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Irish band So Cow announces US tour, preps second LP

By February 5, 2010No Comments

MP3: “Halcyon Days”

STREAM: Covers of Tall Dwarfs, Soft Boys, Go-Betweens, Shonen Knife

So Cow

So Cow came into being in late 2006 in Seoul, South Korea. Up to that point, So Cow was plain Brian Kelly, a much-too-young tourism college lecturer and occasional Open Mic participant from Tuam, Ireland. This one-man musical project has now becoming something much bigger than he could/should have hoped for or expected. 2010 sees him release his second LP Meaningless Friendly on Chicago’s Tic Tac Totally Records, as well as extensive touring throughout North America and the European Union, with trips further afield in the offing. Often described as a marriage between any number of groups – expect to see Television Personalities, The Clean, The Nerves, Abba and Swell Maps end up in these pairings – So Cow has also forged a sound that exhibits ambitions and a vision well beyond the dank sheds and freezing bedrooms he tends to record in.

The first 18 months of So Cow saw Kelly operate in any number of often-chaotic live outfits or experiences, entertaining and befuddling audiences in his home of Ireland and his adopted home of South Korea. Rousing choral moments, guitar insanity and occasionally upsetting self-injury were very much par for the course. A series of albums were self-released on Kelly’s own Covert Bear Records, leading to a small army of excitable fans and a great deal of blog-love. The line-up solidified into a power trio, taking in shows with Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Dan Deacon, Deerhoof, Maximo Park and Frightened Rabbit amongst others. 7″ singles Moon Guen Young (Almost Ready Records, Hawaii) and Commuting (Going Underground Records, Bakersfield) soon found themselves out of print and Ebay-worthy.

2009 saw the release of the So Cow LP, the first release with 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 Italy’s premier music monthly Rumore. The year continued in such fashion, with appearances at the Fence Homegame festival in Fife, Scotland, an exhaustive tour of the US – sharing bills with Love Is All, Girls and Tyvek – and extremely well-received performances at the Primavera Club festival in Madrid and Barcelona. The LP also found a home at South Korea’s Pastel Records, leading to a still-bizarre appearance in Vogue Girl Korea magazine, a first and presumably last for a member of the underground pop community.

The months ahead see not only the Meaningless Friendly LP and accompanying tour, but an appearance on Under the Covers Vol. 2: A Tribute to Paul Collins, Peter Case, and Jack Lee on I Hate Rock N Roll/ Volar Records and an appearance at the Sonic City Festival in Belgium, at the invitation of Deerhoof in April.

LPs – So Cow (2009), Meaningless Friendly (2010, forthcoming) – both on Tic Tac Totally Records, Chicago

7″ – Moon Guen Young (2007, Almost Ready), Commuting (2008, Going Underground)

What the press is saying about So Cow:

“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.” (Pitchfork)

“Kelly was born too late. Going by the musical handle So Cow, he has the record-it-today, release-it-on-a-cheap-cassette-tomorrow aesthetic of 1983 running through his veins. Kelly is from Tuam, Ireland, and has a mess of songs that recall the spindly, propulsive electric-guitar pop of the Television Personalities, Wreckless Eric and Billy Bragg (if Bragg wasn’t all serious).” (Washington Post)

“Classic herky-jerky DIY punk in the vein of XTC, Wire, all the greats.” (Maximumrocknroll)

“deals in delicious vocal harmonies, clever percussion ideas, sweet stereo tricks and scorching sounds that skim the skyline of great modern guitar music.” (Irish Times)

“the sort of natural, unaffected pop record that Irish acts don’t make often enough” (Hot Press)

“Brian Kelly, another man out of Tuam, sings under the moniker of So Cow. He turns out songs that bristle with a charming, jittery angst – concise, yet twee at times. Not the check-out-my-cutesy-Belle & Sebastian-plush-dolls twee, but more of the check-out-my-Television Personalities-vinyl-and-the-cigarette-burn-in-my-cardigan ilk.” (Tripwire)

“For those of you who aren’t familiar with his music, it’s hard to describe. It jumps around. Nerdish guitar rock? Guitarish nerd indie? It switches from song to song…Something we can all relate to, I think.” (Analogue Magazine)

“This new record, only on vinyl in a truly lovely sleeve, compiles some of So Cow’s best moments from all his releases. It pushes most of my buttons, owing more than a little to the Pastels, Flying Nun, Calvin Johnson, Jeffrey Lewis… but he’s clearly got his own point of view. Highly recommended.” (Artrocker)

“If you haven’t heard last year’s self-titled release on Tic Tac Totally, you should definitely seek it out. It’s a real treat.” (Brooklyn Vegan)

“This is truly grade-A stuff and not to be missed.” (Finest Kiss)

“This was the first year I went to the Fence Homegame in Anstruther, Fife…I watched so many wonderful bands: Meursault, the Phantom Band, So Cow…” (Scott Hutchison, Frightened Rabbit, Pitchfork Guest List)

“Flaming Lips…Radiohead…So Cow…Rolling Stones’ Shine A Light -The IMAX Experience” (Greg Saunier, Deerhoof, Pitchfork – Unforgettable Concerts Of The Decade, Excerpt)


Feb 11 Asbury Lanes Asbury Park, New Jersey
Feb 12 Kung Fu Necktie Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Feb 13 Monster Island Basement Brooklyn, New York %
Feb 14 Cake Shop New York, New York +
Feb 17 O’Brien’s Boston, Massachusetts
Feb 19 AS220 Providence, Rhode Island
Feb 20 Casa Del Popolo Montreal, Quebec
Feb 21 Rancho Relaxo Toronto, Ontario
Feb 22 The Casbah Lounge W Hamilton, Ontario
Feb 23 The Bug Jar Rochester, New York
Feb 24 Beachland Ballroom Cleveland, Ohio
Feb 25 Cafe Bourbon Street Columbus, Ohio
Feb 26 Lager House Detroit, Michigan
Feb 28 Eagle’s Nest Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Mar 01 7th St. Entry Minneapolis, Minnesota
Mar 03 Badlander Missoula, Montana
Mar 04 Empyrean Spokane, Washington
Mar 05 East End Portland, Oregon
Mar 06 Comet Tavern Seattle, Washington
Mar 08 Mama Buzz Cafe Oakland, California
Mar 09 The Crepe Place Santa Cruz, California
Mar 10 The Hemlock Tavern San Francisco, California
Mar 11 The Smell Los Angeles, California
Mar 12 Bar Pink Elephant San Diego, California
Mar 13 Trunk Space Phoenix, Arizona *
Mar 14 El Paso Block Party El Paso, Texas
Mar 16 The Mohawk Austin, Texas
Mar 17 – Mar 20 SXSW Austin, Texas
Mar 22 The Conservatory Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Mar 23 Record Bar Kansas City, Missouri
Mar 25 Hi-Tone Cafe Memphis, Tennessee
Mar 26 The Belafonte Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Mar 27 529 Atlanta, Georgia
Mar 30 Snug Harbor Charlotte, North Carolina
Mar 31 2702 Lawndale Durham, North Carolina
Apr 01 Black Cat Washington DC #
Apr 02 Ruintown Baltimore, Maryland
Apr 03 Terrace Club Princeton, New Jersey

% = w/ Blank Dogs, Frankie Rose and the Outs, Sisters
+ = w/ Preacher and the Knife, White Blue Yellow and Clouds, Babies
* = w/ Nobunny
# = w/ Smith Westerns


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