How NOT to write about music – 65. The Vanilla Milkshakes

punching cows

We all need some punk rock in our lives.

Denver band The Vanilla Milkshakes ask “why do you even want me as a friend” and quite frankly that is a ridiculous question because they are simply the greatest punk rock band in this world this side of Amyl and the Sniffers (Australia) and Sugar & Tiger (France) and a handful of others whose names I really cannot be bothered to try and remember. Blam! I play their new 11-song 34-minute album Punching Cows once, and it makes me so happy, grabbing at the stars. Nasally. I play their new album twice and blam! I am left smiling all over my face.

Five reference points

  • Jack Endino recording Bleach (Kurt’s old amp was used for the entirety of Punching Cows; as was Jack himself)
  • Ramones’ first three albums channeling the Ronettes and Beach Boys
  • Sesame Street
  • The K tattoo on Kurt Cobain’s arm
  • One of those killer gay ramalama punk bands from the early 2000s

And…! Blam. Still wreathed in smiles. Still happy. Still thinking that maybe the world is a decent and fun place after all. Still up for it. “It’s OK to exclude me,” they sing. “All I’ll do is complain.” You’d be foolish to, however. The Vanilla Milkshakes grasp everything that makes (male) punk rock so invigorating – a little naivety here, a little amateurism there, some infectious energy right over there – and, blam! Still smiling, still happy.


“We just said suck it and went to Seattle and emptied our savings into making this all happen. Also, if you can find the cookie crumb trail, you too can get Jack Endino to mix or master your work. He’s cheaper than you’d think. :-)”

Damn, this is fun. ‘Green And Sober’ is my favourite, all those smart interlinking harmonies and chugging guitars. I’d sing it for you but why bother with that when you could hear the guys themselves sing it? Go check the Bandcamp and buy the record.

Such gushing fandom doesn’t usually work, incidentally – it usually takes you to a grey OK wanna-love-this-but-don’t place you’d rather not visit. For some reason, and I sure as fuck don’t know why, it totally works with Punching Cows.

Jack Endino is amazing! It’s coming out digitally April 1st! It’s gonna get lots of press too.
We all played on super expensive equipment too! (One guitar was $3,000 and the other was $80).
I recorded all the guitars on the amp Kurt Used on Bleach and most of Incesticide!!! AND with Calvin Johnson’s distortion pedal! 😃
We hope you like it.

I got home. I was tired, grumpy, just wanted to sleep. I played The Vanilla Milkshakes’ album instead. It made me very happy. Thank you.