Album Review: Two Cow Garage: Brand New Flag
Brand New Flag
Last Chance Records
Release: October 14th, 2016
"Brand New Flag," the newest release from Columbus, Ohio's Two Cow Garage, finds the band staying true to their roots, while experimenting and moving their signature sound onward. The band opens with Movies, an acoustic slow-burner where each band member (Micah Schnabel: Guitars/Vocals, Shane Sweeney: Bass/Vocals, David Murphy: Percussion/Vocals/Piano and newest member Todd Farrell Jr.: Guitar/Vocals) handles their own verse, concluding with swirling harmonies. The landscape of this record, sways from rockers like Continental Distance and This Little Light to Beauty in the Futility, which sounds like it's some distance cousin of The Cramps.
One thing which has always formed a connection with me and the band are their lyrics. In a tumultuous election season, we are encouraged with Schnabel singing in Let the Boys Be Girls, "we don't need old rich white men to tell us who we can kiss goodnight." History Now! has Sweeney asking us "what if it is up to us to figure out how the future all turns out?"
The standout track, This Little Light plays out like a short movie. Scenes and characters swing from a body being found in an alley to Schnabel being robbed and having a gun placed to his head in a gas station parking lot. "He had a tattoo under his right eye that said "fuck the world" and I wasn't in a position to disagree."
There are experimental moments on the record with I Promise, which is a spoken word piece placed over the background of haunting, minor chords and keeps screaming back to the line "I will never give up." This seems to be the continuing theme for the band; optimism wrapped in a thin veil of cynicism.
"Brand New Flag" is an undeniable step forward for Two Cow Garage, as they enter their 16th year. This is the most band-focused, consistent release in their catalog. They've wrapped harmonies around their punk rock roots and continue to capture our attention with poignant lyrics.
"Long time listener, first time caller, thank you for having me, but I think I'm losing my mind and I need a reason to believe." - Brand New Flag