In the ’90s, there were a few college rock bands that produced this decade’s wise, sage-like music festival singer-songwriter staples. Ben Folds Five spawned the solo career of Ben Folds. Radish spawned the solo career of Ben Kweller. Pulp? Jarvis Cocker. But one of the unsung greats of the ’90s was a band called Soul Coughing. They broke up in the year 2000, but ever since then, frontman Mike Doughty is still writing, recording, and publishing books of poetry.
Mike Doughty has some incredible physical media on the market. There’s his awesome poetry book Slanky, his work with Soul Coughing, and his solo records. But Doughty is at his best in front of an audience. There’s a reason why he sold out all three of his upcoming Chicago dates. Aside from being a terrific performer, he’s a genuinely funny guy and a prolific songwriter. He’s one of the best music festival performers I’ve ever seen.
Mike Doughty – “Casper The Friendly Ghost” (from Sad Man Happy Man)
Mike played two sold out shows at Schubas on Oct. 15 and he’s got another one at Lincoln Hall tonight for Schubas’ 20th anniversary. Get to Craigslist, folks. Here’s his list.
1) Blues Control – “Good Morning” (from Local Flavor) – “I don’t know much about this band. They might be local—New York, I mean. I refuse to Google. A great droney post-punk trancey thing. Fantastic weird splashy piano buried in the guitars.”
2) Ashlee Simpson – “La La” (from Autobiography) – “This is NOT an ironic choice. Not, not, not, not not. Did I mention not? This is the greatest AC/DC song not by AC/DC. I am serious as a busted leg here. Listen hard to the chorus and tell me I’m wrong.”
3) Matt Krefting – “To Lay Me Down” (from I Couldn’t Love You More) – “Another guy I don’t know much about. Wonderful elegiac song over sizzly electricky guitar weirdness.”
4) Henry Thomas – “Bob McKinney” (from Henry Thomas) – “Recorded in the 1920s, what this guy played was actually, like, the hot joints of 1890. So it has this ghostly quality of coming from the pre-recorded era. The song is about fucking somebody else’s girlfriend on a pillow beside the bed rather than in the bed, so the poor cuckolded dude won’t be able to tell.”
5) Traffic Sound – “White Deal/Poco/Big Deal” (from Lux) – “This is a Peruvian rock band from the late ’60s. Great psychedelic folky bustly little romp.”