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El Oso

Soul Coughing

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Album Review

One approaches this album with trepidation. Can they really do it again? Can the band that single-handedly defined postmodern white-boy funk poetry in 1994 with Ruby Vroom and dodged the sophomore slump with deceptive ease two years later come up with something just as good that isn't simply rehash? The answer is a qualified yes, and they do it by leaving the skeleton — bare-bones funky drums, big string bass, scratchy guitar — mostly the same, while fleshing out the vocals a bit and yoking the pointillistic samples to the wagon of the song, at least part of the time. Thus, on "Circles," the album's first single, you have overdubbed harmonies (!) and a bleeping synth that supports the chorus rhythmically. And you could actually sing along with "Blame." That's not to say that this stuff is exactly tuneful — poetry and groove are still the whole point. But it's nice to hear M. Doughty hauling off and singing every so often. Nothing here packs quite the same revelatory wallop as "Blue-Eyed Devil" or "Casiotone Nation" did, but then, the revelation has already been received. That doesn't make it any less valuable. Or any less funky.

Customer Reviews

Even better than Ruby Vroom!

What a great progression! This band gets better and better. Let's hope they have more to offer soon. In the meantime download this one. Like Ruby Vroom, don't bother with individual songs. There is a 'whole album feel' here. Like their other recordings, this one seems to have lasting power and gets better the more you listen. 'Blame' and 'Rolling' seem the be the first to hit through, and 'Circles' was a single. '$300' and 'The Incumbant' seem to be a second wave. My description: 'Wisdom in Waves'!


THIS is my favourite Soul Coughing album. It's proper avant-garde stuff y'know - iTunes says it was released in 1900. Darn it, you guys were so ahead of your time.
But really, you NEED to listen to this album, as well as any other Soul C stuff you haven't heard because you are missing out! This is the sort of album that never leaves you feeling bored.


Formed: 1992 in New York City, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

One of the most unique cult bands of the '90s, Soul Coughing anchored a new crop of quirky, unclassifiable bands that emerged in the post-grunge era, including Morphine, the Eels, and Cake. Driven by frontman M. Doughty's stream-of-consciousness poetry, Soul Coughing's sound was a willfully idiosyncratic mix of improvisational jazz grooves, oddball samples, hip-hop, electronics, and noisy experimentalism (described by Doughty as "deep slacker jazz"). Even at the height of the alternative rock era,...
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El Oso, Soul Coughing
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