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Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v9n42 (10/21/2010) » Section: Left of the Dial

Two Cow Garage - Sweet Saint Me

It was about eight years ago that I first heard about a young band from Columbus, Ohio, called Two Cow Garage. I requested they send a copy of their brand new debut album, Please Turn the Gas Back On, and it wasn’t long before I was endlessly spinning that austere disc of raw, raucous, country-infused rock. Not long later, Two Cow Garage played to a handful of people in the Queen City on a snowy Saturday night in February.

David Bowie - Station to Station, Remastered Special Edition

As the saying goes, from dark times come great art. David Bowie’s mid-1970s were pretty grim. Still reeling from his separation from wife Angela, crippled by cocaine dependence, haunted by an unhealthy obsession with the occult, and bent on continually destroying and reconstructing his musical persona, the man who had redefined the concept of rock stardom would again challenge the label and unleash a masterpiece. Station to Station is the apex of Bowie’s Thin White Duke invention: a coolly wide-eyed character crooning his own creation of plastic soul and fractured funk in front of a band of ace musicians willing to let the artist lead them to new places. Thirty-five years on, the album’s status is cemented as another classic in the string of the changeling’s continued remanufacture of self. Station to Station never gets the due accorded to groundbreaking early records like The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and Hunky Dory, or the “Berlin Trilogy” of albums that followed it: Low, “Heroes,” and Lodger with Brian Eno. However, it arguably represents Bowie at his most willfully experimental and boundary pushing. Station to Station exhibits a cohesive and tempered sound, but at the core represent a textural collage of the guitarists Carlos Alomar and Earl Slick’s stylistic dare, Bowie’s taste for krautrock rhythms, and the crafty melding of pianos and synths throughout. The six tracks—from the epic title track to the otherworldly “Word on a Wing,” to the funky and the abstract pop groove “TVC15” and the eerily majestic cover “Wild Is the Wind”—represent what could be the finest, most realized two sides Bowie ever recorded. Station to Station plays like the summation of so much that came before it and a totem of where the artist would head.

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