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Mike Doughty’s darkly told memoir of his Soul Coughing days, The Book of Drugs, stands out in the world of rock autobiographies. His personal misery and frustrations with what became of his songs led to this reworking of the Soul Coughing catalog. But since most fans have established relationships with many of the songs here, this solo revelation is more challenging than an album of all-new material. But if one can take these songs at face value and not compare them to the versions released approximately 20 years ago (a tall order, for sure), the material takes on a singular quality. It shows a literate, cutting social writer singing his observations to drum machines, acoustic guitars, and sparse electronic arrangements. Doughty’s musicologist side emerges during the appropriately titled “Mr. Bitterness.” Those who enjoyed Soul Coughing's jazzy-noir hyphenated style-shifts might be disappointed by Doughty’s straightforward, no-nonsense approach here, but fans of his distinct vocals and unyielding world views will feel right at home hanging with the man one on one.

Customer Reviews

It's the Bea Arthur's Niece!

If it's true that great men come in packages of three, then Mssr Mikael "Shannon Elizabeth" Doughty is truly the thruppencest of all grammophonetical entrepeneurs. I'll never forget what he said to me that October evening. "Eric," he breathed (I didn't correct him), "I'll give you a nautical mile if you read to me from FINNEGAN'S WAKE (the good part, the part with the lettuce wrap)." I looked him square in the rounds and said, "Listen, dogpatch, I'm not your Willy Wonka, but a deal's a deal" (I didn't actually say that, but it was implied in the way I dabbed on my cold cream). Next thing I knew, he and I were hitching a ride down the Bowery inside a dusty old Westphalia that smelled distinctly like Karl Malden. We got matching tattoos. His said "Taylor? Swift!" Mine said, "f(x)=f(a)+f′(a)(x−a)+f′′(a)(x−a)22!+⋯+f(n−1)(a)(x−a)n−1(n−1)!+Rn x a lot of speed." Now we live together in Gurnee, Illinois, and my teeth have never been whiter. Copyright 2013 Snack Bar, indeed.

(It's a real good album, is what I'm saying.)

This album is not for Charles Manson's descendants

Mike Doughty returns to exhume the corpse of Soul Coughing songs past and breathe new life into them with his magical ocarina (seriously, that's what he calls it). Laying a Ouija board on the earth, he whispers to the treacherous drummer, "This is what it was supposed to sound like...". The new songs will climb into your brain and writhe around masticating (read it again, filthy brain) the memories of the old versions until nothing is left but an engorged earworm of rapturous profundity and fecundity and other undities. Ermahgerd, ert's Serl Ckerfing. Put on your three wolves t-shirt and strap on your... best not mention it... The rocket's about to lift off and there is no cheese on earth that tastes like this one. Largely becuase it's not a cheese and you cannot consume it.


Doughty's new album has a lovely fruit-forward quality, notes of pepper, oak, and rasberry jam, insouciant but never cloying. My favorite part was when the ink went up the wrong pipe and shot into my nose and made me sneeze.


Born: June 10, 1970 in Fort Knox, KY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Before emerging as a solo artist, Mike Doughty (known as M. Doughty during the early stages of his career) was best known as the frontman of the unique avant-garde group Soul Coughing. Formed in 1992, Soul Coughing took shape after Doughty met Yuval Gabay, Sebastian Steinberg, and Mark de Gli Antoni while working as a doorman at the Knitting Factory, a staple of New York City's underground music scene. The four musicians signed with Slash/Warner Bros. in 1993 after making a name for themselves on...
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Circles, Mike Doughty
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