A Brief History of the Best Unsigned Band in America (no shit)
A lot has been written about Two Cow Garage on this website and not enough has been written about the band elsewhere. While groups like My Morning Jacket, Kings of Leon, Band of Horses and Midlake have received critical acclaim as great new Americana/roots rock/alt-country/ (insert your favorite label here) bands and have consequently gained national followings, Two Cow Garage has been almost completely ignored, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why.
It certainly isn’t laziness – Two Cow routinely plays 200 shows a year across the country. It definitely isn’t a lack of talent – over the course of three albums, the band has shown obvious growth both lyrically and musically. It could be the band’s self-effacing attitude – all of the members are humble to a fault, and the music world thrives on big personalities and big egos (they make for better quotes and better stories). It might be the band’s name – somehow it seems to evoke the image of a suburban cover band. “Two Car Garage?” is usually a person’s first response when I mention the band to someone who hasn’t heard of them (which is, unfortunately, most people). Or, I suppose, it just may have something to do with bad timing – as one of the band members observed recently, “Rock and roll is just not really cool right now. And we are definitely not cool.”
The only downfall about 2007 is that there have already been so many contenders for album of the year, it’s going to be downright sad when the winner is eventually is named. There’s going to be a plethora of runner ups that you’ll probably wished were number one, depending on the day.
Okkervil River’s fourth album, The Stage Names, is my pick for album of the year at this moment. While my pick may still change this year, this album has all of the qualifications of an album worthy of that title.
It’s not cool to pile on, I know, but anyone who saw the MTV music awards is talking about the same thing: What the fuck happened to Britney Spears?
Like all MTV Music Awards openers, this was hyped to be “amazing” and “shocking” and a triumphant return for who was once the bread and butter for the dopiest channel on TV. The promise was that everyone would be talking about Britney’s performance, and they are, just not for a good reason.
Half stumbling and entirely leadfooted, Britney Spears couldn’t even bother to phone it in. Naughty Baby definitely did a No-No with an uninspired walkthrough that has pole dancers everywhere justifiably declaring: I can do that!
Sarah Silverman may have put it best when she said, “Isn’t [Spears] amazing? Just twenty five years old and she’s done everything she’s going to do with her life.” Let’s hope so.
I love these guys, and it would probably be wrong not to disclose that I’ve been friends with them for years, attending weddings, sharing rounds of Old Style longnecks at Mulligan’s, etc. I’ve already said everything I need to say about this band and the anti-ska snobs who hate everything, but the new album, In Black and White, is the best thing they’ve done since 1997’s Evildoers Beware!
You’re always afraid after a band releases a greatest hits compilation that it’s all downhill from there. Thankfully, that’s not the case this time. They sound re-energized. Colin Clive’s guitars are bigger and badder than ever. Dave Kirchgessner’s vocals and lyrics have a new sense of anger. They’ve got a new drummer (again — what is this, Spinal Tap?) And the horns are actually in tune most of the time! Just kidding, but I know they can take it.
Footage has surfaced of Dirty Pretty Things playing an acoustic number in Pentonville Prison. The band played a set on Monday, August 27 to raise awareness for the suicide prevention group, Wasted Youth.
I love how Didz is swaying a little in the background while Gary is just standing there looking like he belongs there. Bad ass!
Am I just being nostalgic or does this song kick ass? The horns, especially, sound great. And something about Chuck’s voice immediately makes me hopeful and sad and excited and angry for the current state of hip-hop, music, and the world in general. Chuck D for President!
Being labeled a “great bar band” is a double-edged sword. It’s a music critic’s way of praising a band and marginalizing them at the same time. The subtext of this over-used phrase is, “this band plays good, loud, infectious rock that will go down well with your PBR on a Saturday night in a small club, but don’t expect them to rise to popularity or artistic heights of Radiohead or Wilco or R.E.M. or any other band that can sell out stadiums and two-tiered auditoriums at $40 a ticket (+ handling fees).”
Nowadays just playing good rock music isn’t enough to get a band noticed. Critics are always looking for the next big thing… the next Strokes… the new White Stripes… something different… something challenging… something else. So a band had better get to reinventing the wheel if they want to become critical darlings.