Mike Doughty
May 7, 2005 7:16 AM   Subscribe

Mike Doughty's got a good blog. You may well already know Doughty, the genius from Soul Coughing. His blog is updated regularly, it seems, and features some nice photographs. He seems to have a new record coming out soon, which is very good news for fans of his bizarrely excellent music.
posted by mokey (29 comments total)
I've never been that interested in the man's music, but he's a good amateur photographer. His site is one of the more reliably interesting photoblogs I've seen.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:45 AM on May 7, 2005

He's always had a blog, no?

I've heard good things about the new album but don't have high hopes. He's put out multiple albums since SC broke up. Unfortunately, they've all been poo. Though he's a great lyricist and his phrasing/intonation is unique, I think the talents of Mark, Yuval, and Sebastian are really underappreciated and I wish they'd put out more stuff. I still have't heard Mark's Tzadik CD but I check for it whenever in used shops.
posted by dobbs at 7:50 AM on May 7, 2005

You may well already know Doughty,

Nope. Never heard of him.

the genius from Soul Coughing.

Based on the comments, this must be a band of some sort?
posted by Doohickie at 7:57 AM on May 7, 2005

Doohicke, Soul Coughing was a band of some sort, yes. Not very well-known, but very good, in my view. Kind of jazzy, vaguely drum 'n' bassy, and Doughty's lyrics and vocal style were very distinctive and, for me, highly enjoyable.
posted by mokey at 8:04 AM on May 7, 2005

Metafilter: If you were the Baltic Sea and I were a cup
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 8:20 AM on May 7, 2005

Metafilter: If you were the Baltic Sea and I were a cup

uh huh...
posted by spacewrench at 8:39 AM on May 7, 2005

Poo, you say? You have ear troubles (disease? malformation?) because his home-made albums (Skittish and Rockity Roll) are sublime gems. Says I, anyhow.

Caught the opening of his tour Weds night in DC and he was quite up on point, backed by a keyboardist who he calls Handsome Dan Chen. Played all three of my very favorites (St. Louise Is Listening, True Dreams Of Wichita, Thank You Lord For Sending Me The F Train). The new album is Haughty Melodic and it has a whole band on it. I have not yet had a chance to listen, but I do have me on. He's vending them at the shows. See him! He is electricity on stage.
posted by damehex at 9:22 AM on May 7, 2005

(have me one)
posted by damehex at 9:23 AM on May 7, 2005

Doohickie, imagine a standup bass, a percussionist (often only on a bongo), and a keyboardist/sampler playing vaguely funk-influenced jazzy backing tracks while a guitarist talk-rap-rhymes stream-of-consciousness-like lyrics like "cash and toothpicks stuck in the ground / tiny lawnmower to mow me down / I could get lost in a lunchbox -- wallow in the mittens in the lost and found / you get the ankles and I'll get the wrists / you get mm ahh oh! / you get the ankles and I'll get the wrists / it comes down to this!" Then picture them playing live and singer Doughty thrusting the mic at the audience for every third word ("Ankles!" "Wrists!"). That was what Soul Coughing was absolutely great at. They commanded an audience like nobody's business. Ruby Vroom is one of my fave albums of the 90s.

The track that Mean quoted has some terrific lines in it: "Varick street and I drove south / with my hands on the wheel and your taste in my mouth... Janine / I drink you up. Janine / I drink you up. / If you were the Baltic Sea and I were a cup ... "

On preview, damehex, I gotta disagree. Skittish had to be one of the most disappointing albums I've ever heard. Was expecting good things but it was just boring. The only reason I'm willing to give the new one a try is because he's not solo on it.
posted by dobbs at 9:31 AM on May 7, 2005

to chime in here, i agree with the relative consensus that doughty works best when he has other people to balance out his doughty-thing. you know, that spoken-sung-wacky-cynical-beatnik thing (not the other kind of thing, gosh!). when he performs solo he sounds like a nice guy who wants to be ani difranco. recent ani d. at that. i'm curious to see what he does with a band.

if you like soul coughing and want to hear some good music that would appeal to their fans, may i humbly suggest count zero. they make pop music with engaging melodies and witty, cerebral lyrics, and the way they use samples/electronic elements reminds me a lot of irresistable bliss. perhaps you will like it.
posted by pxe2000 at 9:43 AM on May 7, 2005

ha! funny, "lazybones" just came up on my iTunes shuffle as I saw this post. I like those cell phone pics.
posted by mdn at 9:49 AM on May 7, 2005

oh oh, as for the post soul-coughing lull, it's not just about yuval, sebastian & mark; the track "Bond", a collaboration with 808 state, is ferkin' AWEsome.
posted by mdn at 9:51 AM on May 7, 2005

So, I had never heard of Mike Doughty until three days ago when the lead track of his new single was playing on (Clear Channel owned, ridiculously named) Indie 103.1 in L.A. The song was very Soul Coughingesque, and I liked it a lot, so I went out and itunes'd the whole album. It's really pretty good, I'd recommend it. But, as this and every other Mefi music thread reveal, taste is a highly subjective & individual thing.
posted by jonson at 10:07 AM on May 7, 2005

He's the reason I got my own piece of the 5% Nation of Casiotone.
posted by basicchannel at 10:40 AM on May 7, 2005

I'm going to have to agree with everyone about Skittish. There's a few gems on there, but a lot of it is unlistenable. Thankfully my first exposure to Doughty's solo work was through his unfortunately out-of-print Smofe + Smang: Live in Minneapolis. He plays a combination of Soul Coughing, Skittish and some new stuff, all of it brilliant, even the stuff I didn't like the first time around on Skittish. If you can get your hands on a copy I can't recommend it enough.

mdn: Thanks for the heads up. I'd also recommend: his collaboration with BT "Never Gonna Come Back Down", "Your Mom's Alright" with They Might Be Giants ('Mr. Xcitement", which made it on to Mink Car, not so much), and hell, why not, "Unmarked Helicopters" while he was still with Soul Coughing from the otherwise atrocious Songs in the X soundtrack.
posted by unsupervised at 11:25 AM on May 7, 2005

This-uh. Is a good blog-uh.
posted by Down10 at 11:31 AM on May 7, 2005

Haughty Melodic came out last Tuesday - I already have the autographed copy I pre-ordered from MusicToday.

It's very good, but nothing like Soul Coughing.

The best SC song, which unfortunately can no longer be played has the lyrics: "a man drives a plane into the Chrysler building".
posted by mike3k at 12:24 PM on May 7, 2005

My favourite Soul Coughing record is definitely their last, El Oso. I think their earlier records pale in comparison. But maybe that is just me. I never tried listening to Doughty's solo stuff, I didn't get the impression it would be what I wanted to hear. But I will try out his new record, since he has a backing band, I am sure it can't be all that bad.
posted by mokey at 12:45 PM on May 7, 2005

Doughty's weblog is really quite good--certainly the most down-to-earth celebrity one out there. As for "Haughty Melodic"--I've been listening to various versions of most of those songs for the past four years and I really find these arrangements to be overwrought. The backing vocals on "Madeleine & Nine" ruin the track. "Sunken-Eyed Girl" is far too up tempo, clashing with the rather painful lyrics. Now, if he'd just release "Smofe+Smang" again.
posted by gsh at 1:38 PM on May 7, 2005

Unmarked Helicopters! Thanks, unsupervised. I used to really like that song, but I lost all my mp3s from a few years back and haven't thought about it since. I'll have to find a copy. Sixteen Horses was good too.

Down10: nice.
posted by painquale at 2:10 PM on May 7, 2005

My favourite Soul Coughing record is definitely their last, El Oso...

I like all three, but I think Irresistible Bliss is my top pick, at least these days... I think ruby vroom pushes toward the folksy end of things, and el oso gets a bit more poppy. irresistible bliss is maybe more jazzy/samply? or something.
I'm always surprised how much Doughty likes the folk-rocky versions of his stuff, because for me a lot of the genius of soul coughing is the multilayered / complex music. On the other hand, I like lou reed & leonard cohen just for the rumbly voice and the lyrics, so I dunno why doughty's solo stuff hasn't worked out for me yet. I really like his voice & lyrics as part of other collaborations but the solo pieces I've heard (american car, madeline & 9...) just haven't been at the same level.

Though, I do have a copy of "grey ghost," which isn't much of a song, but the performance I have a recording of is before he'd written lyrics for the bridge, so he sings a "fake word" bridge. It is really funny and he does it really well, too. He's a funny guy, good performer.
posted by mdn at 2:30 PM on May 7, 2005

archive.org has a ton of free Doughty live shows-- the site seems to be down now, but just search the music area and you'll find it.
posted by gwint at 2:37 PM on May 7, 2005

gsh- yes! i feel the same way. sunken-eyed girl has got to be one of my favorite songs...ever, and he KILLED IT. i got haughty melodic just to get a clean version of that song and i couldn't even make it through the first listen.

oh, mikey_dough. what have you done? (fwiw, he also keeps up with a journal on suicide girls and has done some photography for them.)
posted by amandaudoff at 3:19 PM on May 7, 2005

You get the egg rolls and I'll get the rice-uh!
posted by Foosnark at 9:45 PM on May 7, 2005

"Donde esta los digits du DJ Rap?"

[I highly recommend the longer version of "Never Gonna Come Back Down" which ends with a great exchange between BT and Doughty.]
posted by Frisbee Girl at 1:59 AM on May 8, 2005

So, I had never heard of Mike Doughty until three days ago when the lead track of his new single was playing on (Clear Channel owned, ridiculously named) Indie 103.1 in L.A.

Indie 103.1 was never owned by Clear Channel, though Clear Channel was doing their ad sales. However, that partnership is now over.
posted by thebigpoop at 3:20 PM on May 8, 2005

Saw him last night in Rochester, NY. Not a bad show considering I had low expectations going in.
posted by jasonspaceman at 3:37 AM on May 9, 2005

Mike Doughty also did a great bit with Dave Matthews Band that sort of starts out as "anyone seen the bridge" but he takes over with his ad-libbing and then introduces the band.
posted by mike3k at 8:52 AM on May 9, 2005

Mike Doughty is one of the most original avant-garde beat-poetish lyricists/performers ever, say I. Check out his spoken-word tracks for a good example. (See the album Poemfone for these.) He delivers with a confident, quirky urgency that makes his lines stick and hover in the air.

In an interview I read someplace, Mike said that he often chooses words for their sound rather than their meaning. This gives his lyrics a cryptic feel which I rather like, especially in combination with the plucked string bass on some of the Soul Coughing tracks.

Doughty also wrote a series of articles in the New York Press, late 90s, under the nom de plume "Dirty Sanchez". Fun stuff.

It's hard to pick, but my favorite Doughty track is probably City of Motors, on the album Ruby Vroom (my fave S.C. album.)
posted by TreeHugger at 1:41 PM on May 9, 2005 [1 favorite]

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