Alibi V.18 No.6 • Feb 5-11, 2009 

Sonic Reducer

Cotton Jones Paranoid Cocoon (Suicide Squeeze Records)

If you feel a little down in the dumps, be thankful you don’t have it as bad as Cotton Jones singer-songwriter Michael Nau. The brainchild behind the now defunct folk-pop group Page France just can’t shake the deep-seated misery. Cotton Jones likes to ride three chords until they’re begging for a breather. But the Rhodes organ and twangy alt.country guitar craft such an appealing atmosphere that variety needn’t enter into the equation. The convivial backing vocals of Whitney McGraw help to mitigate the morose lyrical imagery. There’s no doubt Nau’s felt an abundance of pain, but he channels it into cathartic, droning gems. (SM)

John Frusciante The Empyrean (Adrenaline Records)

Arguably one of the most innovative guitar players from arguably one of the best rock bands of all time, John Frusciante of The Red Hot Chili Peppers blesses us with his 11th solo album; it's filled with incredible highs and lows, musically and conceptually. The Empyrean is a concept album birthed from the experience of hitting rock bottom and ascending to a higher place. Frusciante wails on his six-string and fills the hollow space with angelic voices. If this is your first time dabbling into the world of John Frusciante away from the Chili Peppers, you're in for a dazzling journey. (JH)

(SM) Simon McCormack, (JH) Justin Hood