Dayton, OH indie unit The 1984 Draft are back with their first new tune since early-2021. An alternate take of a song from their forthcoming new album, Best Friends Forever, the stripped down rocker will soon appear on another limited edition lathe-cut 7" split (pre-order now through Poptek Records' Bandcamp or webstore)—this time perfectly paired with an emotive B-side from Nashville artist Todd Farrell Jr. Stream both tracks below, followed by an interview with '84 Draft guitarist/vocalist Joe Anderl for some additional background info:
Apparently "Two Cow Barrage" started out as an ode to the band Two Cow Garage. Talk about how you came to know their work and why it grew to become so important to you.
I first heard about Two Cow Garage from my friend, Jess Faller, in the mid-2000s. She had mentioned to me how she had just heard their album III and how great she thought it was. That sent me into a dive to find their music and listen.
Two Cow is one of the special bands who lyrically and musically walk such great lines. Their songs are personal, powerful, political, and smart all at the same time. They bring such a sense of urgency with their music that just struck me from the beginning. Luckily for me, I have been able to become friends with the band over the last 20 years. They continue to deliver music that still fits the description above. Fun fact about this 7": Todd Farrell Jr. (side B) spent several of the last few years touring with Two Cow Garage.
I'm not yet familiar with Two Cow Garage, but "Two Cow Barrage" is in some ways more straightforward and rockin' than some of the wider influences from which The 1984 Draft can tend to draw. Is that a coincidence, or was there also an aspect of Two Cow Garage's own music that influenced your approach to this composition?
I think there are several reasons this song came out as it did. For me, it was definitely influenced by some of the straightforward rock that Two Cow created. Secondly, this was the final song that I wrote for the new record, and I wanted another banger to finish out the album. The thing is, we recorded the ending two different ways and loved them both, so we kept one version for our upcoming full-length and one for the 7".
The last time we talked, it was surrounding tracks with much heavier subjects. Obviously we're still in a place where such topics matter and need to be addressed, but was it a nice reprieve to find yourself in a headspace where inspiration was sourced from more positive experiences, at least for this single tune?
It was. I wrote this song as a tribute to my friends. I was able to take some of their lyrics to build the choruses around. What I found, however, in doing this was that the story was so much bigger than the band. The song fell in line with my 25-plus-year relationship with independent music and punk rock in general. Two Cow Garage is a band that did it for me, but there were so many others. So, in a way, the song is a thanks to all the bands that have made music that I loved. It just happened to be more focused on Two Cow than the rest.
Todd's track is a solid pairing alongside the overall style of The 1984 Draft. How did you come to be matched up with Todd for the split?
The 1984 Draft has played a lot of shows with Todd's previous band, Benchmarks. They essentially became our buddy band, and Todd and I connected on a musical and personal level. In fact, the week before the world shut down, Todd and The 1984 Draft spent a weekend playing shows together. When the idea for a 7" came up, I knew he was the first person I wanted to ask, because I think he is an amazing songwriter and person. A couple months back, my family made the trip down to Nashville to hang out with his family. I guess it all ties back to the intention of the song. We are one big punk rock family.
Since "Two Cow Barrage" is an early version of a track from your new album, Best Friends Forever, without getting ahead of ourselves, what can you share about how the album is shaping up, plans for its eventual release, etc.?
The album is done. In fact, I am waiting for DHL to drop the test pressings off today. I am really excited to make the announcement on it. We were able to engage some really special guests, had it mastered by an incredible old friend, and were able to establish some additional business partnerships that will allow this record to be heard by a wider audience. It's hard to sit on a record this long, but we want to make sure everything is done right. It will come out in early-2023.