COTTON JONES with FRONTIER RUCKUS at the Pike Room

THURSDAY JULY 9, 2009
doors at 8PM
tickets: $8 (buy tickets)

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COTTON JONES: Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw have hearts huge, questioning hearts full of music that mixes elements of soul, rock and gospel into a gauzy cocoon of smalltownsound.

It began as the Basket Ride, a few years ago, when the idea began to come to a head. Then, without intent, Cotton Jones became the core. A new flexibility comes from a new name. These days Nau is making music very differently than he did in Page France. The original paranoia that haunted him has dropped off. 'This feels like a new leaf to me. I've learned to let the music happen, rather than trying to invent something,' says Nau, 'I'm still sifting through someimaginary thesis, but it makes more sense now.'

The result of his personal revelation is Paranoid Cocoon: the debut fulllength for Suicide Squeeze. It's an album full of quiet, wooden psychedelia that reflects the duos' casual pursuit of comfort and freedom under the mountains of Cumberland, Maryland, where creeks zigzag in the lonesome dark of the forest, and a red moon hangs overhead. These are songs of leaving, of dreams both good and bad, sung from surroundings they've known their whole lives. In 'By Morning Light,' Nau and McGraw's voices draw each other out of a contemplative melancholy and into a state of amazed gratification; the music here shimmers, always the snaredrum cracks against the tug of the guitar reaching the sublime crush of Yo La Tengo's 'And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out.' It's simple, understated perfection: they soundtimeless from singing together forever.

Shake me up, shake me up, shake me up, shake me up... I've gotta get to something new... Gotta move, gotta move, gotta move... gotta get on outta here... According to Nau, 'There's no intentional theme behind these songs. Cocoon didn't span a lengthy duration of time, so headspace and moods tended to remain threadlike throughout. I believe there's a familiar mood from start to finish...the lyrics work like visuals of such moods.'

 

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