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Excelsior, Minnesota, United States (2010 – present)

Cosmonot is not technically a band, but it sure as hell sounds like one. Guitars, keyboards, drums and vocals are all prominent on “To the Sky,” the first studio album from the Minnesota artist, but it’s the premise of the project that makes it special.

Alex Smith, a 20-year-old musician from Excelsior, Minnesota, United States decided to piece together a demo album on GarageBand before leaving for college in the summer of 2010. “Behind the Sun” was a sloppy introduction to Smith’s gimmick: He could sing and play the other instruments without the help of anyone else.

More recording during his freshman year led to Smith’s second demo release, “Ignite, Ignite,” in the spring of 2011. The new “album” had a cleaner sound and better songs, but Smith wanted to go all in on his musical ambition.

After saving up his money, he entered a studio in Columbia, Missouri to record a 10-song LP, the first big-time project of his career. Working with friend and producer Evan Cottrell—who chipped in on bass and lead guitar segments—Smith found time between classes to finish “To the Sky” in less than two months.

The result is by far the best work of Smith’s young career. The album’s decidedly alternative rock tone mixes all kinds of genres, from indie pop (“Excelsior”) to grunge (“The Sea”) to singer-songwriter folk (“All I Know”). The future is bright for Cosmonot, the best kept secret in Minneapolis’ rock scene.


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