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Floral Cow: ‘Wasteland Disco’

Late-night bedroom pop with a healthy dose of self-reflective haze

Floral Cow's album score high marks.

J. Hubner

Whatzup Features Writer

Published November 2, 2022

Floral Cow is musical and visual project from former ALT Spotlight artist Dominick Rivers. There are elements of outsider art, fuzzy mixed media projects, and a kind of hazy feel. It’s like recollections of memories and moments that may or may not have been your memories or recollections. Songs recorded on tape that is about one more rewind or fast-forward from snapping in the cassette deck, but that’s the appeal. The fact that the songs are good is a bonus. 

Wasteland Disco has very little to do with disco, so if that would be a deterrent to listening you can put that aside. Over the course of 28 minutes and 12 songs these woozy tunes bring to mind bands like early Beck, of Montreal, Alex Calder, Ariel Pink, and a handful of other artists that make pop music for the left of field listeners. Melodies and acoustic strums are slathered in hiss, distortion, and analog wobble. The mood is late-night bedroom pop with a healthy dose of self-reflective haze. 

Rivers likes to play with different media and affecting them with the appearance of the passing of time, with the vibe of videos seemingly recorded on VHS in 1988, while songs that sound as if they were put to tape in a suburban bedroom at 2 a.m. in the early ’90s. It’s intimate and caught in a sort of lo-fidelity amber for all of time. 

The songs here range from the sweet and sublime “Just a Little Bit” to the wonky and off-kilter “Champion Chariot.” The former locks into Chris Cohen vibes while the latter sounds like Kevin Barnes at his most absurd. There are also touches of Real Estate in the serene “Mass Appeal (Intermission).” “I Live My Broken Dreams” has a driving rhythm with an almost folksy sway, while “Revisited in a Memory” goes full-on rail car sing-along with Dylan-esque vibes in the acoustic guitar and harmonica. 

Floral Cow’s Wasteland Disco is a singer-songwriter project disguised as an audio project from Rivers. It’s actually a really good album with some genuinely great tunes slathered in layers of noise and distortion. If you’re a fan of early Sebadoh, Pavement, 4-track era Beck, Mac Demarco, and of Montreal, you will find much to dig here. I’m interested in seeing where Floral Cow goes next. 

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