I was first introduced to Cosmo Jarvis about a year ago, when Maya showed me the video for "Gay Pirates." On the surface, it's a raucous sea shanty with a beautifully lit, one shot video. But underneath all that pirate garb is an expertly written, exceedingly poignant love song.
At only 22, Cosmo has written hundreds of songs, produced dozens of music videos, and mastered countless instruments. I'm serious. I have no idea how many instruments he actually plays. I know for sure that he is a whiz at guitar, mandolin, ukelele and banjo. He records everything in a home studio. This guy is a true wunderkind, but he's virtually unknown in the US.
While I was in New York, I got to catch one of Cosmo's CMJ sets, a free show at the very intimate Rockwood Music Hall. This place is so small that the drums have to be set up on the floor on stage left. Of course, a small venue is hardly ever a bad thing, at least for the listeners.
Cosmo powered through his set with the outstanding vocal and instrumental backing of Harry Mackaill on bass and Harry Meads on drums. His influences are diverse, from Frank Zappa to John Lennon, yet these divergent styles all come together in a kind of pop folk punk with underlying maritime themes. The ska-like "She Doesn't Mind" coexists beautifully with the Southern choir stylings of "Sure as Hell Not Jesus."
If you live in the UK, you'll probably be lucky enough to catch Cosmo live in the next few months. If you're in the States, jump on any chance you get. In the meantime, consider subscribing to his YouTube channel. He's quite prolific, and there's a backlog of videos to keep you entertained.
His latest album, Is the World Strange or Am I Strange?, is available on his website, Amazon, or via iTunes. It's also a good idea to join the mailing list, as I've gotten some free tunes that way.
Let me know what you think if you give it a listen. Also, as always, I'm interested in listening to new music, so let me know what you're listening to these days.