"The fourth album by the Cowboys (from Bloomington, Indiana) is kinda like a modern Midwestern version of THE WHO SELL-OUT or SOMETHING ELSE BY THE KINKS--a basic R&R band stretching its wings to embrace more varied musical elements and dig into deeper subject matter. The Cowboys grow up! And they grow in number too, with Chris Kramer (Nobunny/Slushy) joining the brilliant Mark McWhirter for a killer guitar team. Vocalist/songwriter Keith Harman alters his whooping nasal-punk a bit, with a more naturalistic approach when it fits the mood. His songwriting skills are mighty. Zackery Worcel (bass) and Jordan Tarantino (drums) provide a solid, relentless groove. There are 16 hooky gems in this new LP. To compare the Cowboys’ songs to Pete Townshend and Ray Davies was no casual thing up front. Check “Doghouse Rag” for primo late-60s Kink-kwality pop. Then there’s the insanely hooky “Some Things Never Change,” with its nod to early 70s Sparks. This song should be a smash hit RIGHT NOW! And dig “Bodie, Don’t Jump” in all its bubblegum glory! The deceptively short “Deuce” with its 70s-style pop exploding into VU-like noise, etc. It’s very cool to see a modern R&R band progress in the true sense of the word--to mature and seek new horizons. I’ve personally seen them when they opened the very first show by the reunited Gizmos in 2014, and then when they played with us again in Chicago 2017, to this new album. It’s an impressive climb. For anybody into garage-rock or power-pop, this has gotta be an instant CLASSIC! But I’m just gonna call it rock’n’roll." --Eddie Flowers, Vulcher Magazine/The Gizmos.
Black vinyl first pressing of 550 copies. Packaged with a black polylined dust sleeve, 11x17 insert, and digital download code.
Our take: Latest full-length from this great band from Indiana. They have a confusing discography, but by my count The Bottom of a Rotten Flower is the band’s sixth (!!!) full-length album in five years, though only the latter three have seen vinyl pressings (their first LP on Lumpy / Drunken Sailor compiled the best tracks from their earlier cassette-only albums). The Cowboys resist the descriptions I usually write, because while I rely on a lot of band comparisons, they don’t seem to be working with their influences in the way most contemporary punk bands do, or if they are, then I’m not familiar with those influences. Instead, the Cowboys strike me as songwriters and players of the type you don’t see too often anymore. The have little pretense about them; they have no “image” and they don’t seem precious about the process of making and releasing records. Instead, they write song after song. Those songs are always good and sometimes they’re great. They also vary widely in style. The Bottom of a Rotten Flower has everything from Billy Joel-esque piano rock (“Now with Feeling”), Real Kids-style 50s-influenced power-pop (“Open Sores”), Smiths-esque rockabilly pop (“Happy Armageddon”), and a whole heap of energetic, punky power pop songs that remind me of 70s punk bands like the Undertones, the Lurkers, and the Boys. I like that there’s so much Cowboys material out there and that the band forces you to come to their music on their terms… it’s a similar approach to bands like the Fall, Guided by Voices, or the Stooges. The Cowboys don’t sound like any of those bands, but they have a similar relationship to their listeners. I’m sure it’s possible to enjoy The Bottom of a Rotten Flower as a simple collection of pop songs. In fact, I have a hunch that’s what the band wants you to do, but the Cowboy’s approach and demeanor are so intriguing and so foreign to our historical moment they’re worth paying attention to.