Cosmonauts came into being in 2009 in outer space or Orange County, depending on
the way you like to look at things. The band was originally formed by Derek Cowart
and Alexander Ahmadi after he heard Cowart play a Spaceman3 song solo at a show i
their home town of Fullerton, CA. The two were students at different high schools but
as it turned out, of the same musical school of thought: two lovers of lo-fi, adorers of
the atmospheric, kindred pop-loving spirits. The two bonded over the
Velvet Underground and Brian Jonestown Massacre, and quickly turned their mutual
appreciation club into a band. Cosmonauts have been making music ever since,
picking up bassist James Sanderson and a host of different drummers along the way
(the spot is currently filled by Mark Morones). Now residing in Los Angeles, they’ve put out a number of releases (including three full length albums) through Burger Records and various other labels.
They’ve toured extensively through the US and Europe, and played alongside Brian
Jonestown Massacre, The Pixies, Slowdive, Black Lips, Belle & Sebastian, and more,
though Cosmonauts don’t exactly fit neatly into the fabric of their scene: too
psychedelic to be punk, too punk to be psychedelic, and too absorbed in making their
own brand of music to care.
Their latest offering, A-OK!, is out August 19th via Burger Records.
Hailing from the stucco-swathed suburbs of Orange County, California, Adult Books is a product of the region’s rich punk rock tradition. Friends and musical collaborators since high school, the band formed out of Southern California’s fertile DIY house show scene. Their self-titled 2012 debut EP (Lolipop Records, Burger Records) turned heads with its infectious melodies and sharp-tongued lyrical wit. It has since gone on to become Lolipop’s best-selling and most-pressed cassette. Subsequent releases from hardcore-leaning Vitriol Records and UK-based anorak pop imprint Box Bedroom Rebels speak to the band’s diverse set of influences and universal songwriting appeal.
Now based in Los Angeles, Adult Books operates in a liminal zone informed by both small-town ennui and urban isolation. Their first full-length LP, “Running from the Blows” (out March 4 on Lolipop Records) is a decidedly darker effort, although the band’s knack for memorable hooks remains stronger than ever. The album’s driving post-punk sound draws on the melancholy melodies of New Order, the shimmering guitar work of The Smiths and the nervy urgency of The Wipers. Alternating between sardonic and sincere, the tightly crafted lyrics strive for an emotional honesty even at their most ambiguous.
After a string of successful support slots for acts including FIDLAR, The Garden, Nu Sensae and Tijuana Panthers, as well as legends like OFF!, The Vibrators and Mike Watt, Adult Books has earned its spot as a standout in the LA music scene. A busy touring schedule for 2016 and a tireless work ethic based on musical perfection and progression are sure to solidify the band’s continued success on a national and international stage.
Brooklyn based Rips have quickly built a reputation amongst NYC showgoers, winning them over with their virtuous melodies and sheer ferocity amidst an endless flurry of shows. Their songs may channel late ’70s New York City bands like Television and The Feelies, but Rips propels these references into something new. Their self-titled debut, produced by Austin Brown of Parquet Courts, is eleven tracks of buzzing guitar riffs driven by a charged rhythm section, all set under lyrics that are actually worth a damn.
Rips (the record) takes cues from the moonlighting era of rock, while delivering a set of songs distinctly fit for the modern age. Once described as a “hyperreal rock n’ roll group,” the phrase “borne forward ceaselessly into the future” is more what they’re going for here.
So break an old habit. Let your hair down (or up). Rips will take you there.
The Mad Walls
“The Mad Walls formed in Los Angeles in 2016, led by frontman/songwriter Christopher Mercado. The band started as a personal recording project, with early demo recordings that were captured on a four-track cassette recorder. With the addition of drummer Johnathan Martin and bassist Nicole Smith, the trio have made music that highlights their influences from earlier sonic pioneers, blending styles, and adding depth to their frenetic pursuit of a post-psychedelic sound. Brushing against the Los Angeles landscape, The Mad Walls offer a subdued but exploratory vision of sound and fury.”