Cotton Jones might be anchored to the Eastern Seaboard, but the music the band makes takes the best things from the musical American past (hymn-like harmonies and an organ, ’60s-era tambourines) and plants them in the now. Hints of urban electronic sneak into the soundscape of the seven-piece group from Cumberland, Md.
The band’s 2011 EP, Sit Beside Your Vegetables, is an experiment in retro stylings — but the ching-a-ling tambourine and the wobbly organ strains on “Down Beside ’Em” are a reference. The project is fronted by Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw, with Nau’s slack-mouthed lyrics mixing with McGraw’s soft, girlish vocals. There’s a pulse of something in the present in each of the tracks.
Cotton Jones was cut out for the indie folk genre, to be sure. But the folklore-ish lyrics keep the music from being a rehash of the I-want-to-teach-the-world-to-sing naivete that surfaced from the heftier stuff in the late 1960s. Cotton Jones is on about something. To give its music a bit more weight, there’s a trace of soulful doo-wop and even a throwback to Led Zeppelin’s “D’yer Mak’er” in Cotton Jones’ “Egg on a Sea.”
Details: The band stops in Denton on Saturday, sharing the bill with Treelines at Dan’s Silverleaf, 103 Industrial St. The show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $7 in advance, $10 at the door.
Sounds like: the lost, slow-dance prom songs of the Everly Brothers. Or Bosque Brown’s doe-eyed little sister.
For headier fare, get ready for Hailey’s Club on Friday, when Psychedelephant plays.
The Fort Worth band crafts a nifty brew of jazzy, electronic music. Sometimes, the band lets the instruments say it all, which means a super-cool bass line grooves around a nice snare rhythm. Then, as on punny-named tracks like “Giraffter,” a twangy guitar saunters in with just the coy, bluesy attitude it needs to get that mysterious stranger to dance.
Psychedelephant is too interesting to be ambient music, and a touch too mathematic to be pop. It’s the kind of music to loosen up to — prepping the bar for that house party, or on the way to the club. Dub-ish rhythm doesn’t detract from the syncopated guitar riffs, and that little kick of R&B doesn’t make the whole affair self-indulgent. This outfit has a little something for the boyfriend who loves jazz — and his girlfriend who hates it.
Details: Psychedelephant shares Friday’s bill with Eden’s Moon and Cerebral Chauffeurs. Doors open at 9 p.m. Cover is $5 for ages 21 and older, $7 for those younger than 21. Hailey’s is located at 122 W. Mulberry St.
Good for: nights when you’re just cruising around, looking for a little trouble. Or as a soundtrack to dress by. Can’t you just see yourself tucking that pocket square into your best jacket while “Rhinostril” is thumping away?
— Lucinda Breeding