Two Cow Garage

Thursday, July 17; Off Broadway (The band also performs on Friday, July 18, at Frederick's Music Lounge)

The three guys in Two Cow Garage have a problem: They sound a lot like Anodyne-era Uncle Tupelo, which means that any music critic who lived through the '90s-roots-music scare should scoff them straight off the Miles of Music charts. But said critics have their own problems (there's not nearly enough space to tackle all of those). These Columbus, Ohio, kids compose bright and bouncy tunes, carry their musical baggage -- Neil Young and the Replacements -- without a shred of pretension or self-consciousness, and they rock like a threat. As ex-teenagers who grew up in corn-and-cow country listening to Uncle Tupelo and the Jayhawks the same way those bands grew up listening to Black Flag and Doug Sahm, they've embraced their twang-rock fate. Hold it against them if you like but only at peril of missing the point.

Please Turn the Gas Back On, Two Car Garage's one and only record, slams together banjo, mandolin, pedal steel and all the overdrive of all the pawn-shop Telecasters in town. TCG has lots of room to grow, especially lyrically (more "I'll be damned if I let you get the best of me" and less "lost in your eyes...heart on my sleeve"), but there's still plenty of time for that. The threesome's slacking stance -- an angry, despairing, stoned and furious fuck-it-all -- resonates youthful excitement and discovery, the kind that belongs to rock & roll and rock & roll alone. Pick up your guitar, write and wail what you can't possibly know about what you know and let electricity take care of the rest.

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