Cousin Kula

Ultimate Playlist: Cousin Kula

Building a passionate fanbase in Bristol, Cousin Kula are a 6-piece on the rise. Blending psychedelic textures with slick pop vocals, lush synths and soaring guitars, their unique sound has gained them high profile support slots for Dutch Uncles & more. 

Frontman Elliot Ellison possesses an enviably unique vocal, a mix of Syd Arthur and Kevin Parker if you had to compare. Musically, they’re a band’s band; the juxtaposition of ‘happy-beats’ and moody lyrics call upon the tipping of one’s metaphorical music hat. With their recent traction in the UK music scene it is clear their name will establish itself amongst Bristol’s best.

We caught up with the upcoming act to discover their ultimate playlist of tracks that they adore:

Parcels – Hideout

We’ve been following this band closely since they released their first couple of tunes in 2016, and we’ve been really inspired by how fast they’ve grown in that time. This is a favourite of their EP, tight, funky and catchy – a great example of super precise pop writing.

Pixvae – La Fuga

This one was shown to us by our friend Ben Tunnicliffe, an excellent DJ (the artwork for his night in Cardiff is illustrated by our singer Elliot) and ex-bass player (he sold me his lovely P bass at the start of 2018). This song encapsulates our love for catchy and left-field sounds and is such a particularly unusual combination – Latin and hardcore.


It wasn’t until after writing our single ‘Jelly Love’ that we realised a similarity between the synth hook and the one in ‘Call Me Up’. It’s understandable though, Homeshake’s album Fresh Air was getting played a lot at the time so inevitably crept into what we were writing.  The spacious production of these tracks are awesome – it gives the hooky melodies and basslines so much room to speak.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Necessary Evil

The album Multi Love has been played a lot in the van on our way to shows, so no doubt has influenced our output. This tune, in particular, is such a well-made song and there’s something about the chord changes that really get me.

Khruangbin – Evan Finds the Third Room

Khruangbin are the masters of sitting on a groove – a good reminder that you don’t have to cram a load of stuff into a tune. Evan Finds the ‘Third Roomis’ a lesson in how effective sparse vocals can be. We were lucky enough to catch them play in Bristol at the start of 2018, it was an awesome gig.

Oro Swimming Hour – Marshmellow

This one’s from the band of our friend Oliver Wilde, also from Bristol. They’ve got that cosy, de-tuned lo-fi feel down to a tee. The tune’s a real earworm and a firm fave for the tour van.

Vels Trio – The Wad

These guys started out as a prog band, so we’ve obviously got a soft spot for ’em. This latest tune is a bonafide banger. London jazz with a G-Funk swagger. Deep groove, catchy melodies and wait for that bassline at the end, woo!

Al di Meola – Sequencer

This is one of our favourite ‘love to hate’ tunes. A prime example of musicians from the  60’s and 70’s losing their way a bit in the 80’s and writing some pretty awful music… but Al Di Meola is still a stone-cold badass!

BADBADNOTGOOD –  Time Moves Slow

We are big fans of their album IV, but this track, in particular, had a real influence on our writing around the time of its release. The whole vibe of this track, from the low eerie organ to the syncopated brushy drums and super round bass tone (not to mention the awesome vocal performance from Sam Herring of Future Islands), really won our affection and was a big reference point for the first verse of our song ‘Brain Abroad’. It’s not been released yet so you’ll have to see our show to see what we mean!

Methyl Ethel – Ubu

We first became aware of this band a couple of years ago when we almost supported them in Paris. The date didn’t come off in the end, but we ended up getting heavily into their music with this tune ‘Ubu’ being an absolute standout track. The arrangement of the tune is very clever – the main refrain gets reinvented throughout the track so it never gets old.

Like this sound of Cousin Kula? Final tickets for their Manchester date are limited and available here!

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀