Premiere: Ok Cowgirl Channel Romantic Frustration into Feverish & Spirited New Song “Just Friends”

Ok Cowgirl © Max Brown
Ok Cowgirl © Max Brown
Brooklyn’s Ok Cowgirl dwell in emotional limbo on their feverish and spirited new single “Just Friends,” an exhilarating release of romantic frustration, unresolved tensions, and charismatic, charged indie rock.
Stream: “Just Friends” – Ok Cowgirl




I’m not trying to lose you now, so I guess we could “just be friends”…

Of course, we all know there’s no such thing as “just friends” when feelings are involved. Titles and labels don’t override emotions, and just because you’re one thing by technicality on the outside doesn’t mean you’ve changed on the inside. Just think: How many songs might go unwritten if we could actually control our emotions with the flip of a switch? How many awkward situations would be avoided, and how many relationships, successful and otherwise, might never exist?

Alas, we cannot deny our feelings, but sure: We can play pretend, if need be. Brooklyn’s Ok Cowgirl dwell in sweet emotional limbo on their feverish and spirited new single “Just Friends,” an exhilarating release of romantic frustration, unresolved tensions, and charismatic, charged indie rock.

Just Friends - Ok Cowgirl
Just Friends – Ok Cowgirl
You ever try to be just friends with the devil
You ever try to be just friends with an angel
You ever try to be just friends
with a girl who breaks your heart

Over and over again
You ever try to be just friends with your mother
You ever try to be just friends under cover
You ever try to be just friends
in a place where you belong

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Just Friends,” a song rife with fervor and intent. Ok Cowgirl’s first single of 2022 is also their first release following last December’s debut EP Not My First Rodeo, a truly show-stopping 22-minute affair that helped put the Brooklyn-based rock band on everyone’s radars – including our own. “A dreamy and raw reckoning, Not My First Rodeo is as turbulent as it is stirring: A visceral coming-of-age record dwelling in a space of feverish emotion and dramatic sound,” we wrote in a feature late last year, further praising the five-track EP as “an intimate and vulnerable rush; a cinematic, understated push-and-pull between tension and release, wrapped in a moody, dreamy rock veil.”

“DREAM-ROCK, BABY”: BROOKLYN’S OK COWGIRL PUT FEELINGS FIRST ON STUNNING DEBUT EP ‘NOT MY FIRST RODEO’

:: FEATURE ::



Comprised of singer/songwriter Leah Lavigne, drummer Matt Birkenholz, guitarist Jake Sabinsky, and bassist John Miller, Ok Cowgirl formed in the summer of 2018 and have been honing their subtly dramatic, sonically rich, and emotionally raw craft ever since. The band’s music is loud, unapologetic, and full of intent, and nowhere is that better felt than on “Just Friends,” a song that says it all at the start: “You ever try to be just friends with the devil? You ever try to be just friends with an angel?” Lavigne sings at the top in a (non?) lover’s lament, her voice at aching and assertive. “You ever try to be just friends with a girl who breaks your heart? Over and over again?

From the band’s perspective, the song’s lyrics “echo the frustrating and contradictory feelings that keep one invested in a relationship where their wants and needs aren’t met.” Yet this is no heartbreak hotel drowning in sorrows; Ok Cowgirl’s dazzling, trademark dreamy instrumental work lends “Just Friends” an undeniably triumphant tone. The song is empowering and self-aware, with Lavigne going so far as to acknowledge her own refusal to give up on a romance’s future potential: “Tell me when you’re over her, that maybe we can try again,” she roars candidly. “I’m not trying to wait around, but I’m not sure what else you would call this. Guess you could call this being just friends.” Her words are as catchy as they are cathartic, hitting deep down inside for anyone who’s ever unwittingly – and involuntarily – found themselves in the friend zone.

I’m not trying to lose you now
So I guess we could “just be friends”
Tell me when you’re over her
That maybe we can try again
I’m not trying to wait around
But I’m not sure what else you would call this
Guess you could call this being just friends
Guess you could call this just friends, just friends
Ok Cowgirl © Max Brown
Ok Cowgirl © Max Brown



“We approached ‘Just Friends’ in our usual fashion: Leah brought a song to rehearsal and the rest of us started exploring filling in the spaces,” the band’s Jake Sabinsky tells Atwood Magazine. “These days our arrangements come together pretty quickly since we’re really familiar with each other’s playing styles and our shared vision for the band’s sound, but this song came together almost immediately. Leah had played through the song once and started writing out the song structure and chords on a white board. We started noodling around while we waited and Leah screamed, ‘That’s it! That’s how it’s supposed to sound! Do it again!‘ and reached over for her guitar.”

“We started playing through the song following her breath cues for the structure and reading and anticipating the chords by watching her hands. I don’t think she ever even finished writing out the song because it had already come together after playing it through a time or two. It was really exciting! The song eventually evolved in small ways as we played it live this past year, and even a bit more when we went into the studio where we recorded and produced the track ourselves. We’ve loved this song every step of the way but are especially proud to share this version with everyone.”

You ever try to be just friends with the devil
You ever try to be just friends with an angel
You ever try to be just friends with the one you really love
I try to give you space
I end up in the chase
I tried to love you better than anyone else
Ok Cowgirl © Rita Iovine
Ok Cowgirl © Rita Iovine



Ok Cowgirl © Rita Iovine
Ok Cowgirl © Rita Iovine

“Just Friends” sees Ok Cowgirl riding high while dwelling in their depths: Ostensibly, doing what they’ve done best these past couple of years.

It’s a song born of passion and intent, with a bit of rage, angst, unapologetic desire, and attitude baked in for good measure. A riotous, relatable indie rock singalong through and through, “Just Friends” is a resounding reminder that how we feel toward one another and what we are to one another don’t always line up – and while that may complicate things, it’s better to own our emotions than to pretend there’s nothing there. Call yourselves “just friends” if you need to, but we know what’s really going on.

Ok Cowgirl plan to celebrate their new song’s release this Friday, August 26th at Union Pool with special guests Dolly Spartans and Youbet (tickets here). For now, stream “Just Friends” exclusively on Atwood Magazine and join one of Brooklyn’s best bands on a rip-roaring adventure through friendship and the heart.

I’m not trying to lose you now
So I guess we could just be friends
Tell me when you’re over her
That maybe we can try again
I’m not trying to wait around
But I’m not sure what else you would call this
Guess you could call this being just friends
Guess you could call this just friends just friends

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Stream: “Just Friends” – Ok Cowgirl



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Just Friends - Ok Cowgirl

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📸 © Max Brown

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