Michael Nau / Valley Queen

Resident & 89.9 KCRW Present

Michael Nau / Valley Queen

Christian Lee Hutson, Kat Myers & The Buzzards

Thu · February 9, 2017

8:00 pm

$10.00 - $15.00

This event is 21 and over

Michael Nau
Michael Nau
“We did some full band stuff live in Burlington, Vermont, some of it was done in Connecticut, another song was tracked on a back porch in Nashville, others in Maryland,” says Michael Nau when asked about piecing together the material for his debut album, Mowing. “I was just recording songs. I wasn’t sure about really doing a record.” Nau’s casual attitude towards songwriting certainly suits the warm bucolic vibe of Mowing, but his nonchalant approach belies his tireless work ethic and formidable artistry. 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.

It was a long road to arrive at Mowing. Given his collaborative nature, it’s almost a fluke that Michael Nau wound up releasing a record under his own name. He started his musical career by culling from both the American singer-songwriter tradition and the literary melancholia of the contemporary pop underground with the indie outfit Page France. Despite the egalitarian nature of the band, Nau fell into the spotlight for his idiosyncratic religious lyrical motifs, which made the staunchly secular indie community uneasy while simultaneously offending the contingent of Christians who owned Death Cab For Cutie records. After four years and three full-lengths, Nau branched off with bandmate and then-girlfriend Whitney McGraw to write songs under the moniker Cotton Jones. Together they shed the more modern inflections of Page France and summoned the bygone sounds of AM radio—golden oldies, antiquated Nashville country, ‘70s chamber pop, dusty folk songs.

“Cotton Jones has always, for me, been most enjoyable as a live thing,” says Nau. “We’ve always been able to keep it pretty fresh. There’s never been much of a pattern to the whole thing.” But things changed as the couple decided to start a family. It’s a common issue for musicians who outgrow the wild abandon of their twenties—the desire to create and perform has to grapple with adult responsibilities. “It’s just a bit more challenging for Whitney and I to both be on tour. And, if I try to do Cotton Jones without Whitney, there’s a hole—a bunch of songs can’t be performed. Cotton Jones has always been a ‘band’ to me. I’d rather it not become a ‘character’. I love playing music, so branching off is a way to do it more. And, if we do more Cotton Jones in the future, that’s great too. I don’t want to think about it too much.”

So with the help of a few musician friends, Nau sifted through those lost recordings. Given the sporadic formation of the songs off of Mowing, there is a surprising continuity in timbre and mood. It’s hard to believe that a song like album opener “While You Stand” wasn’t immediately absorbed into the Cotton Jones repertoire. 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.”

Even though Mowing is a collection of old songs, they sound like they could belong in any era of Nau’s musical career. “They’re little doodles of a few days. It was all a vehicle to get on to the next thing. Even though releasing an album under my own name is a new development, I think it only feels like a starting point because there’s a record finished.” Suicide Squeeze Records is proud to release the unearthed gems of Mowing in February 2016. And while there are still some lost songs from his past that he looks forward to sharing with the public, Nau is also excited about moving forward as a singer-songwriter. “It should be pretty wide open from here,” he says about his future creative endeavors. “I’m excited about that.”
Valley Queen
Valley Queen
Valley Queen front woman Natalie Carol leads a band reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac and My Morning Jacket with lead vocals evocative of Florence Welch. Their sound brings to mind the soul and power of southern rock combined with inspired and personal lyrics. Over the past year, Valley Queen has been recording tracks for their debut, full­length LP and have played lauded shows at an array of venues, opening for Lucero, LP, Laura Marling and The Wild Reeds, as well as headlining Pappy and Harriet's in Joshua Tree, the Echo Park Rising Festival and Broke LA Festival in Los Angeles. Within the past year, they have also played a triumphant string of shows at the 2015 CMJ Music Marathon in NYC and SXSW in Austin. They've most recently played at Make Music Pasadena, Lightning in a Bottle in California and a Tiny Desk concert at the NPR offices in DC. Valley Queen headlined their first residency series at The Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles throughout July 2016 to raucous crowds for three consecutive weeks. In August of 2016, the band released the singles "In My Place" and "High Expectations" on Canvasback Music/Atlantic Records to wide acclaim.
Christian Lee Hutson
Christian Lee Hutson
Whoever the gallantly self-defeating 24-year-old singer/songwriter is, he's an amalgamation of a long line of Americana tradition, a packed handful of unpleasant days, and his own past musical endeavors, including 2012's EP Will Never Break Up, and his debut LP, The Hell With It.

Now, after a song-a-month release over the course of 2014 comes Hutson's second album Yeah Okay, I Know, a record championed by Americana UK's James McCurry as "...Startlingly good. Like 'year's end list' good." Yeah Okay, I Know captures twelve songs from the rapidly-evolving King of Bummercore, with all his youthful regrets, laments, and apathy worn unabashedly on his sleeve.

Hutson's search for self spills from his records onto the road in a relentless touring schedule across the States and throughout Europe, where the prolific songster's perpetually unveiling new tunes and discovering new ways to take shots at himself. Like Sean Moeller says in Paste Magazine, "He will change you. Go see him tonight."
Kat Myers & The Buzzards
Kat Myers & The Buzzards
Kat Myers wandered the globe solo for half a year before she found herself in Los Angeles on an extended layover in late 2012 and decided to stay. She was unemployed and unsure of the future but had a notebook full of tunes. The Ohio native began playing solo gigs around town and quickly gained a local following with her quick-witted and sincere songs.

Myers' started searching for a band, which eventually led her to drummer Johnny Elkins. At the time Elkins' own band, Ivory Deville, was holding auditions for a back-up singer. Though Myers did not get the spot, she and Elkins immediately hit it off. They started booking shows as a two-piece all over southern California and along the way met guitarist Elliott Beenk.

With the band in place, 2015 marked a whirlwind of a year for the trio. They have since toured along the west coast and played Echo Park Rising, Make Music Pasadena and Sofar Sounds. The band has also been featured on sites including Jam In The Van, Free Bike Valet, and Badass Bands Blog.

Though it is early into what will undoubtedly be a long and illustrious career, Kat Myers & The Buzzards are already earning themselves a reputation as a "bona fide rock 'n' roll band…[that] concocts a soulful blend of solid rhythms as if summoned from the dust on a vinyl crate of classic rock." (Free Bike Valet) Myers' roots in classic rock can be clearly heard in the EP's rollicking melodies, while her tongue-in-cheek lyrics point to her punk influences.

With a new album in the works and more shows on the horizon, Kat Myers & The Buzzards are sure to continue capturing ears and hearts with their wit and charm.
Venue Information:
428 S Hewitt Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90013