Arranging the alternative: an interview with Mike Doughty

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Never reluctant to keep us guessing, intrigued, and thrilled by his consistently inventive creativity and releases, Mike Doughty recently gave the world his new album The Flip Is Another Honey. The release was an enthralling collection of covers given the unique imagination and vision of the Brooklyn singer songwriter, songs teased and seduced into little irresistible jewels crafted with mischief, invention, and inspired vision. The release of the album gave us a great opportunity to talk with Mike again and find out the inspiration and heart to The Flip Is Another Honey and more…

Hi Mike and welcome back to The Ringmaster Review.

Before we move on to your new album it seems you have been very busy since we last talked to you around the release of Yes And Also Yes. Are you a man who has to be creatively active or are you able to find down time in that respect to re-energise the artistic batteries?

I guess I don’t really do down time, artistically. I’m always working on something, even when I’m not working on something. When I’m on vacation, I relish journaling in an unusual place, and when I wander around, half my mind is on what I’m going to write about what I see.

You have just released the wonderful album The Flip Is Another Honey. I read you got the great title from an old Variety review in 1956 of the Jerry Lee Lewis single Crazy Arms. How did you come across this and how does it relate to the contents of your album?

The review was quoted in Nick Tosches’ “Hellfire”, which is a biography of Jerry Lee. Great book. The phrase basically means, “the B-side of this single is also really good.” I don’t know if I had a logical reason for picking the title–just an intuitive one.

Are the tracks you cover on The Flip Is Another Honey ones you grew up with, ones which inspired you at certain times, songs 487617_10151459081085200_1323909964_nwhich inspired ideas just for the release, or a mix of all?

They’re songs I’d been playing by myself in the green room, before and after shows. Some of them, improbably, sounded good in my voice-those are the ones I recorded. There are plenty songs I love to sing that sound shitty in my particular style, (and, on the ones that I sounded good in, I often had to omit or duck a high note in there someplace).

I learned “Country Roads” to impress my girlfriend, who’s from West Virginia (and, apropos of nothing here, has a giant tattoo of the cover of “Trout Mask Replica” on her ribcage.)

How long has the album been in the making from the first seeds of the idea and how long did the actual physical recording take?

It was quick. I had the tunes selected when I hired Kevin Salem to produce–we set a date six weeks later, I programmed and arranged the songs, and then I came up to Woodstock to lay it down. It took–four days? I think. Maybe five.

How easy or difficult was it to settle on the chosen 15 on the album?

I do my best to make those kinds of choices quickly, and intuitively, without a lot of psychic self-torture. So, easy.

Apart from three tracks with your long time collaborators pianist Dan Chen and cellist Andrew “Scrap” Livingston, you played every sound on the release. Does that also apply to the ideas and way you approached each song or did you engage thoughts of others on those?

I like to coax something unique out of the people I’m working with, rather than dictate. The people I play with are adept at jumping into a song with very general directions from me, and able to bring their full selves into the instrumental parts they create.

Obviously, I wrote all the parts on the album, but I also worked with Kevin, the producer, as I’d work with a musician–I tried his suggestions, like, “Why don’t you phrase the vocal like such-and-such?” Along those lines.

As much as I would love to ask questions about every track on The Flip Is Another Honey, we will look at the songs which lit the biggest fires inside if that is ok.

OK!

Firstly can I ask about your version of Take Me Home, Country Roads, a song I will admit I have never taken too and as good as your take on it is I am still not convinced but that is personal taste only ha ha. You brought the wonderful voice of Rosanne Cash into the song with you, how much persuasion did she need if any to lend her vocal charms to the song?

Virtually no persuasion. Super bizarrely, she’s a big fan of mine.

The album opens with the excellent Sunshine where you sample John Denver’s vocals to merge with your rapping. Where did the idea to approach it this way get its inspiration and when gaining permission from the John Denver estate for the use of the Denver sample did they have any inkling of how you would wonderfully interpret the song?

Often times, when listening to songs, I’ll pick out sample-able parts–it’s kind of a tic. I guess I just was listening to it on my headphones on the subway, and suddenly I heard the sample.

I was terrified that the John Denver estate would be super affronted that I’d messed around with their dude so oddly–I sent them the completed track–and I was thinking of other singers to do the part when they wrote back to say they were ultra-enthused about it. Weirdly. So great.

Mike DoughtyThe song is a major highlight on the album for us; did the track emerge on the finished record as you initially envisaged it when coming up with the idea?

Oh yeah. Being based around samples, there were fewer variables

Tell us about the two Cheap Trick covers Southern Girls and Reach Out. There is a passion in the tracks which suggests maybe this band had a big impact on you and your heart. 

Yes yes. Actually, when I was 13, I waited outside Eisenhower Hall in West Point, NY, to meet them. I asked Rick Nielsen to play “Reach Out”, and he was totally confused by that. I guess it was a song they threw onto the soundtrack of the animated movie “Heavy Metal” (super corny and great 80s sci-fi), and didn’t think much about. It was written by the bass player who filled in for Tom Petersson, when he was absent for a couple of years–maybe that indicated an also-ran-ness. But I loved it.

Reach Out merges seamlessly into the Josh Wink anthem Higher State of Consciousness. What sparked the allying of the two songs in one compelling encounter and was it always your intention or something which evolved during recording?

Totally evolved. As we were tracking guitars, I played the riff, absent-mindedly, as the playback track faded out, and Kevin was like, “Oh my god, play that part again.” He didn’t realize it wasn’t something I was just improvising!

For us the biggest pinnacle on the album of nothing but great heights is Ta Douleur. You give it a new breath and energy which escalates in the passions for an insatiable almost lustful pleasure. Tell us about the song and its meaning to you, the Camille original and what you have done with it.

I heard it on the radio–WFMU, which is a great New-York-area musical treasure–and iTunes’d it instantly, and listened obsessively. I have a pretty believable French accent, because my dad worked in Belgium for a year when I was a kid–didn’t pick up much of the language, but I absorbed the pronunciations–and I messed around with the tune just to see what it was like–and I liked it. Now, I did have to eliminate the sections that I was unable to sing, which excise a little bit of the elegance, but turn the song into kind of an unstoppable train. Honestly, I could only pick out a few phrases here and there that I could understand in French, and didn’t really understand the overall until I Google-translated the lyrics.

Some songs you have covered faithfully in your own inimitable style and others you have re-invented. What sparked either decision on each song which way to approach them and have any subsequent ideas not used for the album stayed alive in thoughts for an unveiling at some future point?

I made a deal with myself not to do any Magnetic Fields covers. I’ve done a whole bunch of them, throughout my recordings. But, I have ideas for arrangements of covers of three or four more Magnetic Fields songs! It’s an involuntary function of my consciousness.

Claudia, their drummer and manager, asked me to open for them on a tour a few years ago–I already had my own tour booked, and it broke my heart that I had to say no. I literally could’ve gone to them and said, “Listen, whatever songs you’re not playing in the show, I’ll play them–I will do the part of your repertoire you’re not doing!”

There are a couple of show tunes on the album too, is that a medium you would consider writing for, like to create a soundtrack for a musical?

I actually studied playwriting, intensively, and still write one-acts for the 24 Hour Company, sometimes. Couple years back, they did a benefit on Broadway and I had Julia Stiles and Michael Kenneth Williams–the guy who played the iconic role of Omar on “The Wire”–in mine.

But, no plans, as yet.

Is The Flip Is Another Honey a project you might follow-up with a similarly inspired release at some point?553922_10150926960595200_77130733_n

Quite possibly. I think that, as singers get older, they become more nuanced interpreters of songs–both their own, and others’

What is next for Mike Doughty, creatively and to narrow it down musically?

I’m messing around with songs I wrote for Soul Coughing, trying to figure out how to reclaim them.

Many thanks for taking time to talk with us Mike.

You’re very welcome–thanks for your support!

Would you like to send give us a sales pitch for people to check out your excellent album The Flip Is Another Honey? 😉

THE FLIP COMES WITH FREE CANDY AND PIE!

And finally are there any other songs that you would love to put your distinct touch upon which did not come up on the album?

Allow me to delve into fantasyland for this question–I so wish I could do justice to Sam Cooke’s songs. What an incredible voice that guy had.

The RingMaster Review 08/03/2013

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Mike Doughty: The Flip Is Another Honey

Mike Doughty

    Though admittedly ours was a late introduction to the solo mastery of former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty it has brewed a heightened excitement every time something new emerges from the unique talent. His previous albums, Yes And Also Yes and live extravaganza The Question Jar Show only went to increase anticipation for any future releases as well as probably expectations of those unveilings. The Flip Is Another Honey is the new album from the Brooklyn master of the unpredictable and inspirational, a release which admittedly we had whispers of doubt about before entering its intriguing content. Of course to even question this man and his ideas even in merely glancing thoughts was plain stupidity as the album of cover songs which one assumes have inspired him in some way or simply ignited his own personal passions, is quite sensational.

Released via Snack Bar/Hornblow Recordings, The Flip Is Another Honey, this wonderful title taken from a 1956 review in Variety in regard to the Jerry Lee Lewis release Crazy Arms and meaning “the b-side is also really good”, consists of tracks reinterpreted by Doughty in his own inimitable style. Some are ‘straight’ versions in his unique way whilst others have been teased and seduced by the imagination of the man into little irresistible jewels which ripple with mischief, invention, and inspired vision. It is fair to say despite the ardour brewed by his previous albums the pure joy and impressiveness of this album was unexpected from looking at the chosen songs, so we hang our heads in shame at not having faith as The Flip Is Another Honey is just wonderful.

Apart from the version of Randy Newman song God’s Song (That’s Why I Love Mankind), the brief instrumental  slice of flipStephen Sondheim’s Send in the Clowns, and an irrepressible take of Guys and Dolls song Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat by Frank Loesser with a great havoc ending, all three having the assistance of long time collaborators pianist “Cashmere” Dan Chen and cellist Andrew “Scrap” Livingston, every sound on the album is played by Doughty starting with the irresistible opener Sunshine. Sampling the voice of John Denver throughout the track sees Doughty rapping verses in between, his grizzled baritone narrative entwining deliciously with the harmonies of the songs author. It is an inspired interpretation which is as riveting as it is provocative, and at all moments a respectful homage to the original song.

The bulging sinews of Jimmy Bell, a blues song originally written by Cat Iron with Doughty basing his version on the 15 60 75 the Numbers Band recording, is a pulsating heavy boned rampant beat feast of a song. The track consumes the senses with a compelling potency and vibrant breath which openly shows the blues influences which have cast their inspiration over his previous work.

Take Me Home, Country Roads is a straight forward version of the Denver classic and features the distinct vocal caresses of Rosanne Cash alongside Doughty. To be honest from an already in place dislike of the song the album for one of only a couple of times does not moves the passions something the following Cheap Trick song Southern Girls manages with ease. Again it is a relatively true version to the original which ticks all the boxes and with the smouldering intensity and resonance which weaves across much of the album is a track to hungrily engage with.

To avoid drooling over every subsequent track on the album further personal highlights come firstly with Tightrope. It is a song which Doughty builds around a chorus by The Stone Roses, his raps adding infectious flesh to the addictive chorus as does the fascinating entrancement by the keys. Then there is Running Back a great version of a less known Thin Lizzy track and Reach Out another Cheap Trick track which was originally from the Heavy Metal Motion Picture Soundtrack. Both songs just lead the senses and emotions into a fuller rapture with their uncomplicated but stylishly sculpted presences, the second of the two stunningly merging into acoustic tease Higher State of Consciousness, the Josh Wink techno anthem.

The pinnacle of the album is Doughty’s version of the Camille song Ta Douleur. Sung in French the song is a thrilling seduction with eager tempo and a delicious discord soaked piano wantonness to infect and send the listener into fiery ardour. The greatest triumph in an album of continual peaks, the song is ingenuity at its best.

With further impressive covers of tracks from Doveman, Red House Painters, and Low, The Flip Is Another Honey is an engrossing slice of invention and musical passion from a man who is never lacking either trait in his own work. The fact that for us he has turned songs which previously left no telling imprint on the emotions into passion driven favourites tells all about the album and Mike Doughty.

http://www.mikedoughty.com

9/10

RingMaster 23/02/2013

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Interview with Mike Doughty

The beginning of 2012 has already given many impressive and inspiring releases but not many are as essential and as completely fulfilling as Yes And Also Yes from Mike Doughty. The album consists of fourteen vibrant, witty and mesmeric indie pop songs which engage and inspire through quality song writing and captivating sounds. Alongside the album Mike also has an autobiography The Book Of Drugs out which deals with drugs, music, and the “weirdness, and messed-up-ness, of life in Soul Coughing” that have been part of life to date. With immense pleasure we had the chance to talk with Mike and ask him about the album, book, his music and more.

Hello and a warm welcome to The Ringmaster Review, thank you for letting us pry a little into your creative world.

2012 is starting off with a bang for with the release of your new album Yes And Also Yes and your autobiography. What is your overriding emotion as they find their way into the ears and eyes of the world?

I tend to keep distant from what the world thinks of what I’m putting out. I definitely feel obliged to the audience, but I think the way to do the best work is to keep your head down, pay attention to what you’re making, not how it’s perceived. Otherwise, I get delirious, and the machinery jams.

You have had a fair few releases under your belt to great acclaim but does the feeling ever lessen on the eve of releasing something new?

Like I said–I have to pay attention to the work, not to the reaction. That said, I guess the short answer is no–because there’s always anxiety.

Do you have different feelings, nerves, tension or whatever over the book compared to the album as it exposes a different and more personal aspect of you in many ways?

References to ex-girlfriends in songs can be super oblique, but in the book, they’re described in detail. That’s been a painful and weirdly exhilarating process, communicating with people from way-back-in-the-way-back. There are people I love of whom I tell some pretty gnarly stories–I’m very scared of their reactions. I don’t want to lose them.

Can we first talk about the album Yes And Also Yes? The title has been commented on everywhere I am sure but can you give our readers the inspiration behind it?

It was the title of an online dating profile. I improvised it–you had to type something in that box just to post it. Later I realized it was kind of weirdly suitable to where I was at. It also related to improv sketch comedy–Del Close and “the rule of yes” and that kind of stuff–and I’ve been doing a lot of comedy shows around Manhattan and Brooklyn, playing a couple of songs on a bill of five or six comedians. So maybe I absorbed some of that.

Any thoughts on those kind of sites, haha did you find any budding romances?

There were some almost-almosts, but nothing of substance, and lots of awkward shittiness. I met my girlfriend through friends–she’s basically been nearby me forever–and there’s a really intense connection that makes all that slogging through dates really ludicrous. Though maybe I had to scan the horizon before I realized she was standing behind me. I say to her, all the time, “Where the hell were you all this time?!”

How would you say Yes And Also Yes differs and has evolved from previous albums Sad Man Happy Man and Golden Delicious?

To a certain extent it feels very specific to where I wrote most of the songs–an artists’ colony called Yaddo in Upstate New York. A lot of it was coaxed from ideas that I’d been collecting since I finished the last album, but it was an unusually intense thing to have them all bloom in the same tiny span of time.

Am I right in believing not all of your fans were taken with and liked the directions you took with previous albums and were strong in their desire to share that with you?

Actually, I’ve been making them happy since Sad Man Happy Man, it would seem. There are always people who go, “He’s better acoustically, as in Skittish,” or, “He’s better with lo-fi electronics, as in Rockity Roll”, or, “He’s better with a full band”, and the “He was better in Soul Coughing” contingent is always a vocal and irritating minority

How did that effect you and has it has a bearing on your emotions and thoughts with this new album?

Sad Man Happy Man I definitely was thinking of a lot of kvetching about over-instrumentation, and I responded to that. This one I just put my head down and got the work done.

How much of you as a person, your emotions and feelings as well as experiences go into your songwriting and lyrics?

Absolutely all of it–though in mysterious, nebulous, sideways angles.

I am not sure if this question makes sense haha but do you ever fear you may expose to much of the real you in your songs or is that not an issue for you?

I’m a committed over-sharer. Totally suited to these times. It’s really not an issue. The only weird thing is when strangers think they know me well enough that they email me to come to their weddings and are taken aback when I decline.

The tracks within Yes And Also Yes carries a vibrant and uplifting tone throughout and even in its darker emotive moments still has a twinkle in the eye kind of mischief. Do you write a song with a particular emotional purpose or do they evolve their own expression and emotion as they come together?

I just write them. I don’t really know where they’re going when I start, and I try and figure out what the song wants to be, rather than try and force it in a certain direction. That sounds like corny hippie shit, but it’s true. In fact, what a song really relates to, on its deepest level, sometimes doesn’t become obvious until I’ve been playing it for years.

Listening to your lyrics one cannot but be in awe at times of the way you use and link unexpected words into a natural union. When you write do you ‘visualise’ the words, feel them rather than just play with them on paper if that makes sense?

They’re definitely not intended to look good on paper, they’re meant to work sonically, absolutely in tandem with the melody, and the pocket in the rhythm they dwell in. I think about how they sound, as opposed to visually.

Is there a particular track or moment on the album that gives you personally an extra warm glow?

When my cellist, Andrew “Scrap” Livingston, says, “Shall we do it again?” before “Rational Man” it is really hilarious and strange to me–as he is extremely hilarious and extremely strange.

The album is very varied with an array of distinctly different sounds and wonderfully enterprising ‘additives’ coming together to make a truly mesmeric release. How does your songwriting evolve from that first seed of a song to the distinct creation you finish with?

I think I have an idea of how I want them arranged when I start writing. I think

The track Holiday (What Do You Want?) features Rosanne Cash, how did your link up with her come about?

She called me a great songwriter from the stage at a benefit show, and my jaw hit the floor. Then, a bunch of months later, there was a note in the chorus of “Holiday” that I was unable to hit, so I thought I’d find a female vocalist to do a harmony, and I could duck it. Before I called up some female vocalists, I just thought, Well, I’ll drop a line to Rosanne, and see if, by some weird twist of fate, she might want to do it as a full-on duet. And she did. WHOA.

Any chance you can teach all other artists how to not make terrible Xmas songs too?

Boy oh boy, the ones that I really hate are the ha-ha-Christmas-is-dumb songs. Too easy!

As you mentioned you wrote most of the songs for the album at an artists’ colony called Yaddo? For us unaware of this place could you elaborate on that and did it make the writing experience better or strikingly different to how you have composed in the past?

It was super fun. I had a studio in the woods. I was totally sequestered. It was pretty great and totally new for me, of course.

The album again is released by yourself. Apart from I am sure an increased work load, are you happier having your music released this way and what are the advantages?

The increased work load is serious–as is the increased expense. Though, allegedly, I’ll make more dough at the other end. Actually, labels have been pretty nice to me over the years, though, at every label, there’s some dude saying, “You should put a piano on that song,” basically so they can play it for other people and tell them the piano was their idea.

Do you think you needed to have gone through being on a label to understand and see you could release your work by yourself and make a living from it?

Very good question. I have a super enthused audience, very sharp, very interested and engaged. And, of course, I’ve toured like a motherfucker. I think that’s got more to do with it than specific label situations.

Can you give some reassuring words for those unsigned artists who still hold on to the belief that a label is the only way forward?

There’s a zillion ways to do it–the sad thing about the labels is that they basically paid for a van and a sound guy. It’s hard to win an audience unless you’re zooming around from show to show for a few years. It’s more difficult for younger artists–even amazingly talented ones.

I read that you are bipolar? Do you think this adds something different or extra to your music that others cannot find within themselves?

Wow, I don’t really know. Since I got medicated and stopped the fucking horrible side of that shit, the songs have been really good, but they weren’t too bad beforehand, either.

Who and what are the influences in music or outside that have had the biggest impact on you as a musician and songwriter?

I was hugely influenced by David Letterman (very absurdist talk show host) when I was a teenager. He’s incredibly poetic. Also the playwright David Mamet is a Jedi of verbal rhythm. A lot of alternative stuff as a teenager–Replacements, Billy Bragg–hip-hop as an older teenager–Tribe Called Quest, Casual, Craig Mack, the Beasties.

As mentioned earlier you also have your autobiography The Book of Drugs out too. I have yet to have the opportunity to read it so can you give some insight to it and the period of your life it deals with.

It’s a long, long time to summarize. Weird childhood on military bases, coming to New York as an 18-year-old in the late 80s, putting together a band that turned into a total toxic shitshow, a long love affair with drugs that turned into a fucked-up nightmare, then emerging from that, and the world being even stranger than it was before.

How did the writing process differ for the book compared to writing lyrics apart from the obvious?

For a song, if you write 30 words, you’ve had a ridiculously productive day!

The book is an honest and stark of your drug addiction and recovery; can you without giving away too much to stop people needing to buy the book, give a little insight into this?

I don’t really know. You need to find your people. In 12-step stuff, meetings, wherever, find the people who have what you want.

Your addiction problems were more concentrated at the time of your band Soul Coughing or were they in place before then too?

Oh, sure. When Soul Coughing turned to pure shit, that’s when I just decided to say fuck it and stop trying not to be wasted consciously, because life just wasn’t worth it.

Was your experience with the band, which was without doubt not a great time a major accelerant of your problems?

Oh yeah, see above. Though if you’re a certain kind of fucked-up person–as I am–you’re gonna find horrible abusive people no matter what. Had they gone down in a shipwreck, I’d have found another three awful people to be in a band with.

Obviously the book holds much more than the things we just talked of but as the title suggests your problems with drugs and addiction are the major elements. How did you feel whilst writing about this period of your life for the book and future public consumption?

I’ll pretty much tell anybody anything about myself. I don’t have a lot of secrets. I’ve told pretty much every one of these stories over dinner to somebody. I worried, for sure, about people in my life being hurt by what I said about them, though.

Going by your lyrical style and music I can imagine along with the honest portrayal of your life there is a healthy vein of humour too throughout the book, did that humour give you a strength during your darker times?

Yeah, the dark humor, the weird consciousness, that’s basically all I’ve got.

Will you consider another book in the future?

Love to, if I have a good idea.

What is next for you once the promotion for the album and book has passed?

Songs, more songs, always writing songs.

Are there live shows on the horizon, hopefully in the UK?

I sure hope so. Love the UK.

A great thanks for sharing your time for our questions, it has been a real pleasure.

Anytime, I really appreciate the opportunity.

Would you like to leave us with any last comments or thoughts?

I’m sure I’ll think of something really interesting to add 90 minutes after I send this to you!

And lastly knowing you as an inspired poet too would you give us your favourite couple of lines from either one of your pieces or a poem that inspired you?

Rita Dove: “If you can’t be free / Be a mystery.”

Read the Yes And Also Yes review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/mike-doughty-yes-and-also-yes/

RingMaster 17/02/2012

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Mike Doughty – Yes And Also Yes

The time for presents and treats maybe over with the festive season a swiftly departing memory but Mike Doughty in the form of his brand new album has presented the heart with one of the biggest gifts possible. From start to finish Yes And Also Yes is a glowing joy, a release rippling with well crafted exciting songs to offer a feast for the senses. Consisting of fourteen vibrant, witty and mesmeric indie pop songs the album gives an engaging and diverse presentation of inspired quality song writing and its realisation.

Yes And Also Yes is Doughty’s fourth album and a natural continuation of the sound that blessed previous release Sad Man Happy Man of 2009. It has not taken a giant leap on from its predecessor sound wise but the songs within Yes And Also Yes have a rounder feel, a more defined sound, I guess the best word for it is maturity. The album is as ever from the former Soul Coughing frontman full of fun, the wealth of great songs carrying a mischief that can only endear the album further. The title of the release comes from the headline for his profile on an online dating site and just epitomises the wordplay and humour he instinctively graces his songs with.

For those new to the man, Doughty’s music is an imaginative meld of indie, pop, subtle rock, folk, Americana and plenty more. Each track has an individual life that gives a great variety to the album, but to be honest it is the extra little offbeat and unique unpredictable sounds and twists that he often employs as additives to spice songs up that make the man really stand out far ahead of the crowd. Unpredictable and sometimes darkly surprising these moments elevate songs far beyond the norm though no song could ever be called predictable. Slight discordance, heart twanging strings, and skilful slightly dark inserts are among the enterprising ideas unveiled throughout the album to wonderful effect; he even uses a capsule of the antidepressant duloxetine for percussion.

Opening track and single ‘Na Na Nothing’ immediately sets the upbeat tone that veins the album even within its more emotive subdued moments and has the juices of anticipation running long before its end for what is ahead. It is incessantly catchy and impossible to resist joining in on for its chorus, the song simply and eagerly leaping through the ear to play joyfully and warmly on the senses. The overall sound on the track and often elsewhere especially vocally in songs is like a heady exhilarating mix of Frank Black and Graham Parker with splashes of choice Elvis Costello essences.

Into The Un’ a song about goth kids on LSD in a train station, continues the wonderful start but then again every song does so that by the closing note of Yes And Also Yes one has the same feeling as going through the first. The high level is maintained impressively but a few songs really played the heart like an instrument to satisfy and impress thoroughly such as ‘Strike The Motion’ with its pulsating mesmeric keys behind the song’s front giving as does the following ‘Have At It’ a stirring sound that plays like the union of Costello and Rocket From The Crypt, and ‘Makelloser Mann’. Brief and sung in German, Doughty simply singing a bunch of random, peculiar phrases, the music has a lovely B52’s sounding riff and melodically teasing keyboard, more evidence of the variety and creativity within the album.

The great songs keep coming, ‘The Huffer and the Cutter’ brilliantly worded and full of dark additives, ‘Rational Man’ with its irresistible acidic strings over a metronomic eagerness, and ‘Weird Summer’ with its vastly varied landscape of sounds and flows bringing a Green Day riff, Doughty rapping, and more disturbed strings, all to play with the senses. The country lined ‘Holiday (What Do You Want?)’ featuring Rosanne Cash has to be mentioned too, and for one that has as much enthusiasm for Xmas songs as TV talent shows have for quality the song was rather pleasing.

Released on Doughty’s own label Snack Bar January 23rd, the album is a must hear. We have not really touched on the great lyrics throughout but that can be an extra undiscovered treat on investigation the release for you.  The album coincides with the release of Doughty’s autobiography ‘Book of Drugs’. Dealing mainly with drugs, music, and the “weirdness, and messed-up-ness, of life in Soul Coughing” the book is another highly anticipated discovery.  Treat yourself to at least one; even better spoil yourself with both.

For more on both check out Mike Doughty’s official website @ http://www.mikedoughty.com

RingMaster 14/01/2012

 

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