Philadelphia is home to an eclectic group of rock musicians ranging from the hazy brilliance of Kurt Vile to the adrenalized guitars of Timothy Showalter’s Strand of Oaks. August will witness two important albums from artists in completely different stages – The War on Drugs and Mondo Cozmo. After signing a major label deal in advance of their newest record, Adam Grandiuciel’s band is cementing their status as one of rock’s preeminent groups. Mondo Cozmo is at the crossroads of a unique adventure. The group’s Josh Ostrander is a journeyman musician who is seizing the opportunity created by a life-altering hit and riding a wave of next-level success.
The War on Drugs
The biggest band to come out of Philadelphia in recent years, The War on Drugs are releasing their fourth studio album, A Deeper Understanding, on August 25. In 2014 The War on Drugs released Lost In The Dream, a masterpiece anchored by great songs like “Red Eyes,” “Burning,” and “Under the Pressure.” The album redefined their career path and led to an Atlantic Records deal.
The War on Drugs have already put out four strong songs ahead of the new record that may be teasing another contemporary classic. The 11-minute track “Thinking of a Place” is a reflective piece with Pink Floydian components. “Strangest Thing” is the epitome of a slow-burner anthem and should be a highlight of their upcoming tour. The fast tempo of “Holding On” almost belies the emotion of some of Granduciel’s deepest lyrics. Some indication of just how much The War On Drugs’ profile has been elevated may come the touching video for “Holding On.” The idea of the video was conceived by actress Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones, Breaking Bad), who is dating frontman Adam Granduciel, and stars Frankie Faison (The Wire, Luke Cage).
The War on Drugs will bring their world tour to the revamped Dell Music Center on September 21 as a part of ex-Philadelphia Eagle Connor Barwin’s Make The World Better Foundation.
After experiencing a long journey with two different bands, Mondo Cozmo frontman Josh Ostrander may finally be on the cusp of something big under his new moniker, Mondo Cozmo. After fifteen years with the bands Laguardia and Eastern Conference Champions, Ostrander found transformative success as a solo artist in Los Angeles in late 2016. While in L.A., his single “Shine” caught fire and landed on top of the Billboard Adult Alternative Single Charts in January 2017. The song that was knocked from the number one spot? The Kings of Leon’s “Waste A Moment,” which is tied for the second-most weeks atop the Adult Alternative chart.
His debut album as Mondo Cozmo, Plastic Soul, was released on August 4. While “Shine” is a gospel-style track sung with a Dylan gravel, much of the album is closer to U2’s Achtung Baby. The main constant of Plastic Soul is a collection of songs with a tremendous amount of energy. That vitality may be reflective the excitement of a musician who is grasping the moment. Ostrander’s disjointed path to the top of the charts is best channeled through the impassioned song “Thunder,” where he sings “Come on love, turn me around/it’s been a long [f-ing] year that I can’t wait to leave behind.
Mondo Cozmo is currently in the midst of an international tour that will stop by the Union Transfer on September 13.