Here at the Clog, we know you want to be more hip than your friends, and we want to help you succeed. To this end, we’d like to be the first to inform you that the Cosmonauts is playing for free on upper Sproul on Nov. 20. Thanks to ASUC SUPERB, the group putting on the concert, your music street cred is about to skyrocket — especially because the Cosmonauts doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page yet. But because you can’t stalk it on everyone’s favorite site and pretend you’ve known about it all along, we’ll give you the skinny on this up-and-coming band.
Who are they?
The Cosmonauts is comprised of three guys: Alexander Ahmadi, Derek Cowart and James Sanderson. They’re based out of Fullerton, California, and release music through Burger Records. It released its debut EP, Cosmonauts, in June 2010 and, after releasing three EPs and three singles, released its first full album, Persona Non Grata, in 2013.
Although it still didn’t gain the band a Wikipedia page, Persona Non Grata gained wide acclaim on the Internet (and if the Internet says it, you know it’s true). Reviewers rave about the band’s “lush yet menacing sound caves” and describe its songs as “packed with atmosphere.” If you asked the Cosmonauts itself about its sound, it would describe it as “garage pop.” If you asked us Cloggers, we’d quote the tags on their Last.fm page. Why? Because the tags are funny, and we don’t know what they mean. Prime instances? The band is tagged as “cosmic disco,” “nu disco,” “psychedelic rock” — and that’s just for starters.
Luckily for you, the Last.fm page was not the extent of our Cosmonauts stalking. We also looked at its Twitter page in a new segment we’re calling …
Social Media Stalk
The Cosmonauts stays active on Twitter. Here are a few of its best quotes:
Aug. 18: “I’m not a bleach blonde with an Internet personality.”
Oct. 4: “kyle cut my hair and we put it in a bag and were gonna sell it on ebay. no foolin stay tuned @ Anaheim… http://instagram.com/p/tuOYlQJkiw/ ”
Oct. 7: “Come tuck me in”
Oct. 23: “If you think I’m hot, you should see my dad.”
There’s no doubt the members of the Cosmonauts are expert tweeters — thank us later for investigating that for you. However, they’re also pretty great musicians. Our Cosmonauts stalking concludes with a survey of the best and most critically acclaimed tracks from its collection — make sure you listen to them before Thursday’s concert.
Most popular song
Shaker is the title track from the Cosmonauts’s first album, Persona Non Grata. Pitchfork describes it as “languid … restless and tormented,” and we think that’s an apt choice of words for a song with an understated guitar melody that backs lines such as “I’m 23, and there’s nothing left of me.” Listen to this one if you like mellow songs with a repetitive guitar hook, or if you’re having a quarter-life crisis. The Cosmonauts feels you on that one.
“Pure Posture,” also from Persona Non Grata, caught the attention of critics because of its lyrics. One critic says that in an album whose end rhymes can often be simplistic, lines such as “I don’t worry ’bout her soul at night cause she keeps her legs crossed” are among the best on the album. Others call it a “stone cold classic,” “next level” and a song not to miss if you love lyrics. Basically, this song is for the English and linguistics majors among us. Listen to this song if you’re looking for music to pay attention to and ponder.
One critic compares “My Alba” (off, you guessed it, Persona Non Grata) to the songs of Velvet Underground. Maybe it’s just us, but we think that comparison merits a listen. Other critics call the song “standout” and the “deciding track” — no pressure, Cosmonauts. Listen to this if you’re in the mood for a long, mellow song with minimalistic lyrics.
“Summertime Blue” — I’m sure you can guess which album it’s off, by now — reminds us a little bit of The Beatles circa “Dear Prudence.” Its vocals are minimalist and understated, and the main focus of the song is its floating guitar instrumentation. Together with the ethereal hook and quiet lyrics, we almost expect the Cosmonauts to ask Prudence if she’s going to come out and play. Listen to this one if you’re looking for a quieter track to listen to and feel like throwing it back a few decades.
As long as we’re throwing it back, “Gillian” reminds us a bit of The Ramones. And guess what? It’s not from Persona Non Grata — it’s from the band’s 2012 release If You Wanna Die Then I Wanna Die. The song is guitar-centered, and a central upbeat riff keeps the song going until the end. It’s a nice quick-tempo contrast to the slower songs that surround it on the album — we nodded our head the whole way through, even if we couldn’t really understand what they were singing. Listen to this one if you’re looking for a faster-paced song to rock out to.
We hope this thorough Cosmonauts stalking has given you enough material to casually knock your friends off their feet Thursday. We can already hear you saying, “I knew the band before it was famous.”
Image Source: Robert Couse-Baker under Creative Commons
Contact Emma Schiffer at [email protected].