Indiana punks the Cowboys boil rock ’n’ roll down to its essence | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Indiana punks the Cowboys boil rock ’n’ roll down to its essence


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Rock ’n’ roll is often most effective when stripped down to its essentials, and that’s what makes the Cowboys so brilliant. On last year’s self-titled debut LP, this four-piece from Bloomington, Indiana, lay out 14 unrelenting, ragged tracks that tip their hats to the Gun Club, the Cramps, and the Dead Boys. The Cowboys play simple, ramped-up, three-chord punk rock—about as far from reinventing the wheel as you can get. But while their formula has been used millions of times before, what makes these guys special is how they deliver it: they rip through their songs at top volume with a sloppy sneer, leaving all their fuck-ups and flubs on tape. The Cowboys never give you a second to take a breather—no guitar solos, no fade-outs, no frills. Yet somehow they still slip the occasional hooky, power-poppy melody into their blurry fury—even though it sounds like it’s probably by accident. Prior to tonight’s show, they’ll visit Bric-a-Brac Records (3156 W. Diversey) for an in-store performance at 6 PM.  v

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