Jonesin’ for cool?

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Whitney McGraw and Michael Nau are the duo behind Cotton Jones, a Maryland indie-folk project that marries soul to folk.
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Pick your sonic poison at Denton bars this weekend

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


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