IBnA Thursday: The Cowbells “More”

***This is the third in a series of  two, wherein I review bands that don’t exist.

Under pressure, almost any musician will admit to having dictatorial ambitions.

A prime example is John Tesh, who in a heated 1997 interview with Geraldo Rivera acknowledged he’d been building an alternate society on Alexander Island, just off the tip of Antarctica. He’d gone so far as to import a large population of Maltese dogs, taught them Moon Phase Farming, and indoctrinated them to believe they were destined to rule the world when the nuclear holocaust occurred. It went unstated in that interview but was implied that he would be their leader, given that nomenclature in this society would refer to the dogs as “Teshians.” When queried the U.S. Department of State would not comment but did confirm that “Maltese are a lovely breed of dogs.”

The Cowbells revealed similar ambitions in their debut release three years ago on Putin Is Really Just Louie Prima In Disguise Records. “Skim Milk is Good Enough For Us and Better Be For You, Too” was a masterpiece of pop ambition, hailed by Rolling Stone as “one of the best records released on April 11, 2010, ever” and called “astonishingly pointless” by Verve.

After touring on the album for a year and a half, the Cowbells retracted into obscurity, and rumors of a breakup were heard from industry insiders and amongst their fan base. It was even rumored they would stay together, but replace their entire percussion section with one kick drum and a triangle.

Holed up in a farmhouse in Northern Florida, the band had out their interpersonal conflicts once and for all. Bassist Nikki Almagorn and lead singer Leghorn Froghorn Leghorn allegedly got into an intensely emotional game of checkers, culminating in a Leghorn weeping & falling apart after Almagorn moved into his back row with three black pieces and yelled emphatically “KING ME KING ME KING ME.”

Whatever the implications of that epic game of checkers, the band came out with a fantastic record, the enthusiastically named “More”

The album finds them revisiting the peak of their musical career back in 2010, with tracks like “Jammy Jammy Jammy, I want my Jammys” and “South of October, North of Your Bicycle” harkening back to the green bean-stringy cheese casserole styling of their first record. It’s a solid record and well worth listening to the entire thing.

Typical of their pioneering spirit, the album is only available by analog download, at Cursky Farm, 11471 S. Route 43 in Vermont, just below the county seat of Peking. Bring a small shovel and a brush to wipe off the record once you’ve dug it up.


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