Hesitantly drinking down his can of Samuel Adams, Josh Ostrander, better known as musician Mondo Cozmo, exclaims, “too strong.” He hails from Philadelphia, where it’s always sunny, yet on the overcast weekend at Boston Calling Music Festival, he brought the sunshine of The City of Brotherly Love to the crowds amassed to see him at the Harvard Athletic Complex.

Ostrander first got his start in the battle royale of the music industry when he fronted the alternative rock band Laguardia back in 2000. Subsequently in 2005, Ostrander fronted the Eastern Conference Champions until 2016, when he took on the alias of Mondo Cozmo and ignited a musical revolution.

“When I started Mondo Cozmo, I wanted to write songs,” said Ostrander. However, a grandiose question circulating in his mind when writing these new songs was, “if I was playing the main stage of Coachella, what is the next song someone would want to hear?”

Mondo and I taking a quick selfie.

Mondo Cozmo initially started releasing a series of singles for his upcoming record, “Plastic Soul,” which is due out on August 4, throughout 2016 and into 2017, so that “[almost] every song gets its own day in the sun.”

A run-through of the new material exudes a spirit of authenticity yet reverence to the past, which can be found through his admiration of acts such as Oasis, Bob Dylan and Pearl Jam. “I rip them off a lot; that’s the biggest compliment I can give them,” joked Ostrander.

The highlight of these singles is “Shine,” which sounds like a freight train of influence by the aforementioned artists, creating an experience that doesn’t quite sound like anything that has been previously recorded by any major artist. “The moment I wrote ‘Shine,’ I knew I had something,” said Ostrander.

Ahead of the release of his upcoming record, Cozmo has been “living in a van” and traveling the country to bring his new music to the masses, with appearances slated at Forecastle and Firefly Music Festivals, as well an appearance at Lollapalooza the day of the release of “Plastic Soul.” Additionally, Mondo Cozmo has announced a headlining club tour that will bring him nearby to the Bowery Ballroom in New York in September.

“It’s been a learning curve of sorts,” said Ostrander. “People want to see something real and honest.”

Though in Boston, Mondo Cozmo has become somewhat of a legend when this past March, he gave away over 300 misspelled shirts (spelt Cosmo, not Cozmo) at his show opening for Bastille at Boston University. It is something he refers to as “the myth of Boston,” which only adds to his fascination with the city. “Ever since I came up here as a kid, and I’ve been playing the Middle East Club and TT the Bear’s, there’s always a buzz about this city,” said Ostrander. “They love their rock ‘n’ roll.”

As we came back from our tour of the past and future, Mondo Cozmo revealed his fondness for Yuengling, another local native from Philadelphia. So on August 4, crack a cold Yuengling open and listen to the outrageously blissful sounds of Mondo Cozmo’s “Plastic Soul.”

 

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