Soul Coughing – Ruby Vroom

ARTIST: Soul Coughing 220px-Rubyvroom
TITLE: Ruby Vroom
SINGLES: Down to This, Sugar Free Jazz, Screenwriter’s Blues
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Is Chicago, Is Not Chicago; Casiotone Nation; Bus to Beelzebub
LINEUP: M. Doughty, Mark de Gil Antoni, Sebastian Steinberg, Yuval Gabay
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Combining beatnik poetry, sampling and jazz, a hipster band releases their hipster debut for hipsters, dig?

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Nothing really sounded like Soul Coughing in 1994. The nation was still enthralled by grunge, and sampling was the purview of the hip-hop community. Soul Coughing turned that on its head.

It was clever, funny, appealing and well-produced. The samples were integrated well, and the musicians all floated in and around them. Doughty’s poetry and rantings also were well-conceived even if some were, in fact, off the cuff.

Like most 90’s albums in the CD era, this goes on a bit too long. A couple of cuts could have been held back for B-sides. Still, though, this is a innovative album that you should check out, if for nothing else the inventiveness of “Casiotone Nation” and “Bus to Beelzebub”.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The great sample in “Bus to Beelzebub” is “Powerhouse” by Raymond Scott – better known as music in a badillion Warner Brothers’ cartoons. You’ve heard it. This also went gold in the US, even though it never charted.


GRADE: A-: A little too long, but clever, inventive and appealing.

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