Ah Cows. What’s there to say that’s not already been said? There’s not a band from the Amphetamine Reptile Records roster that more perfectly embodies the labels sound and aesthetic. To call Cows twisted and demented is to put it mildly. But hey, I’d like to think if you’re reading this you’ve already got a pretty good grasp on what they were all about.
Although AmRep released the majority of their material, there was the classic "Taint Pluribus Taint Unum" full-length that was released by Treehouse Records in the late 80’s. Although the record has been out of print for almost twenty years, the record suspiciously pops up on eBay by the label who put it out. So hey, maybe it isn’t as out of print as we’d be led to believe, huh?
Back in the fall of last year, I went up to the 25th anniversary celebration of AmRep in Minneapolis in the back parking lot at Hazelmyer’s bar/restaurant Grumpy’s. The Thrown Ups, Janitor Joe, Freedom Fighters and other AmRep alum reunited to perform. And for that, a hearty thank you to those bands. But the fact that Cows didn’t perform was a deafening omission to an otherwise perfect weekend of performances. No question about it. The band’s unique front man, Shannon Selberg, made a cameo and I could’ve sworn I saw one of their drummers lurking around. But Kevin and Thor, the bass and guitar of the band, were nowhere to be seen. I mean, what the hell? Such a let down.
While I was in town, I met up with old pal Lori Barbero who’d promised me a chance to raid her massive collection of 80’s recordings. Sure, Lori was the drummer for Babes in Toyland, but what you’d probably not know is that she recorded quite meticulously in Minneapolis throughout the 80’s. Soul Asylum? The Replacements? Run Westy Run? Magnolias? Prince? Yep, all of ’em. Die Kreuzen? Meatmen? Naked Raygun? Live Skull? Pussy Galore? Scratch Acid? Uh huh. Multiple times. In addition to the live recordings (which took me months to transfer back at Chunklet HQ in Atlanta), there were many demos that I never knew existed. And yeah, this Cows demo from 1986 was one of them. Actually, I have two separate versions of this from her collection and this is one.
This demo predates any known material that circulates of this legendary noise band. And well, isn’t giving back to you what I’m here to do? I mean, come on.
Download: Cows singles and Taint Pluribus.
Cows-first demo ’86-Tourist
Cows-first demo ’86-Red House
Cows-first demo ’86-Camouflage Monkey
Cows-first demo ’86-Sittin’ Around
Cows-first demo ’86-The Pictorial
Cows-first demo ’86-Mother (I Love That Bitch)
Cows-first demo ’86-Weird Kitchen/Shakin’ All Over
Cows-first demo ’86-Cow Jazz/Car Chase