Cosmonauts

Cosmonauts

Cosmonauts are a California-based band known for their simple, physically powerful songs and punishing stage volume. Cosmonauts were formed in 2009 by guitarists Alexander Ahmadi and Derek Cowart, natives of Fullerton in Orange County. They met when a mutual friend staged a house show and the two ended up jamming together. As Cowart told a reporter, "It was almost the same fashion as when the Clash approached (Joe) Strummer. 'I like you, but I hate your band,' is pretty much what Alex told me. I was like, 'That's alright. I hate my band, too.'" Teaming with bassist James Sanderson III and drummer Cole Devine, the four became Cosmonauts, and began hashing out powerful, drone-inspired guitar jams inspired by Spacemen 3Sonic Youth, and the Velvet Underground. The group also discovered a simple way to get its trademark thick, reverb-heavy sound: using old amps and driving them as loud as possible. (As Cowart says, "The Kinks didn't get their tones from pedals, they just blew out their amps. It sounds cooler that way.") A few months after their first shows, Cosmonauts released their first album, a cassette-only offering issued by the label/record shop Burger Records that hit the street in the summer of 2010. Cosmonauts soon set out on their first tour, landed a spot at the South by Southwest Music Conference, and began releasing fresh material at a steady pace, including the cassette-only New Psychic Denim EP and a handful of 7" singles. In 2011, Cosmonauts' debut album was reissued on vinyl by Chicago's Permanent Records, and the band's many singles were compiled on a cassette-only collection, Natalie Wilson's Arm. Their second full-length, If You Wanna Die Then I Wanna Die, was released in 2012, and in 2013 the group reunited with Burger to release a third album, Persona Non Grata. - MARK DEMING


"Their raucous set was like if the Velvet Underground had turned to the MC5 at their Boston Tea Party concert in 1968 and, instead of insulting them, had turned and made love to them—and that was how Lou Reed wound up wearing that dog collar. I couldn't make out a single lyric, but did they really close the set with 'Little Honda?'" --LA RECORD

"Swirling, distorted psych, bulldozed along by pounding primitive drums, fuzzed out vocals, all glued together with a heavy spaced out guitar drone. If that ain't the ingredients for record of the month my name is Prince Bloody William. Imagine if you will the best of THEE OH SEES jamming deep with MOON DUO, with the aid of some sort of retro type drug that only Brace Belden knows the name of and you would almost be right on the money. Heavy, without losing one single hook, repetitive without being the least bit boring and shamelessly stepped in the glory years of acid rock without being a boring regurgitating hipster. Be warned, this record will give you a contact high." --Maximum Rock N Roll #337