Since releasing his vibey single “Fake Words” last week, Henry Hall ’14, of Grand Cousin fame, has been on the move navigating the New York music scene and post-grad life. I chatted with Hall to discuss his solo career, the Wesleyan music scene, and his day job as a CIA agent. Check it out after the jump.
Henry Hall ’14, formerly the lead guitar player and vocalist from the excellent Wesleyan band Grand Cousin, has gone solo. Today, he is debuting his first single as a solo act dubbed “Fake Words,” with an accompanying music video. While Hall is pursuing individual success, the video’s production was a Wes-team effort — he says, “The entire crew was Wesleyan alums and students so this whole effort would be very Middletown-centric.”
Check out the breezy track “Fake Words” here, or after the jump. Boy do we miss warm weather.
Things have been going pretty well for Grand Cousin: Henry Hall ’14, Evan Low ’14, and Robby Caplan ’14 have been more active than ever since graduating in May, and they’re getting all sorts of press about that “music” thing they do. From The AV Club writing up their single “Oxygen” to Paste Magazine premiering their other song “Better” to other publications that aren’t Wesleying doting over their guitar-smart, upbeat, catchy-as-anything “alternative pop” (their descriptor, but I think it’s pretty apt), this band is not finding it too tough to burst the Wesleyan bubble. (Maybe soon, they’ll stop talking about the band in reference to a certain entertainment figure that a certain member is related to! A kid can dream.)
Now you can hear their debut EP,
coming out tomorrow which came out on July 15. Big step for a new band, although they’ve been together since 2010 so it’s about time. But be glad they gave it such close attention, because the immaculately-produced EP is full of musical goodies—I wouldn’t call it “easy on the ears,” because even though Hall’s voice is sweet and sunshiney, and every song has a sharp hook, the band is playing their instruments like they’re aiming for the big leagues. “Wring Your Hands” has a jaunty pace but off-putting (in a good way) guitar popping up in the background here and there. “How I Care” has a mean bass solo midway through that took me by surprise, and even the Grizzly Bear-like “Oxygen” features some bright guitar noodling. (“Oxygen” is a serious song-of-the-summer contender.) “Better” gets a little more rocking with the drum fills competing for most prominent instrument, while “Me Time” shows them slowing down with no less attention to detail.
Grand Cousin personally described the EP in an interview with A Music Blog, Yea? as “Anxious lyrics, deep grooves, tasty melodies.” Fitting? You can hear for yourself and stream the whole album at Nylon Guys Mag, and
it will be out the rest of the world tomorrow you can download it on iTunes now, and I assume via the usual retailers/ask your friend of a friend for a burned cd. Meanwhile, enjoy the thoroughly hilarious “Oxygen” video after the jump, as well as some not-so-enjoyable news.
Straight from Evan Low ’14 of Grand Cousin:
Grand Cousin is playing its final Wesleyan show ever tonight at Earth House with spicy awesome opening acts ALL-CAPS LADD and FACEPLANT!!! This is your last chance to see us before we head to Iceland to start our tour of Norther Europe and SIBERIA!!!!!! SO let’s make this the best DANG show ever and pack as many people as humanly possible into a tiny, sweaty ROOM!!!!!!!!!!!
Date: TONIGHT, Friday May 2nd
Time: 9:30PM – 1:30PM
Place: Earth House
P.S. Grand Cousin just released a new single, “Oxygen”. Listen to it, right now!
Head down to Eclectic this Friday for battle of the bands, which will determine the opener for this year’s Spring Fling.
- Baby Gap
- Featherwood Bee
- Sky Bars
- Grand Cousin
- Novelty Daughter
Come support your favorite Wes bands!
Date: Friday, April 18th
Time: 10pm – ?
Facebook: Click Me
If this isn’t a roll then I don’t know what is. Whatever you call it – Grand Cousin is on it! The band – consisting of Henry Hall ’14, Evan Low ’14, and Robby Caplan ’14 (in case you’ve forgotten) – is pulling out all the stops this year. Not even a month since releasing their music video for “Camera,” they are following it up with the equally impressive tune, “Let Me Know.” I got a sneak peak of the song and it’s got that same signature sound and trademark falsetto that makes a Grand Cousin so fun to listen and groove to. That’s right, I said “groove.”
Learn to “Hate People,” put a “Camera” in someone’s room, breathe in “Oxygen,” “Take” her “Out,” and feel that “Constant Improvement,” all with your friends at Grand Cousin.
Remember when Henry Hall ’14 poured a milkshake on his head in the last Grand Cousin music video? Well, the falsettos and smooth beats are back; Grand Cousin – consisting of Hall, Evan Low ’14, and Robby Caplan ’14 – have just put out a video for their song “Camera” with the help of music video mavens Jack Coyne ’13 and Sidney Schleiff ’14.
Shot in a cramped bedroom in black and white, the video at first appears as an amateur home video. But soon, it is made clear through the bands’ lyrics, especially those scrawled out on their T-shirts, that they are shooting on location at a girl’s house. This discovery is affirmed when the boys rush out of the room with all their equipment and the subject of the song walks in. Several times she approaches the camera as if she spotted it, yet she only grabs a few miscellaneous items from the surrounding area. The video certainly has the fun and candid feel conveyed by the song, which I’ve been listening to and singing since first hearing it.
And I’m not the only one’s excited about it. The video currently has 3,000+ views, 2,500 of which were obtained over the span of two days! What could be the cause of this? Oh, I don’t know, maybe the fact that Heems of Das Racist tweeted about it?!
— HEEMY (@HIMANSHU) September 5, 2013
Read after the jump for an interview with Grand Cousin and information about where to find them both online and in real life.
Last night at Eclectic, seven Wesleyan bands kept the crowd raging and vibing for almost three straight hours. The bands performed in the following order: Girl#$wag, Molly Rocket and the Crooks, O Presidente, The Japanese, Robert’s Don, Grand Cousin, and Treasure Island.
Girl#$wag began the show at around 9:30 p.m. to a large crowd of fist-pumpers and ragers. A bit more mellow acts followed after, but still maintained a vibrant crowd throughout. I ran away from the mosh pits that formed during The Japanese’s performance.
After a slow but incredible performance from Robert’s Don, things took a turn as established campus acts Grand Cousin and Treasure Island got the crowd jumping for every second.
If you don’t know already, the winning band gets to perform as the opener for Spring Fling. The thirteen-some judges stayed for the entirety of the show and deliberated afterwards which band would take the prize. (Disclosure: This blogger was among them.) After considering many different criteria, such as which band would translate well outdoors, get people dancing, excite the crowd for the rest of the concert, and more, the judges, myself including, held a vote and Girl#$wag came out on top.
This weekend represented a moment of renewal for a number of student bands. For one, on Thursday, the Japanese, now featuring plaintive songwriting and Adrien DeFontaine ’13’s new hairdo, returned to activity after a long hiatus. Also, Grand Cousin (who I do remember, bawwwk, was once called Grandfather) has perhaps made the ranks this weekend as hardest-working or most persistently present Wesleyan band, what with their two appearance on concert headers and avant-garde new music video. Also, Featherwood Bee (on Thursday) continued being awesome, and O Presidente continued to prove that they can’t keep themselves away for long after their debut album release.
One of the few outsiders thrown into this mix was Jacco Gardner, the NPR-acclaimed Dutch producer and multi-instrumentalist, and his bandmates, who played on Friday night. Their music was soothingly atmospheric, balancing on the historical cusp between mid-60s mod rock and late-60s psychedelia. Songs like “The Ballad of Little Jane” had just the right amount of creepiness, and reminded me of the Rolling Stones in their Brian Jones era. Jacco was endearingly sincere, expressing gratitude to the crowd and excitement for their adventures in America (it was their first time playing on this side of the pond) and imminent trip to SXSW. The drummer wore sunglasses indoors, which I can both respect and suspect for a lad from the pot-soaked Netherlands.
Click through for some video of Johnny Love and the Heartmen from A-Batte ’13 and some jumbled-together photos from me (Eric Lopez ’15‘s set makes for a more complete document).
Grand Cousin, that excellent rocky band with the crazy falsetto, are playing their second show of the weekend tonight (and will play their third tomorrow!). Maybe you caught their very strong set last night, opening for the Japanese. But in case you’re so busy that you can’t make any of them, you can still get your fix with their brand new video by Jack Coyne ’13 and Sidney Schleiff ’14.
Shot outside what looks like the Athenian Diner, the video features frontman Henry Hall ’14 singing and clutching a lil’ shrub in an unbroken take. He does that awesome thing wherehe doesn’t lip-sync to everything, kinda like this. Bassist Robby Caplan ’14 and drummer Evan Low ’14 are chillin’ in the background. Oh, and you should watch the whole thing.