Video: Mondo Cozmo, ‘Upside Down’

Mondo Cozmo

Mondo Cozmo’s simmering stew of song styles reaches a boiling point on the new single “Upside Down.” Since he started the project in 2016, songwriter Josh Ostrander has veered from guitar-driven anthems (chart-topping single “Shine” and October’s “Come On”) to soul-derived inspirationals (“Plastic Soul”) to edgy rave-ups (“Automatic” and “Black Cadillac”). “Upside Down” samples all three, and why not? “Every single night I watch the evening news and wonder… ’Bout right,” Ostrander says. “Crazy times call for a crazy tune. It’s my attempt at a feel-good summer song in an imploding world.”

He spits lyrics like Beck channeling Dylan at a tent revival, tracked backing vocals wailing toward the heavens before coming round to a chorus that is pretty much inarguable these days: “Everything is upside down.”

It’s the latest single from Mondo Cozmo’s just-announced sophomore album, “New Medicine,” coming out later this year at a date to be announced. The album, his first for Last Gang Records after being dropped by Republic, was made with a cast including producer Lars Stalfors (Cold War Kids, Foster the People), songwriter Dan Wilson and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Peter Hayes and Leah Shapiro, among others.

Ostrander backgrounds the genesis of the album:

“When ‘Shine’ took off at radio, the next year was spent on the road. Playing every show, doing every meet-n-greet, every morning radio show, every podcast, interview and after-party. And why not? It was the first time anyone wanted to talk to me about music. I loved it, but by the end of the year I was pretty beat down and tired. It came to head during a video shoot in which I just completely lost it. I found myself in a situation where I lost control, and in front of the band, label, management I punched a glass door and destroyed my hand. I would spend the night in the emergency room watching them put my hand back together.

“But I began writing. The tunes just poured out. I was put on medication after the hand debacle. I assumed that’s where the songs were coming from. That’s where the ‘New Medicine’ title came from. But I couldn’t play guitar. Enter Peter Hayes. ‘I’ll play guitar for ya.’ He guided me. He pushed me to get the record done. As did Butch Vig, who would help me make sense of the demos I was sending to him on the daily.

“This album sums up a lot for me. Coming to terms with the weird guilt of success, navigating a new American experience. With a numb hand.”

He gives it his all in the video, directed by Travis Shinn.

||| Watch: The video for “Upside Down”

||| Previously: Live at the Hi Hat, “Black Cadillac,” Live at Made in L.A., “The Ballad of Vegas,” “Plastic Soul,” live at the El Rey, 2017 interview, “Shine,” “Hold On to Me”