Off the Farm

There’s a proud tradition of outsider guitar-pop, and Irish native Brian Kelly has certainly paid his dues with the bedroom project turned band So Cow. He’ll cover an ace Tall Dwarfs song, then flip to early Go-Betweens (with a slight tweak to the lyrics), classic Soft Boys, and some hit by a Korean pop star. That last bit is no mistake: He founded So Cow while living in South Korea, and is now signed to a label there. He has his own label, too, having released a string of records via Covert Bear before lending himself elsewhere for two 7-inches. As for last year’s self-titled retrospective of his best self-released material, it was mastered by indie-rock icon Bob Weston and issued on Chicago label Tic Tac Totally. The upcoming Meaningless Friendly should focus less on Kelly’s tasteful choice of covers and more on his natural talents as a songwriter. His self-referential early tune “Shackleton” has already lit up laptops globally, despite the dull smear of its lo-fi production values. The single element uniting his work is a bratty guitar strum, which ought to surface often on his current tour as a scrappy trio.

Bare Wires and Dreamdate open.
Wed., March 10, 9 p.m., 2010

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