COSMONAUT: The Shoegaze Strokes

When I first heard Cosmonaut, I thought they were The Strokes.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But to say that Cosmonaut moves beyond the established “NYC indie-rock” genre would be an overstatement. However, they have honed in on what makes it such good music to begin with, and they excel at replicating the iconic feel of pioneers before them.

Check out this short promo video for their 2012 EP, Hurry Up. The song, “My Fair Lady” works well as a simple, acoustic piece, but it ultimately explodes into a storm of noise and guitar, revealing the band’s true nature. This contrast highlights both Cosmonaut’s roots as conventional songwriters and their aspirations for something bigger and more heavily distorted.

Cosmonaut released their debut EP, Hurry Up, in 2012. Crisp, tight guitars cut through mild reverb to produce catchy riffs with elegant song structures. The tone is Strokes-esque, but the songs aren’t as gritty and the vocals are less processed and muddied than Julian Casablancas’.

While most listeners could easily identify their garage-rock-revival roots, Cosmonaut would like you to see them as something more than that. Their Facebook “artists we also like” section cites 5 comedians and architects before The Smiths, My Bloody Valentine, and 2 expressionist painters. Their website tells us that “Cosmonaut blends slick pop-rock songwriting styles with Shoegaze-influenced guitar textures to create a unique, tasteful sound.” The key phrase here is “shoegaze-influenced,” since their sound is far cleaner than most shoegaze of the early 90’s.

Or maybe I’m just not listening to it loud enough.

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Cosmonaut released their newest single, “Radio Silence,” in 2014. The song is catchy and upbeat, but while it maintains the band’s straightforward sound, it shifts closer to their shoegazing influences by emphasizing dreamy guitar noise and processed vocals.

They wear jean jackets and have long, scruffy hairdos. They look like The Ramones, sound like The Strokes, and are slowly climbing up the New York City indie-rock ladder. Keep them on your radar, and you won’t be disappointed!