Cows – Taint Pluribus, Taint Unum

Cows – Taint Pluribus, Taint Unum (Treehouse) 1987. In 1987, Soul Asylum had signed to A&M and began thier slow trek towards Clinton’s inauguration. Husker Du released thier swansong Warehouse Songs and Stories and were effectively grinding to a halt due to drugs and personality issues. The Replacements had already signed to Sire, fired Bob Stinson and released Pleased To Meet Me.

People talk a lot about the waves of Minneapolis punk and that the bands above constituted a second and third wave. In 1986, Halo of Flies released thier first 7 inch. In 1987, The Cows released Taint Pluribus, Taint Unum and in 1988, the first Dope Guns and Fucking was released. The next wave was starting to appear in Minneapolis and it would be based around what would later be called the “AmRep” sound.

I was posting Treehouse Scumbait #2 when I realized that Taint Pluribus, Taint Unum is painfully out of print. Released in 1987, the Cows first work is a definite look towards the future. It is a scuzzy, spazzed out, drug-addled masterpiece (with trumpets!). From the proto-hardcore of “Mother (I Love That Bitch)” to the white noise of “Cow Jazz” and into the redneck stomp of “Car Chase”, this was just what any self-respecting midwestern weirdo needed in 1987.

The Cows, along with The U-Men were my favorite AmRep bands. They kept the freak-flag flying into the 1990′s better than anybody.

Track Listing:

Cow Jazz/Car Chase
On Plasma Pond
Carnival Ride
The Pictoral
Summertime Bone
Mother (I Love That Bitch)
Weird Kitchen

This entry was posted in Art-Punk, Midwest, Minneapolis, Punk Rock, indie, post-punk. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Cows – Taint Pluribus, Taint Unum

  1. highwatereverywhere says:

    Peter Davis; face is like a festering postule of pus waiting to explode. The most despised man to ever come out of the Minneapolis rock scene, an asshole of legendary proportions.

    The Cows record is great.

  2. Peter Davis says:

    Look, Mark’s no beauty queen and we all know how the saying goes about folks who live in glass houses…. Not only is he prone to grand overstatement and is a known pathological liar he’s also a spineless pussy who I can assure wouldn’t dare talk this kind of smack to my face (not empty handed anyway), but on the internet he’s a brave, brave man….

    No, coming from a guy who aftere the drug bust he was party to ratted out his closest friends years ago so he could go to rehab while his cohorts got to do real prison time tells you about all you need to know about this man’s character of which there is none. Then there’s the non-fiction story fucked over the previous owner to obtain possession of the building for himself. This the only man on the planet at the time who would even give Mark a job after hist “troubles.”.

    Yeah, buddy, I may be an asshole but at least mine doesn’t bleed.

  3. Peter Davis says:

    To clarify my early morning typos, building referred to is the one which the record store sits. The mighty Treehouse Records. What a dump.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think the link isn’t working allright. It gives an error…

  5. Joe Stumble says:

    All fixed. Thanks!

  6. Chuck Bury says:

    These guys are great. It’s a shame that their earlier stuff is so hard to come by. I caught them way late in there career like in 96 or 97. They were fuckin’ great. One of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Shannon Selberg was wearing these hologram glasses that had bugged out eyes on them and after every song he’d say “We’re the Cows!” Their bass player has a unique playing style too. VERY intense live show. Everyone probably knows this but Shannon later went on to be in a band called “The Heroine Sheiks” that stills plays today (check ‘em out at Their 1st 45 is one of AmRep’s last releases. It’s pretty good but my favorite thing by them is a mini CD Called “Best Enemies”. Their first EP has one of the greatest titles I’ve ever heard, too, (probably because I’m a huge Celine fan)called “Rape on the Installment Plan”. Shannon also did the side project “Pogo The Clown” with Tom Hazelmeyer back in AmReps Hey Day. Thanks for posting this. THE COWS RULE!!!

  7. cheeky says:

    Huge COWS fans here. Even got to play a show with them before they broke up. I have never been able to find this Holy Grail before – I was so bummed when Old Gold didn’t have it, and when I asked the band about it being re-issued, they just laughed. Anyways, thanks a ton!

  8. Peter Davis says:

    Actually criminal this never got released on the CD format (so thanks heaps for ripping it) but that largely can be chalked up to a variety of reasons. For a real and factual accounting you’d have to solicit the willful input of the band members themselves, but chief among the problems would largely begin and end with the not so cool cat who owned the label. Can’t even bear to say his name aloud, let alone spell it as in doing so is giving the man (barely worthy of being cited as one) more due then he’s deserving and who should eternally remain nameless and devoid of any credit. From what I understand after all these years he’s still sporting a swollen, two-inch diamond cutter for my ass and that’s as it should be. Put the fear of God into him once and for someone as special as him I’d do it all over again if our paths were ever to cross… yeah, my love is real and I fully realize rather juvenile of me to state out loud, but so be it. It is what it is.

    Anyway, I think Brian Paulson did an amazing job with the band recording this record and listening to it again am pleased to hear it still holds back and brings back a lot of good memories, not least of which is what a devestatingly, pound-for-pound, top-drawer live act they were and that it was an honor to work with them for many years, aiding and abetting their mission to terrorize much of North America with their sonic and visual chicanery.

    Lots of people didn’t get it but those who did knew what it was that was so special about em. Always wanted to match them up with The Jesus Lizard live and see how the chips would have fallen (sadly never happened). No dis to Yow & Co but I still maintain and believe now as I did then, the chips would have been shuffled over to the Cow’s winning side of the felt-topped table.

  9. Joe Stumble says:

    OH MAN! Peter, don’t read 2 posts down man!

    Well being that Peter is the author of a zine I have read religiously for most of my life, I’m gonna opt to stay outta this one!

    Instead, I am gonna back Peter up on the fact that yes indeedy The Cows blew Jesus Lizard away onstage. Saw em both. No comparison. Of course, I liked The Cows more to begin with.

  10. Fred says:

    This is fucking great, I was a mad fan of the Cows… so I stole your post for my own blog :)

    Every young people should discover this today, the early 90′s were so exciting !

  11. Joe Stumble says:

    Merci Fred!

    I am glad you like The Cows. Thanks for linking to me on your site.


  12. Charles says:

    saw these crazy fuckers in Boston ca. 1992 or so… Amazing show… Thanks for the post!!!

  13. Simon V says:

    Thanks so much for posting this album, now I am complete!

  14. swampchode says:

    Wow! I was just searching for this as I was posting a few other albums by the Cows on my blog. This band is AWESOME. I’ll throw you a few Cow goodies I have, and throw a link up like that other guy did. Thanks again for posting this!

    - swampchode

  15. MNPunk says:

    Linked up over at

  16. thefuzzymode says:

    Peter Davis if you are reading this please get a hold of me!!!!
    It’s John Napier from Ethyl Meatplow and I would love to get in touch with you.
    Thanks man’zzzzzz. Looking forward to getting back in touch after all these years!

Leave a Reply