Renowned in the Nashville music scene, Justin Collins is half of the critically-acclaimed production duo, Cosmic Thug, alongside Adam Landry. They've produced albums with Diamond Rugs, Deer Tick, Middle Brother, as well as T. Hardy Morris, Nikki Lane and Pony Boy. His song "Totally Lonely" was also featured on the debut Diamond Rugs LP, featuring members of Deer Tick, Black Lips, Dead Confederate, and Los Lobos. He also has a song “Killing Time” on Diamond Rugs sophomore release Cosmetics.
“Justin and The Cosmics frontman, Justin Collins, is a force to be reckoned with, a twisting cyclone of charismatic energy. Even if you’ve only seen photos of the band’s performances, you still get the idea - they all depict Collins somersaulting across the stage, or dropping to his knees to meet an audience member’s gaze, or howling like a wounded animal with the mic cable all a tangle around his limbs. This week, Collins and the Cosmics are celebrating the release of their new record, Perf: Live at Ardent Studios, and that’s good news for fans of the singer’s onstage antics. “Been wanting to capture what we do at our live show for a long time, and I think we finally may have done it,” says Collins of the album, which is being issued by Cosmic Thug Records (the local label co-founded by Collins, producer Adam Landry and Pony Boy’s Marchelle Bradanini). As advertised, Perf was recorded live at historic Memphis studio Ardent, with Nashvillian and Wilco multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone behind the controls. Sure enough, the record is all classically styled American rock ’n’ roll - the outsized drums and gang vocals of “Hey Dude,” the buzzing fury to which album closer “Hangin’ Out in My Body” builds. It’s good stuff that’ll go over like gangbusters at the band’s release show, which will feature an impressive roster of guests, among them Robyn Hitchcock, Tristen, The Whigs’ Parker Gispert and more.”
- D. Patrick Rodgers, Nashville Scene
“If you want to see a real punk band, not some indie band that calls themselves that because they use fuzz pedals and wear Converse, then Justin & the Cosmics is the band you need to see. There’s the Clash, the Modern Lovers, and even that original punk, Elvis, all in their sound. Collins is a sneering amalgam of, like, every early American male badass; Johnny Cash, James Dean, Elvis, and Dylan are all there. His voice is gritty and snotty and at moments drifts into southern rockabilly inflections. If you’re looking for the great punk-influenced rock and roll in Nashville, this band is smarter, are better performers, and more authentic than all the groups of children hardly old enough to drink that constantly get buzz as the best “punk” groups in town.”
- Jacqui Sahagian, No Country For New Nashville
“Collins has a golden throat coated in nicotine and whiskey, a dark croon that feels like it escaped from the tape deck on an ancient alien’s spaceship and perfectly complements his off-kilter take on classic pop composition.”
- Sean L. Maloney, Nashville Scene