Name: Ready Astronaut
Members: Josh Johnson and friends
From: Kansas City, MO
RIYL: My Morning Jacket, Beck, Wilco, T Bone Burnett
Ready Astronaut is an earnest, yet whimsical struggle between the romantic and existential crisis. Piloted by singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Josh Johnson, a member of Kansas City band The Slowdown, Ready Astronaut’s debut self-titled album feels as classic as it does relevant. The album’s opener and first single “Lost in Space” is a floating and stomping groove featuring a ripping mandolin riff, wistful steel guitar, and infectious/evocative vocals.
Elements of rock, folk, and experimental music fuse together to create a heady, yet earthy musical approach. Subsequent songs (i.e. “I’d Come Running” and “Reaching In”) are laden with concepts of heartbreak, wanderlust, and self-exploration/discovery. “Newgrass”, the softest and loneliest of the tracks, is a heart-wrenching finale to the album’s future-folk element. “Purple Pill” follows as the loudest, most aggressive of the 11 songs, and the remaining tracks play out as a kind of mysterious sci-fi epic, put to bed by a blissful and brief instrumental “The Robot Dreams”.
Johnson fills many of the instrumental and production duties on the album, with a notable amount of help from current and former members of the Slowdown, Sam Hoskins, Jordan Smith, Drew Little, and Jeremy Wilson. The recordings were all done independently in Kansas City in various curious locations. Engineers Jeremy Wilson and Duane Trower are credited with mixing and mastering duties respectively.