It all fell into place at a community arts center in Jamaica Plain. The members of local band Lost Cosmonauts found each other at Ladies Rock Camp, a three-day music workshop for women.

The program, run by the flourishing Girls Rock organization, offers empowering musical instruction for women with the goal of eradicating “all the limiting myths about music and gender.” While the music industry is still very much a boys club, efforts by communities like Girls Rock push back by sending the message to young women that screaming, shredding, and most importantly, musical expression is not just for boys.

After writing original music together at LRC and performing their first show at The Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, the Lost Cosmonauts took to the studio last October to record their debut self-titled EP. Though the release only has four quick tracks to boast, it paints a promising portrait of what is to come from these four fierce women.

“I Saw Dracula,” an anthem for sleeping in late, begins the EP with sunny, ska-like guitar and gives way to lead singer/accordionist Nina Tobin’s warm, velvety vocal lines. The tune eventually builds into a punk surf-rock chorus, with a repeating hook of “I get up in the evening,” that’s sure to become a crowd-pleasing sing-a-long.

Tobin’s often conversational lyrics and ability to spin a tale makes these storytelling songs especially effective. In “Excuses,” she shuffles through a nearly endless list of terrible, sometimes misogynistic, excuses ranging from “I couldn’t bear your touch, I bailed before you because I knew it’d hurt too much” to “My dad liked you too much, ended my obsession.”

Instead of lamenting over lost lovers and what could have been, the Cosmonauts cleverly turn this familiar narrative on its head with the dismissive doo-wop chorus hook, “baby bye bye, bye bye baby” and lines like “I ain’t your mama,” and “in one week I won’t remember your name at all.” The track is subversive, catchy, and a whimsical introduction to the band’s beliefs.

Although, the standout tune is undoubtedly the ironically sunny, pop-rock track “Happy,” sung by recently departed bass player Nicole Nussbaum. The tongue-in-cheek feminist dialogue continues with another conversational tale about obnoxious past lovers. The track begins with gorgeous dueling vocal harmonies as Nicole’s friend Amy asks all the ridiculous what-if questions women are supposed to let weigh them down after a breakup. In a semi-mocking sing-songy chorus,  the man in question thinks he can single handedly “cure” her with his suggestions. The brutally honest, blunt lyrics contrast with cheery, slowly strummed clean guitars, fitting well with the whirlwind of emotions “Happy” offers to the listener.

He “advises” but mostly insults her with: “Maybe you’d be happy if you took a shot of gin/Maybe you’d be skinny if you went back to the gym/Maybe you wouldn’t be so sad if you got on the dance floor/Maybe your pills wouldn’t make you fat/ if you got on the dance floor.” The clever juxtaposition of the final line cements the absurdity and total unfairness of the exchange.

The final song “Carnival,” opens with a haunting accordion but quickly transitions into a bluesy tune chock full of conjoined twins, fire blowers, and knife throwers. Tobin’s delivery as an apt storyteller shines through.

Still in their formative years, The Lost Cosmonauts have created a refreshingly original batch of songs that dismiss stereotypes and push for individuality.

Lost Cosmonauts - Lost Cosmonauts EP
Pros
  • Diverse styles and sounds explored
  • Narrative/political lyrics are empowering and engaging
  • The songs are consistently catchy, hard to do for a first EP
Cons
  • A handful of sloppy moments musically
  • Some songs feel like they're over way too quickly
  • Wish there was more accordion!
8Overall Score

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