Cows – Cunning Stunts (Amphetamine Reptile) 1992


Hey Ho. Sorry for the break in transmission. I got commissioned to write an online text book/guide thing which has sucked up huge amounts of time leaving most of my musing on albums restricted to the podcast.So let’s start again shall we?


In my high school and university days  I was a bit of a label whore for records coming out on labels such as Blast First, Sub-pop and Touch & Go. In this pre-internet age I had to rely on the record labels themselves to be my own personal musical curators. For the most part they did a pretty awesome job and there were only a few releases from those labels over the years that made me question my collecting masterplan. Like many kids growing up in a regional area, my ability to acquire records was limited to special orders from my sympathetic local record shop (“mate is Killdozer one word of two?”) and an annual Christmas trip to Brisbane where I would paw over the racks in Rockinghorse, Kent and Skinny’s. Those shops are mostly all gone now with Rockinghorse being  one of the last few left in the country. I’ve started frequenting Rockinghorse again this year in a conscious effort to stop buying so many records online and supporting the little guy. Every now and then I browse their webstore and a couple of weeks ago I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. They had, in stock no less, Halo of Flies Music Insect Minds and this, Cows definitive Midwestern hardcore statement of1992. These have been out of print for years and there they were both  on disc and cheap. I headed for an early lunch and bought both within the hour. The big surprise for me was that both records were new. They are two of the first three releases that Am Rep are re-issuing with the help of some mob called MVD Audio Group.

Cows wereone of the classic mid-western hardcore punk bands that spanned the mid-1980’s to mid-1990’s.  Cunning Stunts came out just as grunge was breaking. It’s probably a bit more sedate than Sexy Pee Story their 1993 follow up but there are some absolutely cracking tunes here. The fourth track Mr Cancelled may be the best unknown grunge anthem of the era and has this nice slacker vibe like something wedged between Bitch Magnet and godheadsilo with a cool late-Husker Du musicality (with better drums of course). The rest of the album has similarities with other mid-western bands of the era such as Mule and Killdozer. I love this record. It may be me getting all nostalgic  but I’m keen for the next batch of re-issues. May I suggest Lubricated Goat’s Plays the Devil’s Music, Boss Hog’s Cold Hands and King Snake Roost’s Things That Play Themselves.


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