I had just graduated from college and I was going to start graduate school come the fall, but not without a great deal of trepidation. My college friends and I were all going our own separate ways. A girl that I was interested in was going to be pursuing further education overseas, such that I probably wouldn’t be seeing her again. I was too timid to say anything. There were a few months of summer left before I was moving to Pittsburgh for graduate school, and I was occupying my time working at a tree farm, pruning and watering fields of pine trees for 9 hours a day. It was in that state of mind that I first heard the song “Brand New July” by Two Cow Garage (on the 1st day of July, if you believe it).
“And I’ll never forget the sweet summer sweat and the feel of a brand new July. To hell with regrets and words never said. I’m leaving them there to die.”
The song, and those lines in particular, struck a chord with me during that confused time in my life, as I sweated outside in the hot sun at the tree farm each day. “Brand New July,” and the whole album it was from (their sophomore release, The Wall Against Our Back), really helped give me confidence to make my way through that uncertain time of my life. Vocalist/guitarist Micah Schnabel was right, to hell with regrets. There was no sense it getting caught up in my own drama and bringing myself down.
“Brand New July” was not my first exposure to Two Cow Garage. I had been listening to the Columbus, Ohio-based rock band during my last 2 years or so of college, rocking to their aptly titled 3rd album, Three, and the subsequent Speaking in Cursive. I loved the lyrical depth of their songs, all of which are rife with authenticity. Their songs speak of the trials and tribulations of life, all rooted in struggles each of the band members actually faced. And since they are the product of real hardships, not unlike the ones we all have been through, it is not hard to become invested in the songs. Even if the situations are different from what you have been through, when you hear the pain and frustration in Micah’s or Shane’s voice you know it is genuine (Shane Sweeney is their bassist, and 2nd songwriter). At the time, I was pretty convinced that there was not a better old fashioned rock and roll band playing in America, and having seen them play live numerous times since, I can safely confirm that is the case. On stage they tear into each song with reckless abandon, all tied together with the thunderous drum performance of David Murphy (giving any heavy metal drummer a run for their money).
This has been a long winded approach to say that the world needs more music from Two Cow Garage, and now we all have a chance to help the band release their next record. It has been awhile since Two Cow Garage’s last proper studio album, 2010’s Sweet Saint Me (though both Micah and Shane released excellent solo albums in 2011). Two Cow Garage has just finished recording their next album, The Death of the Self Preservation Society, and are ready to master the album and press it to cd. However, doing that costs a lot of money, and unfortunately they do not have the support of a record label to help with those expenses. How it has come to pass that no record label is willing to sign them, I don’t know, particularly after releasing 5 stellar albums and touring relentlessly. They have set up an Indiegogo campaign to help raise money to release the album, which can be found here.
At the time of writing this, they have already surpassed their $12,000 goal, but any additional money will be used to help reissue their old albums (most of which have been out of print for awhile). That way, great records like The Wall Against Our Back will be available for purchase again, where hopefully they can mean as much to others as they have to me (the band recently repressed the album to vinyl, and should still have some copies available. So, if you have a record player, you really should consider buying it).