So Cow
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So Cow


Band Rock Pop


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Hear So Cow's Heart-Bending Power-Pop Gem 'I Hardly Know You'"

A cut from the Irish power-pop trio's forthcoming split with Squarehead, due November 13 on Inflated

Originally the solo recording project of Brian Kelly, in recent years So Cow have blossomed into both fully functioning three-piece and card-carrying members of Popical Island, a DIY pop collective in Dublin, Ireland. (They actually call Galway home, two hours west on the North Atlantic.) They've teamed up with their fellow Irishmen (and CMJ 2012 survivors) in Squarehead to release a split EP due to include "I Hardly Know You," a jouncy, heart-bending power-pop number you can hear for the first time below. -

"'So Cow' LP - Review"

Nine times outta 10, "noise pop" is a misnomer. Guitars sound like crap? No discernible emotional content? Pass the bowl, maan-- that's not music for a pop audience, that's a self-esteem boost for guys who like to hit on tortured girls with Cramps tattoos in record shops. I mean, sure: Plenty of bands, from the Jesus and Mary Chain to the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, really do make noise-drenched pop music. It's just that you can find plenty more bands who make noise-drenched art music, records that reaffirm their buyers' superiority over the unsophisticated rabble (often, without actually being superior). Now, don't get me wrong-- I like a lotta that stuff, too!-- but if you think your average lo-fi/shitgaze scenesters have anything to say to the broader 21st Century Breakdown-buying, "American Idol"-watching public, you've been living in Greenpoint too long. And you should sign me to your label.
"I aim to sum up something so neatly that my friend Muiris will go, 'Ah, nicely said,'" So Cow main man Brian Kelly told the blog Hi-Fi Popcorn last year. "I like the idea of someone listening and going, 'Ah, that's what I thought!" If you've ever been young and unlucky in love, the Irish multi-instrumentalist has a song that will strike exactly that kind of emotional chord. Like Television Personalities or the Clean at their most engaging, Kelly plays rickety guitar-pop that sounds homemade without feeling insular. So Cow compiles the best of Kelly's singles and self-released CDs so far, remastered by underground rock luminary Bob Weston. Sing-along hooks and scruffy charm abound.
First, though, you'll have to tear yourself away from the best few songs. "Shackleton" would be equally perfect for Death Cab fans' mixtapes, Belle and Sebastian fans' weddings, and closing-credit sequences for Chuck Palahniuk film adapations; here Kelly updates the ol' love-songs-about-love-songs trope (cf. the Divine Comedy's "Perfect Lovesong", the Lucksmiths' "Sunlight in a Jar", Elton John's "Your Song") as near-perfectly imperfect organ-and-drum-machine swoon-pop: "One day I'll write the song you require/ Until then, la la la." He turns out to be similarly adept at extended adolescence on the off-kilter "Halcyon Days", at droney bitching about his life's lack of resemblance to Hollywood romance on "Casablanca", and at tender non sequiturs on Pinkerton-style acoustic finale "To-Do List" ("a one, a two, a one to-do list..."). You might not know Korean pop star Moon Geun Young, but if you can't relate to the eponymous So Cow song's red-lining tale of an awkward breakup beneath a smiling billboard, well-- such sweet sorrow, I guess.
Kelly already has put out two full-length So Cow CDs himself, plus an EP and the occasional single, so it's hard to fault him for wanting to overload his proper debut LP. But for all the easy wit and superabundance of ideas bursting from doomed-love punk-popper "Greetings" or wobbly-synth duel "So Cow vs. the Future", So Cow would be a more cohesive listen without its few underwhelming moments-- breakup thrasher "Normalcy", maybe, or breakdown ramble "Exclamation Mark". And I know Kelly recorded a lot of these songs while living in South Korea, but his lyrics are so sharp that the couple of Korean-language tracks just don't put So Cow's best foot-- hoof? (sorry!)-- forward. Then again, the dreamier "Ping Pong Rock", which drops more band names than this review without ever losing sight of a bright melody, shows one way Kelly could get more textural without going all abstract.
Listen, nobody understands better than me the impulse to wanna set yourself apart from people who can't see the greatness of, say, Deerhoof or Kirsty MacColl, both of whom So Cow has covered. You know the old punk single "Whole Wide World" by Wreckless Eric? Whether you first heard it through John Peel or from that one Will Ferrell movie, So Cow might give you the same type of feeling-- and if you hate this music, at least you won't have to put up with being told you "don't get it." That's the art of pop. - Pitchfork




'Out Of Season' - Split LP w/ Squarehead (Inflated Records, November 2012)

'Meaningless Friendly' (Tic Tac Totally Records, April 2010)

'So Cow' (Tic Tac Totally, March 2009)

- These Truly Are End Times (Covert Bear) CD 2007 (LP release due October 2008)
- I'm Siding With My Captors (Covert Bear) CD 2008 (LP release due September 2008)

7" singles:

'GMT EP' (Ride The Snake Records, Boston, February 2012)

'Moon Guen Young' (Almost Ready Records) 7" 2007

'Commuting' (Goung Underground Records) 7" 2008


Best Vacation Ever (Rusted Rail Records) 3" CD 2006



From the desk of So Cow
November 2012

2012 has been a productive year for So Cow. There has been the just-released split LP with Dublin's Squarehead, titled 'Out Of Season', on Inflated Records, and a hugely successful accompanying jaunt to CMJ. There's been the release of the first in a series of 7” singles, the ‘GMT’ EP, released on Boston’s Ride The Snake Records. Add to this the recording of their third LP, due for release in March of 2013, produced by Greg Saunier of Deerhoof.

All this, as well as summer tours of Spain, Scandinavia and the UK. Not content with all that, they've also played all around their home Ireland of Ireland.

The year also sees a change in band dynamics, with the one-man band recording approach of the first two LPs (2009’s So Cow and 2010’s Meaningless Friendly on Chicago’s Tic Tac Totally Records) put to a side, in favour of the relentless intensity and vigour of the three-piece’s recent live shows. Often described up to this point as a three-way marriage of The Television Personalities, Abba and The Clean, it’s clear that the group are taking inspiration from the rawer sounds of The Jesus Lizard and Thee Oh Sees.

Returning after what has probably been too brief a time to be called a hiatus, So Cow will spend 2012 maintaining their status as an incredibly hard-working live band. 2010 saw them play 170 shows, with the likes of The Wedding Present, Deerhoof, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, The Thermals, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Women, Frightened Rabbit, Maximo Park, Dan Deacon and Thee Oh Sees. All this in the midst of three North American tours, including appearances at SXSW, Manhattan’s Seaport Music Fest and Memphis’ venerable Gonerfest VII.

The year also saw them perform at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound festival, the only Irish group to appear on a bill featuring the legendary Pixies and Pavement.
2009 saw the release of the So Cow LP, also on Tic Tac Totally. A compilation of the best recorded moments from Kelly’s self-released CDs, it found favour with Pitchfork, the Washington Post and Maximumrocknroll, as well as positive write-ups in Italian music monthly Rumore and Spain’s Rock Deluxe.

7” singles Moon Guen Young (Almost Ready Records, Hawaii), Commuting (Going Underground Records, Bakersfield) and Ain’t No Fun (Tic Tac Totally, Chicago) soon found themselves out of print and Ebay-worthy.

Contact: / 087 6363825

So Cow are – Brian Kelly, Jonny White, Peter O’Shea