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The Cows

Longtime denizens from the Minneapolis rock and roll picture, the Cows are among America’s great degenerate punk rock and roll bands. Starting as near-total incompetents, they will have become more theoretically polished musicians through the ’90s, but their white-hot sound rock and roll is not tamed one little bit. In lots of ways, the Cows stay as gloriously messy, primitive, and fascinating as they had been your day they began. Formed within the middle-’80s by idiosyncratic business lead vocalist Shannon Selberg, the Cows appropriated the hardcore electric guitar blur that characterized fellow-Twin Citians Hüsker Dü, but stripped apart every concessions to melodies, hooks, riffs — essentially whatever remotely resembled pop. What they provided was a blazing wall structure of distortion which was punk rock and roll at its crudest; a feral racquet that sounded as though the guitars had been being used metal data files. Above the din was Selberg, free-associating surreal vignettes about, well, God understands what, but his squealing, shrieking, and general lunacy supplied the bizarre, frequently engaging, concentrate. He has trumpet, as well — well, not really much has as blasts an email or two when he’s sick and tired of ranting. Following the release of the first record in 1987, the Cows had been roundly derided being a talentless, tasteless joke (a charge that might be leveled a couple of years afterwards against Babes in Toyland). Nevertheless, they’ve stayed accurate with their anti-commercial position and punk root base, releasing a small number of odd, noisy, gleefully unhinged information that appear to progress (i.e., even more focused and much less obtuse) and wthhold the band’s devotion to mania.

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