Two Cow Garage's new album Sweet Saint Me hits digital outlets and cooler music stores October 26th (I'll remind you!!) and, to use a sports cliche, it's a beast. 2CG is a loud, sweaty, snarling alt-country outfit who blend punk, country, pop and bar rock in with some of the catchiest melodies and smartest lyrics you'll ever hear out a band of this ilk. With Sweet Saint Me, the boys play us (thankfully) more of the same, though brought into greater clarity with more songwriting prowess than they've exhibited on records past. The hooks are sharper, the themes more focused and there just seems to be a greater heft to the work this time around.
There's not an insignificant track to be found, so I'll just point out my early favorites (which will likely change because Sweet Saint Me is a big-time grower). The first single, however, is far from a grower. Lydia (official video here) grabs you immediately with its its insanely memorable chorus and its knife edge lyrics about an intergenerational romance:
"Lydia, you're much too young
to have your teeth on the tip of my tongue
If just your lips were a little bit older"
The very next song, Jackson, Don't You Worry, is a loving note to a bandmate's son about the difficulties of being a dad whose occupation keeps him on the road 200+ days a year. It's reassuring but heartbreaking and completely real. I dare you not to be moved.
My Great Gatsby is a treatise on the state of our culture and music in particular. Touching on great works of song and literature, it's an unflinching look at the demise of art in a day of greed.
"DJs are making records, could you please just be ashamed
of your raping and your pillaging of this thing we love?"
I'm not sure if (main lead singer) Micah here boldly proclaims this album "my Great Gatsby" but I won't say he'd necessarily be wrong.
Sweet Saint Me is a special album, long on emotion and absent of pretense; it sounds like they buzzed on inspiration and burned from labor to show us who they are. If Two Cow Garage doesn't break as big as an indie-rock/alt-country band can possibly break with this kickass album, it won't be for lack of giving us all they've got.
RIYL: Bruce Springsteen, The Replacements, Lucero, Drive-by Truckers, The Gaslight Anthem, The Hold Steady, Uncle Tupelo, Drag the River, Javi Garcia.
Free download of opening song "Sally I've Been Shot" here.