Friday, December 9, 2011


Cotton are a twee-some threesome group of livingroom misanthropes from Portland, Or. They are currently J. Han, Abe Wallis, and Cait Olds. This eponymous record is their third.

You've probably heard music like Cotton before. You may have even heard people who were better at it. The question is: Why should i listen to Cotton?

There are a number of answers to this question. First off, if you are already partial to confessional lo-fi folk pop, this is right up yr alley, and will make yr weekend.

Next, perhaps you are partial to obscure, unknown acts, possibly from friends and neighbors. DIY or die, and all that; if that be the case, than Cotton will also make yr weekend, and probably the week following.

Lastly, if you are already fond of the sound of twangy, biting acoustic guitars; twangy, biting sarcastic lyrics; bleepy synths and arid drum machines; if you have EVER listened to Young Marble Giants, if reading Elvis Costello lyric sheets is yr idea of a nice evening, than this will make yr 'Best of 2011' list.

As to why i give a shit about this band; i discovered them at a house show where i encountered the remarkable Barry Brussea, discussed earlier. I missed their set, unfortunately, but J. Han was kind enough to slip me a classy looking white paper sleeve, containing 10 songs. I was already leaning towards writing about bands i've seen, people i meet; there's so many fucking bands in Portland, i could fill 5 blogs with that alone. I gave their music a fair shake, but i am under no sort of obligation to like everything that passes through my fingers, and to be fair, this is not really music i would listen to every day. But, for the sake of journalistic integrity, and as i have been putting this post together, i have found many jewels under the creamy bed clothes of this humble, homespun record. There are interesting lyrics, unexpected twists and turns, such as 'lately you've been coming around/now my cock's hard as a fist.' on 'Mental Halitosis'. Gotta be quick here, kids, gotta pay attention. This music is sharp... it jabs. It really does remind me of the scathing moments of Elvis Costello's early material, mainly in its burning sarcasm. But just little things, like the tasty origami-logo on the cover, or the dusty little reverb on the organ on 'Pop - Ciclz'. These are the things which perk up my ears, then the intelligent and revealing lyrics rope me in, and i'm done, fallen under the spell of sublime pop music, yet again.

And lastly, the album opener, 'The Ghost' is elegiac perfection; simply arpegiatted guitar chords and ringing baritone vocals, as bells (literally) and organs caress their ways in and out. Two thumbs up, and well worth the price of admission, alone.

This is talented music by real people. Not re-inventing the wheel, but using the spokes to great effect. Hope it ripped properly, i suck at the whole tagging thing.

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