|Mondo Cozmo — Plastic Soul (4 August, 2017)|
Mondo Cozmo — Plastic Soul (4 August, 2017) • According to a press statement, the album was written as Ostrander nearly lost his mind in a “shitty Joshua Tree rental house last year” while accompanied by his dog Cozmo. For about two weeks, his days entailed “screaming into a microphone at two in the morning and bleeding all over the guitar strings.”
• “I hope this album speaks to anyone who is scared to start over,” Ostrander tells Consequence of Sound. “Or overwhelmed by what they could be. This album comes from a real place. I needed to find truth and I found it in the songs. It is an honor to present Plastic Soul.”
Location: Philadelphia, PN ~ LA, CA
Album release: 4th August, 2017
Record Label: Island Records/Republic Records
01 Plastic Soul 4:58
02 Hold On To Me 3:37
03 Higher 3:03
04 Come With Me 3:46
05 Shine 4:38
06 Thunder 3:43
07 Automatic 3:36
08 11 Acre 3:17
09 Angel 4:27
10 Chemical Dream 4:13
℗ 2017 Republic Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.
Phil Mongredien, Sunday 6 August 2017 08.00 BST / Score: ****
• Not every hopeful is lucky enough to get a third shot at success on a major label, but on the basis of Plastic Soul, Philadelphia~born, LA~based Josh Ostrander deserves it. He came close with Laguardia and Eastern Conference Champions in the 00s and now, a decade of part~time gardening jobs on, comes his genre~straddling debut as Mondo Cozmo. It’s wonderfully infectious, with echoes of Spiritualized (the euphoric Shine), Bob Dylan’s vocal delivery (most notably on Hold on to Me) and Achtung Baby~era U2 (Higher), all while retaining a strong thread of individuality. Throughout, there’s a maximalist joy at play, ideas tumbling over one another, reaching their apotheosis on the bombastic and emotionally draining Thunder. Third time lucky?
Roisin O’Connor / Friday 23 June 2017 12:15 BST / Interview:
Mondo Cozmo interview: ‘I couldn’t be prouder that it took this long to happen’
• American singer~songwriter Josh Ostrander talks his new album ‘Plastic Soul’, how he got his name from his dog and a terrible film, and why he doesn’t mind the journey he took to get where he is.
• “I pretty much live in the van. I don’t feel like I’m anywhere. I was home for three days, and it almost felt weird. And I just wanna keep going, because once you get into that rhythm... you don’t wanna stop.”
• Sat in the blissful cool of the Lexington pub as London swelters in the midst of a heatwave, Mondo Cozmo is marvelling at everything that’s happened to him in the past year.
• The American singer~songwriter, born Joshua Keith Ostrander, has just come out of a US tour supporting Bastille, and is preparing to release his debut album Plastic Soul in August through Island Records (later he’ll play the tracks during a mind~blowing set in the venue upstairs).
• “I was thinking about it today, how much cool stuff I’ve done — and the album hasn’t even come out yet!” he says. “We booked every festival in America, and we’re starting to come over to the UK and it’s like… this album better not suck...”
• “Plastic Soul”, the title track on the record, was a big moment for Ostrander. When he first sampled the beautiful, jaunty piano notes from Erma Franklin’s “Piece of my Heart” he didn’t have the rights. Then a radio DJ began playing it (illegally) each day, and the reaction was spectacular.
• “I thought I was done, I thought I was gonna get sued,” Ostrander says. “But then people just started emailing, I was getting thousands of them, my phone would stop working because people were messaging me, saying they loved this song.”
• Rights acquired, Plastic Soul can proudly feature its title track as the opening song. So while many artists will tell you that radio no longer has the power it used to, apparently it had plenty of power for him.
• “It was the most terrifying and rewarding thing,” he nods. “In America, we’ll play Alabama and have 3,000 people singing along, because they’ve been playing it on the radio. Then in upstate New York where they’re not, and there’s 40 people. I’ve never gotten radio like this. It’s really cool.”
• Ostrander played in a bunch of different bands, including Eastern Conference Champions (ECC), before landing on his solo venture, and found it tough leaving “a brotherhood” and struggling to make ends meet while he worked on new material.
• “I was not in a good way,” he says. “I was working two landscaping jobs, I was recording songs in the spare bedroom. I would get up at 4am, go to work, get back at 6pm, have nap then start recording, just go until I fell asleep.
• “It was miserable, because I was coming to terms with not being able to do this. It fucking sucked. And then I started recording songs, I did ‘Hold On To Me’, ‘Shine’, ‘Plastic Soul’. And a couple of weeks later I was like ‘I have to keep doing this, I have to give this to the right people’. And that’s when the journey started.”
• While that journey has taken some time, he says he feels proud that he put in the work.
• “I paid my dues, and I couldn’t be prouder of the fact that it took this long to happen. It’s cool. Looking back at it now, it’s almost overwhelming, the amount of work that went into writing ‘Shine’, and to come up with the ideas that we’re doing now.”
• On Plastic Soul there’s a pure energy that courses through the record, whether it’s the breathlessly paced, drum~skittering ‘Higher’ or the steady euphoria on ‘Hold On To Me’, the video for which stars Ostrander’s friend, the actress Anna Faris, visiting a home for the elderly.
• “We didn’t have a record deal. I was buddies with Chris [Pratt] and Anna...” He breaks off for a moment to say hi to a friend who just walked into the Lexington, beaming as he brings a beer for him over to the table.
• “I didn’t wanna ask her to do it but I knew I had to,” he continues, taking a sip. “She’d asked me to write the theme song to her podcast, which I listen to when I get homesick. She [Anna]’s so funny. I take stuff from her, she doesn’t even know it. She does these little quirky things and I’m like, ‘I’m stealing that!’"
• “So before we went to a label I wanted to show we had a video...” — we cheer as his friend comes back with a gin and tonic and places it in front of me — “and that one changed my life. We shot it for zero dollars, I think I spent 200 bucks to get it colour treated.
• “Nobody knew who she was because they all had dementia. So everybody just thought she was working there, which was a trip for her because usually she can’t leave the house without being recognised.”
• On ‘Shine’, a stunning single with a guitar riff that recalls Blind Melon’s ‘Change’, Ostrander has drawn endless comparisons to Bob Dylan (“I’ll fucking take that,” he says beaming).
• “I recorded 80 per cent of the record in my guest bedroom, then when ‘Shine’ went to number one on one of the charts, the label called and said ‘can you do an EP?’. Then: ‘Can you do a full length? And can you do it in two weeks?’
• “And I was like, go fuck yourself!” Ostrander says with a burst of laugher. “But then… yeah, I can do it in two weeks, man.”
• Knowing the work it would take and not wishing to incur the wrath of his girlfriend, he packed up “my s****y computer and my dumb dog” and headed out to the Joshua Tree national park in California.
• You can hear Cozmo the dog barking on the intro “Come WIth Me” (“I had to get him to fill out some paperwork) — Ostrander was inspired by bands like Jane’s Addiction and the Beastie Boys. It’s a personal touch, one of many that marks his album out as something special and hand~crafted.
• Along with his dog, the rest of Mondo Cozmo came from the 1969 John Waters film Mondo Trasho, a bizarro comedy that Ostrander jokes is “almost unwatchable”.
• He draws on inspiration from film scenes in his music as well: “Shine” was born from a scene in Cool Hand Luke where Paul Newman sings “Plastic Jesus” after his character learns about the death of his mother.
• “I grew up really religious, and my family still is but I’m not so much. That scene in Cool Hand Luke, it just destroyed me,” Ostrander says.
• “This grown man playing Plastic Jesus with a guitar, it broke my heart. And I wanted to convey that feeling, that moment, and that’s when I came up with the first line: ‘Stick with me Jesus through the comin’ storm’.”
• “It’s tough because in the States I get asked a lot about the religious aspect of it but I don’t know how to respond to it,” he continues, “because I don’t wanna take away from what people think it might be.”
• He gets messages from people who say they’ve been affected by the song: “How beautiful is it that, that this song was written when I wasn’t in the greatest place, helps other people get through something? It means so much to me. That’s the power of music.”
• And yet despite all the praise, the messages from fans and the fact that Plastic Soul is superb, Ostrander still can’t help but wonder out loud in the pub, “what if this album goes to s***?”.
• “F***,” he laughs. “We’ll see.” • http://www.independent.co.uk/
About Mondo Cozmo
≈≠↓ Mondo Cozmo is the performing name of Philadelphia~bred, Los Angeles’based singer~songwriter Joshua Ostrander. Ostrander’s career began as part of the alt~rock band Laguardia, who released a lone LP on Universal Republic in 2004. Along with friend and longtime bandmate Greg Lyons, he soon left to form Eastern Conference Champions, a vigorous indie rock trio who found success recording for Geffen in the late 2000s. In April 2016, Ostrander made his first bid for a solo career with the single “Hold on to Me,” his first release under the Mondo Cozmo name. Boasting a bold, expansive sound that fused Arcade Fire’s epic rock stylings with hip~hop elements and folky, Dylanesque earthiness, Ostrander dropped his second single, “Shine,” in September of that year. Keeping up a steady diet of singles, Cozmo returned in 2017, first with “Automatic” and then with “Plastic Soul,” the latter of which was the title track from his debut album released shortly thereafter. ~ Timothy Monger
|Mondo Cozmo — Plastic Soul (4 August, 2017)|