Cotton Jones are pure wish fulfillment -- no matter your dreams. Psych-tinged swirls of indie, folk, mystery and tradition color the sounds of this Maryland band, fronted by husband-wife duo Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw. They’re flowy and ethereal yet grounded and wise, and on Sunday, Oct. 25, the quartet root themselves at Soda Bar in San Diego.
The band hasn’t put out any new material in a few years -- and no full-length since 2011 -- but it’s just as well, because their catalog is deep and varied enough to keep you busy from now to the show. “Paranoid Cocoon,” their acclaimed 2009 release, is a beautiful record to start with. It’s a bright light welcome against the dark, like a breakfast of sunny-side up eggs on a stormy day or the perfect bicycle ride that makes you sweat just enough to glow.
Cotton Jones has the magical capacity to write ethereal, blossoming tunes that stick to you like music only much fatter and heavier can. Nau and McGraw are practiced, having grown more concise and sparse over different iterations of bands, beginning with the more folk-centered Page France in 2004 before becoming Cotton Jones Basket Ride and releasing their fantastic self-titled debut EP in 2007 and subsequent LP, “The River Strumming.” At its worst, the record is stunning; its best, possessive -- inhabiting you completely without waiting for an invitation to do so. [Listen to the track “I Was Stoned by the Choir.”]
Added bonus: The fantastic Quiet Life (who we interviewed in July) open. So show up early and drink a beer with me and enjoy the Quiet Life before slipping into some Cotton Jones on Sunday.
Hannah Lott-Schwartz, a San Diego native, moved back to the area after working the magazine-publishing scene in Boston. Now she’s straight trolling SD for all the music she missed while away. Want to help? Hit her up with just about anything at all over on Twitter, where -- though not always work-appropriate -- she means well.