BY JOHN B. MOORE
Besides having possible the best name going for a country punk band, Two Cow Garage has quietly churned out one amazing album after another without getting nearly the amount of attention they deserve. Since their 2003 debut, Please Turn the Gas Back On, this Columbus, OH-based trio, with a few lineup changes over the years, have bounced from one small indie label to the next, living out of a van, while a slew of other bands with a quarter of their talent have managed to pack amphitheaters across the country with dumbed down lyrics and a banjo player or two.
Death of The Self-Preservation Society, the group sixth album, is easily their best so far and proof that hard work and talent don’t always lead to riches and fame. While The Lumineers are getting Grammy nods by chanting a two-word chorus ad nauseum, Two Cow Garage released one of the best albums of the year and it’s found mainly through their label’s web site and on a card table in the back of the room at the band’s shows. Recalling Dinosaur Jr. on one song and Johnny Cash on the next, Two Cow Garage have managed to mine the best of rock and country and put it through their own bar room filter.
With Micah Schnabel’s stunning shot and a beer poetry, delivered via his trademark strained vocals, Death of the Self-Preservation Society boasts some of his best lyrics to date (“I spent my 20’s with a coin slot in my neck/a broken-hearted jukebox just choking out the rent/Now my best bets a lottery ticket and a Pac Man machine,” from “Mantle in ‘56”).
Tow Cow Garage are the best counter-argument around for anyone who says no one’s making good music any more. You just have to look pretty hard for it.
DOWNLOAD: “The Little Prince and Johnny Toxic,” “Hey Cinderella” and “My Friend Adam”