Rhythm & Views 

Two Cow Garage

For a dose of the old jangle and chime à la the three Bs of power pop heaven (The Beatles, Badfinger, Big Star), leavened with hearty helpings of garage-rock grit and urban-country twang, seek out the new album by Two Cow Garage. Aptly titled III, it is the Columbus, Ohio-based trio's third full-length CD.

Compared frequently to such alt-country acts as Uncle Tupelo, Slobberbone and Lucero, Two Cow Garage retrofits its sound with paint-peeling rock and a pensive heart, bringing to mind nothing less than the Replacements. Sometimes, though, the music can sound like John Mellencamp if he fronted a punk band, which isn't a bad thing at all.

Wrestling with subjects that range from growing up and troubled relationships to the national political climate, this terrific album boasts an instant classic in "No Shame," the best tribute in recent memory to failed rock 'n' roll aspirations.

With a few well-chosen lyrics, guitarist-singer Micah Schnabel paints a vivid portrait of hipster procrastination: "There's a TV set on a Peavey amplifier / I'm lying in bed watching The Outsiders / Thanks for asking, but things have never been worse."

How many dissolute artists can relate to this scenario? "And notebooks scattered all over my floor / Six hundred pages all filled with regrets / and hundreds of songs that ain't finished yet / And a job application getting harder to ignore."

Let's hope that Two Cow Garage doth protest too much.

More by Gene Armstrong

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