Apr 042023
Kash Mojo

Sparklehorse’s debut, Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot, is one of the iconic records of the ’90s  lo fi, “slacker” indie folk/pop/rock explosion. Basically, a bunch of singer-songwriters made and released what sounded like home-recordings of deliberately mixed quality. The homespun quality was the appeal. Mark Linkous aka Sparklehorse was one of the main figures of the movement. Only in the case of his debut, he was actually backed on many of the tracks by Cracker. “Cow” is the centerpiece of Vivadixie…. Far and away the longest song the record, it is propelled forward by its insistent beat, its numerous guitar solos and its refrain. Unlike some of his music, the only really lo-fi or slacker thing about this song is Linkous’ delivery.

Kash Mojo is the new alias of New Mexico singer-songwriter Evan Woodward, formerly of The Light Workers, for his collaboration with a couple of Austin musicians, Bryan Ray and Bill Stevenson. His take on that Sparklehorse song is his second single.

It’s possible that “Cow” has been waiting for a strong, clear baritone to sing it. There’s not much of reinvention going in this cover until the horns kick in, but there is clarity and confidence. Linkous sings the song rather coyly – as was his want – which contrasts with the loud rock band around him, though it makes the obvious Neil Young comparisons arguably even more obvious. Woodward sings the song simply and directly, making an already catchy song all the catchier. His voice is mixed up front and there’s no escaping it in the swirling guitars.

It’s not a subtle change, but this is a song that had, at least vocally, been a little afraid of its own catchiness. This version isn’t. (Also, the horns are fun.)

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