Paranoid Cocoon is an album full of quiet, wooden psychedelia reflecting Cotton Jones' 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 songs were born of leaving, of dreams both good and bad, sung from surroundings the band has known their whole lives. Paranoid Cocoon is simple, understated perfection: they sound timeless from singing together forever.
At its debut, Michael Nau noted the presence (and absence) of time’s influence on Paranoid Cocoon. "Cocoon didn't span a lengthy duration of time, so head-space and moods tended to remain thread-like throughout. I believe there's a familiar mood from start to finish...the lyrics work like visuals of such moods." The 10-year anniversary reissue of Paranoid Cocoon celebrates this mood, which remains peacefully untouched and seamlessly woven into the hearts of long-time listeners and new fans alike.
In their early years, Atlanta trio The Coathangers were very much of the classic punk ethos-the band was a live entity, and the records were a document of the charisma and chaos projected from stage. But after 12 years of relentlessly touring on a steady flow of EPs and LPs, The Coathangers finally took a moment to recalibrate before diving into the creation of their sixth studio album The Devil You Know . The band regrouped to make an album that captures all the vitality of their early years while honing their individual strengths into new communal achievements. It's a record that takes their established takes on vitriolic punk, playful house-party anthems, and heartworn ballads and melds them into a new sound that retains all their former live show glories while revealing a new level of songwriting and nuance. "The writing process was done with an open heart," says guitarist/vocalist Julia Kugel. "Everything that came before had to go away. And we started there, at ground zero." With each album, you could hear the individual songwriters honing their style. But with The Devil You Know , it feels like we’re hearing the first Coathangers record written as a true unit.
Octubre may be a record about unhealthy infatuations and debilitating love, but it’s also an inadvertent statement on the past and permanence. Originally offered to the world as a surprise digital release, it might suggest a kind of ephemera, but the underlying motive is to reinvent and bring a new life to these seminal songs from the band's early years. Reimagined and reshaped, these songs not only represent the band's beginnings but also serve as a teaser for the band's future output.
"John and I were both in-between projects and decided to get together in the studio to blow off some steam and have some fun playing music," van Leuven says of Sun Breaks' beginnings. On John Atkins and James van Leuven's debut full-length All on Camera, Sun Breaks fuse live instrumentation and electronic manipulations with dubby outboard treatments and pensive melodies of Northwest indie rock. The title track demonstrates this fusion, with Atkin's vocals and van Leuven's cyclical drum patterns, banks of synths, and psychotropic production techniques. Every song becomes a new template and new battle plan. The tactics might yield the string pad hooks and dreamy vocals of "A Common Wave" or the big drum sounds and psychedelic instrumentation of "Moments". Restless angst isn't entirely absent from Sun Breaks' vision, but has been replaced by the search for light in the dark. "One of the constraints I've tried to work within lyrically is to not be too negative," Atkins explains. "A lot of it is derived from the first vocal takes and deals with digital angst, psychedelic surveillance and childhood memories." The result is lysergic, with both positive and negative energy swirling in a cosmic tapestry of sound.
Minus the Bear is a product of the first two decades of this century. From their first show in 2001 to their impending dissolution at the end of 2018, the Seattle band thrived on the musical awakening in the era of the mp3, the internet, poptimism, and the crosspollinations generated from an expanded consciousness of new music forms. With their final EP, Fair Enough, Minus the Bear closes the book on their hybrid of art-rock, indie pop, and warehouse party appeal. The opening track "Fair Enough" went through a variety of permutations before the band found new meaning in its lyrical lament of lost passions and finding "the exact moment we turned it off". The other songs of Fair Enough are a continuation and culmination of Minus the Bear's diverse sounds. The up-tempo drumbeats, lush electronics, and nimble guitar work that initially set them apart are on full display during "Viaduct". "Dinosaur" has the groove of early hits of "Fine + 2 PTS", but crafted with the understated Steely Dan-eque delivery of their more current slow jams. The EP closes with a nod to their ongoing remix collaborations, this time with a rave-up reinvention of "Invisible" by Sombear.
At the core of Death Valley Girls, vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden and guitarist Larry Schemel channel a modern spin on Funhouse's sonic exorcisms, ZZ Top's desert-blasted riffage, and Sabbath's occult menace. On their third album Darkness Rains, Death Valley Girls churn out the hypercharged scuzzy rock every generation yearns for, but there is a more subversive force percolating beneath the surface that imbues the band with an exhilarating cosmic energy. Album opener "More Dead" is a rousing wake up call, with a hypnotic guitar riff and an intoxicating blown-out solo underscoring Bloomgarden's proclamation that you're "more dead than alive." The pace builds with "(One Less Thing) Before I Die", a distillate of Detroit's proto-punk sound. At track three, Death Valley Girls hit their stride with "Disaster (Is What We’re After)", a rager that takes the most boisterous moments off Exile On Main Street and injects it with Zeppelin's devil's-note blues. Darkness Rains retains its intoxicating convocations across ten tracks, climaxing with the hypnotic guitar drones and cult-like chants of "TV In Jail On Mars."
On their new 7" for Suicide Squeeze Records, SadGirl not only harnesses a golden oldies sound with "Breakfast for 2", they touch upon its traditions as well. "It's a follow up to one of the first tracks I wrote for the project, 'Breakfast Is Over'. It's meant to be a sequel in line with rock n' roll and oldies tunes like 'It's My Party' and 'Judy's Turn To Cry', or 'Johnny B. Goode' and 'Bye Bye Johnny'," says guitarist/vocalist Misha Lindes. The flipside features a cover of the surf classic "Jack the Ripper" by Link Wray. "I’m a big fan," says Lindes, "but I’m also a huge fan of the late Israeli neo-rockabilly / surf guitarist Charlie Megira, who passed away in November 2016, and Charlie has an amazing version of 'Jack the Ripper'," says Lindes. "So our version is really an homage to Charlie as much as it is to Link Wray."
Punk rock exploded on the international scene just as Spain was awakening from the end of Franco's 35-year regime. And while new freedoms for an old country meant a blossoming of art and culture, the combination of geographical obstacles, a struggling economy, and prejudices towards the countries of the Iberian Peninsula meant that the Spanish underground music scene operated with added urgency, it also operated in relative isolation. But as anyone that’s dug into Spanish punk could tell you, the scene has an unparalleled vibrancy. Suicide Squeeze Records is proud to spread the word on this exciting community by way of a split 7" by two of Madrid's most ecstatic contemporary garage rock bands- the fiery quartet Hinds and the psych-tinged scorchers Los Nastys. In a nod to Madrid's close-knit underground circuit, the longstanding musical tradition of covers, and the band's mutual admiration, the split 7" features the two bands tackling each others' songs. Side A finds Hinds covering Los Nastys' pop gem "Holograma" while the flipside finds Los Nastys' doing a rave-up of Hinds' "Castigadas En El Granero." The record is both an unabashed party and an exciting document of an oft-overlooked scene. The split 7" will be available via Suicide Squeeze on 1000 copies of translucent blood red vinyl. Comes with a download coupon.
The name is a partial misnomer. Though the band hails from Los Angeles, they do not partake in any sort of witchcraft. Yet their ability to conjure a specific time and place through their sound does suggest a kind of magic. On their eponymous debut album, L.A. Witch's reverb-drenched guitar jangle and sultry vocals conjure the analog sound of a collector’s prized 45 from some short-lived footnote cult band. The melodies forgo the bubblegum pop for a druggy haze that straddles the line between seedy glory and ominous balladry; the production can’t afford Phil Spector's wall-of-sound, but the instruments' simple beauty provides an economic grace that renders studio trickery unnecessary; the lyrics seem more descendent of Johnny Cash's first-person morality tales than the vacuous empty gestures of pre-fab pop bands. This isn't music for the masses; it's music for miscreants, burnouts, down-and-out dreamers, and obsessive historians.
Album opener "Kill My Baby Tonight" is the perfect introduction to the band’s marriage of '60s girls-in-the-garage charm and David Lynch's surreal exposÃ©s of Southern California's underbelly. Sade Sanchez's black velvet vocals disguise the malicious intent of this murder ballad, with the thumping pulse of bassist Irita Pai, the slow-burn build of drummer Ellie English, and Sanchez's desert guitar twang helping beguile the listener into becoming a willing accomplice to the narrator’s crimes. "Brian" follows the opening track with a similarly graceful, if not somewhat ominous, slow-mo take on a well-worn jukebox 7". It's a vibe that permeates the entire album, from the early psychedelic hue of 13th Floor Elevators on tracks like "You Love Nothing," through the motorik beat and fuzzed-out licks of "Drive Your Car," to the grittier permutation of Mazzy Star's sleepy beauty on "Baby In Blue Jeans."
Guantanamo Baywatch's new album Desert Center opens with "Conquistador", an instrumental track displaying enough fretboard savvy and fiery twang to make The Challengers proud. But any notion that Guantanamo Baywatch is strictly adhering to one facet of rock n' roll's classic era is dispelled by the soulful swagger and unabashed pop of "Neglect". It’s an inadvertent juxtaposition maintained through the entirety of Desert Center, with blazing instrumental nuggets like "The Scavenger" alternating with the proto-grunge and golden oldies mash-up of a track like "Blame Myself." Like their 2015 album Darlingâ€¦ It's Too Late, Desert Center was primarily tracked in Atlanta at Living Room Recording with Justin McNeight and Ed Rawls, with Jason Powell doing the bulk of the guitar tracks on his own at Jungle Muscle Studios. While Guantanamo Baywatch initially made a name for themselves with their early blown-out recordings, Desert Center retains the raw aesthetics of a Hasil Adkins single, but has the added heft and thump afforded by a modern studio. This balance is perhaps best captured on their lead single "Video", where bassist Chevelle Wiseman drives the tune with a thick, throbbing riff while drummer Chris Scott ruthlessly pounds his kit with a crashing clarity guaranteed to please even the most snobby analog audiophile.
Parasite kicks off with the title track, a rowdy throwback to a younger, angrier incarnation of the band. Crafted in the wake of the election and during a tumultuous period in the band members' private lives, "Parasite" is pure catharsis. "During the making of our last album, I didn't want to scream anymore, I just wanted to sing and focus on melody. When we came to this recording, I just wanted to scream and curse," says guitarist/vocalist Julia Kugel. If the EP is meant as a journey through the various stages of the band's career, it certainly storms out of the gate with the same kind of piss-and-vinegar of their eponymous debut. And while "Wipe Out" is another rowdy venture, with bassist Meredith Franco taking over the lead vocal duties over a steady barrage of pointed power-chords, it also showcases the rousing choruses that elevated the trio from underground heroines to an internationally renowned garage act. Despite the adverse times, The Coathangers' mastery of pop cannot be contained forever, as is evident in the EP's single "Captain’s Dead", with its sultry verses, triumphant chorus, and a bombastic freak-out of noisy guitar. The journey through The Coathangers' musical evolution leads to a revamped version of "Down Down" off 2016's Nosebleed Weekend LP and the smoky twang of "Drifter", in which drummer/vocalist Stephanie Luke demonstrates her knack for solid Dusty Springfield-style ballads.
Michael Nau returns with his new album, Some Twist, out June 16th. Some Twist is the follow up to 2016's Mowing and its announcement comes amidst a flurry of recent activity. Two weeks ago, Nau debuted songs from Some Twist on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic and headlined two sold out shows on back-to-back nights in Los Angeles. He has received extensive BBC radio play and been selected as a "6 Music Recommends" pick. One-off single "Love Survive" cracked the top 50 on Spotify's Global Viral Chart and Elton John has played Nau on his Beats1 show.Suicide Squeeze Records is proud to release Some Twist on LP and CD. The first pressing of the album is available on 1,000 copies of pink vinyl and contains a download code. CD is housed in a digipak.
Continuing her journey into uncharted waters, Julianna Barwick's remix of This Will Destroy You's serene composition The Puritan is an exercise in both refinement and intensification. Taken from TWDY's viscerally cinematic full-length studio LP Another Language (out now on Suicide Squeeze), the Brooklyn-based songstress elicits an invisible structure from the track's warbling textures and oceanic vastness, distilling and reconstituting the band's reflective soundscape into a rarefied elemental form. The resulting single is pristine and subtle; a fully immersive pairing of melodic piano with layers of decaying tape textures, anchored and paradoxically tethered to submersed bassline programming and distant, hyperborean 4/4 kick drum. By once again shifting shapes and adding emphasis with the beats she does and doesn't drop, Barwick is able to forge a totally new path for both herself and instrumental-stalwarts This Will Destroy You. A feat not easily accomplished on either count. Like so much of Barwick's work, The Puritan remix sounds as if it is both sinking, and, floating. The Puritan 7" is limited to 1000 copies on brown and black splatter color vinyl and includes a download card.
On their sixth album VOIDS, Minus the Bear started with a blank slate, and inadvertently found themselves applying the same starting-from-scratch strategies that fueled their initial creative process. Album opener "Last Kiss" immediately establishes the band's renewed fervor. An appropriately dizzying guitar line plunges into a propulsive groove before the chorus unfolds into a multi-tiered pop chorus. From there the album flows into "Give & Take", a tightly wound exercise in syncopation that recalls the celebratory pulse of early Bear classics like "Fine + 2 Pts" while exploring new textures and timbres. "Invisible" is arguably the catchiest song of the band's career, with Jake Snider's vocal melodies and Knudson's imaginative guitar work battling for the strongest hooks. "What About the Boat?" reminds us of the "math-rock" tag that followed the band in their early years, with understated instrumentation disguising an odd-time beat. "Erase," recalls the merging of forlorn indie pop and electronica that the band dabbled with on their earlyEPs, but demonstrates the Bear's ongoing melodic sophistication and tonal exploration. By the time the band reaches album closer "Lighthouse," they've traversed so much sonic territory that the only appropriate tactic left at their disposal is a climactic crescendo, driven at its peak by Cory Murchy's thunderous bass. Not since Planet of Ice's "Lotus" has the Bear achieved such an epic finale. All in all, it’s an album that reminds us of everything that made us fall in love with Minus the Bear in the first place, and a big part of that appeal is the sense that the band is heading into uncharted territories.
"There is something that is underrepresented in Christmas music, and that's just how uncomfortable the holidays can be for a lot of folks," David Bazan says about his collection of holiday songs Dark Sacred Night. Back in 2002, David Dickenson of Suicide Squeeze Records approached Bazan and asked if he would be interested in doing a 7" of Christmas carols. The result was the "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day" b/w "Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel" single released under Bazan's Pedro the Lion moniker. He followed it up with "The First Noel" 7" in 2003 and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" in 2005. Even after retiring the Pedro the Lion project, Bazan continued his run of Yuletide singles for Suicide Squeeze under his own name. These limited edition 7"s are all long out of print, but David Bazan and Suicide Squeeze have chosen ten of the fourteen tracks, remixed and remastered the material, and collected them on Dark Sacred Night.
In 1994, Portland's idiosyncratic punk pop group Hazel and hushed indie band Heatmiser were providing a less aggravated alternative to the big riffs and howling frontmen of their grunge peers in Seattle. Both bands had strong albums that helped highlight the diversity of Northwest's rock scene, and both bands had guitarists that were dabbling in solo material. Heatmiser's Elliott Smith had just released his critically acclaimed album Roman Candle, and Hazel's Pete Krebs was preparing his debut for Cavity Search Records. It's no surprise that the tiny burgeoning indie label Slo-Mo Records pounced on the opportunity to release a split 7" by these developing talents. Smith's "No Confidence Man" is a classic example of his early, stripped-down heartbroken ballads while Krebs' "Shytown" is a gorgeous acoustic number that deftly navigates between somber passages and the buoyant melodies he was known for in his work with Hazel. Long out of print, it's Suicide Squeeze Records' proud honor to repress the 7" as part of their 20-year anniversary celebratory series. "No Confidence Man" b/w "Shytown" is limited to 500 copies on opaque blue vinyl and 500 copies on opaque yellow. Additionally, the 7" features all new artwork by Grammy nominated designer Jesse LeDoux and includes a download coupon.
Minus the Bear's sophomore album Menos El Oso was a significant departure from their debut full-length Highly Refined Pirates. The playful guitar-tapping, fluid production, and nostalgia-bating melodies were largely excised for air-tight drums, glitchy guitar samples, and an overall air that was more of a futurist interpretation of sepia-toned noir than their predecessor's contemporary Polaroid romanticism. It was an album that already sounded like a dark, stuttering remix of their previous efforts. But Minus the Bear was still - in both spirit and instrumentation - a rock band, and those staccato riffs and dance beats practically begged to be re-examined from behind the producer's console. So the band enlisted a team of underground remix artists to reinvent each of Menos El Oso's eleven tracks. The resulting Interpretaciones Del Oso is a wild and imaginative ride through a dizzying array of sonic reconstructions. P.O.S. makes "Drilling" a club banger; FOG turns "Memphis & 53rd" into the kind of murky gloom churned out by reclusive black metalhead Xasthur; DÃ¤lek producer Oktopus transforms "The Game Needed Me" into a dreamy druggy daze; Battles' Tyondai Braxton deconstructs "Fulfill The Dream" into a send-up of classic Warp Records IDM. As part of their 20th anniversary celebratory series, Suicide Squeeze is proud to offer a limited vinyl repress of Interpretaciones Del Oso on 1000 copies of Taos-colored vinyl with updated artwork, printed inner sleeves, and a download card.
The mid-'90s were an interesting time in Seattle. The city had just experienced its brief period in the rock n roll limelight, but it was still a lonely outpost in a largely ignored corner of the United States. Touring bands were reluctant to make the trek up from San Francisco, or across the mountains from Denver, or from across the Great Plains from Minneapolis. There were barely any all-ages venues to play in town. Bands like Modest Mouse and 764-Hero helped fill the rainy void with a relentless schedule of writing and playing out. That creative thirst and no-one's-watching mentality prompted a lot of artistic exploration and experimentation, a phenomenon best captured on the collaborative single "Whenever You See Fit". Marrying Modest Mouse's jagged blowouts with 764-Hero's pensive songwriting, the track slowly came together over the course of a tour together, with the bands taking the stage together nightly and dueling over a few fleshed out chords. The resulting 15-minute marriage of sparse pop and guitar sturm-and-drang perfectly captured the wistful artistry and punk turbulence of Northwest indie rock at the close of the century. As part of their 20th anniversary celebratory series, Suicide Squeeze is proud to offer a vinyl repress of "Whenever You See Fit" with updated artwork by esteemed designer Jesse LeDoux. The 12" single - also featuring remixes by DJ Dynamite D and Scientific American on side B - is limited to 1000 copies on half blue and half yellow wax, includes a download coupon, and will be the first time the record has been available on colored vinyl.
Pedro the Lion's first full-length It's Hard to Find a Friend and subsequent EP The Only Reason I Feel Secure cultivated a dedicated fanbase for songwriter David Bazan's bittersweet melodies, somnambulist instrumentation, sparse arrangements, and introspective lyrics. When Pedro the Lion issued their second album Winners Never Quit, fans were challenged with a concept record with a heightened pulse, bolder guitars, and a long-form narrative that replaced Bazan's trademark truncated parables. Any concerns that Pedro the Lion were heading into more turbulent waters were quelled by the Progress EP released by Suicide Squeeze Records three months later. "June 18, 1976", a humble minor-key ballad that follows an unwed mother's postpartum tragedy, harkens back to somber simplicity of earlier tracks like "Secret of the Easy Yoke". Companion track "April 6, 2039" is a lush marriage of Pedro the Lion's singer-songwriter predilections with newfound electronic components. The song would later turn up as "Progress" on the Control album. The CD version of the EP contained acoustic renditions of classics "Of Up and Coming Monarchs" and "Letter From a Concerned Follower". As part of their 20th anniversary celebratory series, Suicide Squeeze is proud to offer a limited expanded vinyl repress of Progress containing all four songs from the CD version of the EP. The Progress 7" has also been given brand new gatefold packaging from esteemed designer Jesse LeDoux. The EP is limited to 1000 copies on pink-and-blue swirl vinyl and includes a download card.
Seattle's art-core outfit These Arms Are Snakes never really fit in anywhere. Over the course of their 2003 debut EP they vacillated between epileptic fits of '90s DIY post-hardcore, woozy narcotic jam-outs, fortified classic rock riffage, and slow-churning cataclysmic dirges. The band continued on a path made even more confusing but undeniably invigorating by the jarring synth hooks and four-on-the-floor pulse of their first album Oxeneers and the prog-rock forays of their sophomore full-length Easter. When it came time to record their final album Tail Swallower & Dove, the band was less interested in charting out new territories and more focused on turning their myriad of approaches into one cohesive sound. From the chugging thrust and Heldon-esque breakdown of dueling synth and guitars on "Woolen Heirs", to the jagged noise rock of "Red Line Season", to the 8-bit sludge of "Lucifer", to the climactic twang-and-crunch of side closers "Ethric Double" and "Briggs", These Arms Are Snakes managed to retain their broad palette of sound while reigning it all in to a cohesive style that continues to defy categorization. As part of their 20th anniversary celebratory series, Suicide Squeeze is proud to offer a limited vinyl repress of Tail Swallower & Dove on 1000 copies of Renal Failure-colored vinyl with expanded gatefold artwork and a download card.
Gift of Life, the first proper full-length by VHS, follows in the footsteps of their previous EPs, with the band self-recording their amalgam of Lost Sounds' trashy discontent, early Big Black's trebly guitar stabs, and Only Theatre of Pain-era Christian Death's black reverberations. These are brash and bitter territories to occupy, but the band sees no other choice for their musical direction, citing the daily grind as the impetus behind their music. The harsh reality of frontman Josh Hageman's day-to-day existence working on the periphery of the medical field played a direct role in the overall theme of the album. Those fatalistic views and medical themes are on full display on “Wheelchair,” where a punk pulse underscores Hageman’s harrowing description of a life lived in chronic pain with drugs serving as the only escape. The album continues on to "Hospital Room," where wiry guitar leads and ominous chords provide the soundtrack to a scene of misery and tragedy within the sanitized walls of Western medicine. Elsewhere, the themes of addiction and exposure take on more universal themes, such as on the culture-gorging lament of "Binge Everything" or the panopticon-paranoia of "Public Act." If you've ever worried that punk has gotten too antiseptic, Gift of Life is here to deliver the grime.
Nosebleed Weekend kicks off with "Perfume", a song that marries sultry pop vocals with toothy guitar riffs in a manner that would make Ann and Nancy Wilson proud. It's hard to imagine The Coathangers writing a song this accessible in their early years, but in 2016 it fits perfectly into their canon. From there the band launches into "Dumb Baby", which harkens back to the gritty neo-garage rock of Murder City Devils. Longtime fans who still clamor for their brash post-punk angle will be immediately satiated by "Squeeki Tiki". And after hearing the noisy loud-quiet-loud bombast of "Excuse Me?" it's no wonder that Kim Gordon has become an outspoken fan of the band. It's an eclectic album inspired by life on the road, lost loved ones, and Kugel's recent move to Southern California. "We always say that each record is a snapshot of our life at the time," Kugel says. "As far as style... it's just what came out of us at that point." So whether it's the foreboding garage rock of the title track, the post-punk groove of "Burn Me", the stripped-down pop of "I Don't Think So", or the dynamic grunge of "Down Down", The Coathangers command their songs with passion and authority.
From the opening bedlam of barnburner "Counting The Days", Audacity demonstrate that while their songwriting has become more nuanced, their delivery has gotten more savagely precise. With recording duties handled by longtime friend and tourmate Ty Segall, Audacity sound like they've finally found someone who can capture the frenetic drive of a song like "Hypo", the off-kilter hook of "Riot Train", the undeniable melodic appeal of "Fire", and the cowpunk influence of "Previous Cast". It can be tricky to juggle the bubblegum with the piss-and-vinegar, but it's a duality Audacity embraces, "I feel like we get portrayed a lot as a sunshine-y, carefree California band," Gibson says "But lots of our songs deal with melodramatic subject matter. The fact we've all lived in Fullerton pretty much the whole time we've been in the band has some effect on the music. Driving around town, there's a memory or a ghost on every street. People die or move away or get in trouble, or groups of friends drift apart and start hating each other and get in fights. It's not demoralizing; it's a part of life, but of course it affects the music." That frustration manifests itself on songs like "Overrated", where you can almost hear the spit and sweat hitting the microphone. But then they turn around and bask in the unapologetically gratuitous pop swagger of album closer "Lock On The Door". By the time Hyper Vessels comes to close, you're convinced that Audacity can get away with whatever they damn well please, it's going to have it's adrenaline-fueled charm regardless.
The music of Michael Nau sounds effortless. For the past eight years, Nau has written songs with his wife Whitney McGraw under the name Cotton Jones. Along with their rotating cast of auxiliary members, Nau and McGraw kept a busy schedule of releasing records, rehearsing, and touring. Along the way, Nau would track song ideas. There was a stockpile of these recordings - little sonic experiments, layering exercises, the occasional fully-formed song - nestled away in the Cotton Jones compound in the tiny Appalachian city of Cumberland, Maryland, waiting to be pulled from the shelf and ushered into the sunlight. So with the help of a few musician friends, Nau sifted through those recordings. Given the sporadic formation of the songs off of Mowing there is a surprising continuity and timbre in mood. Album opener "While You Stand" kicks things off with little more than a delicate acoustic guitar line and a modestly hummed chorus, the song creates the inviting aura of sunlight coming through the kitchen window on an early Saturday morning. Like so many classics in the Cotton Jones canon, songs like "Your Jewel", "So, So Long", and "Unwound" conjure the sounds that linger on lonely stretches of the radio dial, where Cat Stevens, Harry Chapin, and Randy Vanwarmer crackle on with their infinite humble appeal. Elsewhere on Mowing, you can hear Nau's beguiling experiments - the bossa nova cadence of "Smooth Aisles", the woozy chaise lounge instrumental "Mow", the baroque pop of "Winter Beat."