(its) to Watch: My Cousin, The Emperor

My Cousin, The Emperor If we must talk genre, then there are many labels you could affix to the music of Brooklyn-based foursome My Cousin, The Emperor. Incidentally, the one hardest to avoid (it also happens to sound the most intriguing) is the one chosen by the band members themselves: Country R&B.

Frontman Jason Reischel originally hails from North Carolina, and like any true-blooded Southerner, he knows country music. There’s plenty of playful guitar picking, rockabilly-style pianos, and cheeky twang on the band’s debut full-length, A Long Way From Home (self-released and out now). Any R&B elements tend to appear in more abstract form (perhaps they’re just a nod to the fact that Reischel relocated to Brooklyn, where he wrote the album), although you can’t miss the bluesy, stop-start rhythms in certain numbers. In Reischel’s own words, “It’s an American record. It reminds me of America.” So perhaps the best way to understand the band is by not taking genrefication too literally.

Of course you could always just hear for yourself. These four transplants—Reischel, plus Chris Gogan, Terry Quire, and Alex Wyatt—strike a fine balance between rollicking anthems made for barroom shenanigans and stripped-down acoustic ballads better suited for inward reflection.

The aptly dubbed A Long Way From Home dropped last month. The band will finish ’09 with a few shows in their new home. Stay tuned for more in 2010.

11/18 New York, NY – Fontana’s
11/24 New York, NY – Arlene’s Grocery
12/14 New York, NY – Mercury Lounge

“I Cried For You (Live Acoustic Version)”

Image: © 2009 My Cousin, The Emperor

Leave a Reply