Video: Mondo Cozmo, ‘Black Cadillac’

Mondo Cozmo (Photo by Travis Shinn)

Josh Ostrander lost his job (again). The country is a political cesspool. The future is on shakier ground than California tectonic plates. So what does the songwriter known as Mondo Cozmo do? He writes a poem that turns into a rock-gospel rave-up.

“Black Cadillac” is the new single from Mondo Cozmo, who was dropped by Republic Records after one album (2017’s “Plastic Soul”) but today announced a new deal with Last Gang Records (Metric, Death From Above 1979, Crystal Castles, Chromeo, Rhye, among others). An album is in the works for next year.

Built on a simple, elastic guitar riff and relentless drumming, “Black Cadillac” was inspired in part by two poems — Bruce Isaacson’s “I Lost My Job & Wrote This Poem” and Jack Wilter’s “It’s About the End of the World Stupid.” In similar first-person, stream-of-consciousness fashion but with an opaqueness Ostrander has always favored as a lyricist, Mondo Cozmo revs up and rants about all things currently topical. And the temptation of petty theft.

“The lyrics of ‘Black Cadillac’ were written on tour while the [Judge Brett] Kavanaugh hearings were being televised,” the songwriter says. “We would watch the hearings in the van on my phone. This was right after I was asked to go speak to Congress on behalf of the [Music Modernization Act] legislation, which ended in a lunch in the Kennedy Room of the Capitol where there was a small sugar spoon at the table that I wanted to steal.”

The song was produced by Lars Stalfors (Cold War Kids, Foster The People, St. Vincent) and mixed by Spike Stent (Radiohead, Florence + the Machine, Ed Sheeran) and features Peter Hayes and Leah Shapiro of Black Rebel Motorcylce Club on guitars and drums, respectively. The band added backup vocals (recorded in a dressing room in Indiana) and the gospel choir was added later in L.A.

The books of poetry, archival news footage and Mondo Cozmo all star in the video for “Black Cadillac.” It may be about the end of the world, and there are days it feel like that time is nigh, but Mondo Cozmo has made an anthem that goes down swinging.

||| Watch: The video for “Black Cadillac”

||| Previously: Live at Made in L.A., “The Ballad of Vegas,” “Plastic Soul,” live at the El Rey, 2017 interview