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Paranoid Cocoon

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Album Review

Cumberland, MD-based singer/songwriter Michael Nau's first full-length project since placing indie darlings Page France on semi-permanent vacation in 2007 trades much of his previous incarnation's quirky pop leanings for a darker, weepy, reverb-drenched blend of Pacific Northwest, 1960s folk-pop, and Wilco-inspired heartland rock. If Will Oldham had gone the way of "Moondance"-era Van Morrison instead of the Grateful Dead for his metamorphosis into Bonnie "Prince" Billy, it may have sounded something like Cotton Jones' debut long-player. Nau and fellow Page France expatriate Whitney McGraw drape their plain, heartfelt voices around Paranoid Cocoon's ten tracks like a quilt on a smoldering fire, rendering each into a languid curl of smoke that practically begs for a gray, rainy morning, multiple cups of coffee, and a carton of smokes. The instrumentation is sparse, but the cathedral atmosphere keeps each note fluid — songs like "Some Strange Rain" and "Photo Summerlude" sound exactly as their names would suggest — even when the tempo takes the cruise control off, as is the case with opening cut "Up a Tree (Went This Heart I Have)" and the Donovan-esque, Haight-Ashbury rocker "Little Ashtray in the Sun." Paranoid Cocoon establishes its sound early, so anybody initially put off by all of the cloudy skies and soft, neo-psychedelic mountain melancholy will inevitably come away disappointed, but fans of James Yorkston, Richard Hawley, M. Ward, and mild hangovers will eat this up, and rightly so.

Customer Reviews

blissful, smokey, and addictive

I found out about Cotton Jones while randomly searching out musicians playing in the SF Bay Area. Just one listen on the myspace page had me hooked. There's something distinctive and subtle that draws you in, and once enveloped in its smokey atmosphere, your sedated yet engaged for the evening.

Bring back the old days.

Sounds a lot like the doors. Bring back Page France!!!

Pure zen....

Perfectly balanced music and lyrics. Pulls you in...and lulls you into staying for the whole album.


Formed: 2007 in Maryland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Cotton Jones Basket Ride materialized in 2007 as a vehicle for Maryland-based singer/songwriter Michael Nau after his popular indie rock outfit Page France decided to take a break. Mining the same mildly psychedelic indie pop territory as his previous project but with a decidedly more folky, experimental bent, Nau and bandmate Whitney McGraw released three EPs under the moniker on Quite Scientific Records, including an initial limited self-titled installment that quickly sold out, followed by two...
Full Bio
Paranoid Cocoon, Cotton Jones
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Alternative, Music
  • Released: Jan 27, 2009

Customer Ratings