mike doughty


V.23 No.5 | 1/30/2014

Music

Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights

Folk master Pete Seeger passed away this past Monday at the age of 94. Sources say it was due to natural causes. This is a sad loss for music, but Seeger's legacy will for sure live on … and his songs will always retain the zeal and prosperity he showed while playing. From creating an anthem for civil rights to performing an inaugural show for President Barack Obama, this man was a legacy in his own. And Pete, this one's for you …

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti was introduced by a friend while driving in his car and smoking a joint as the Corpus Christi heat beat down on our bodies from outside half-tinted windows. Those were the days. I immediately liked his lo-fi basement recordings, but never kept up with his later pursuits. And now Pink is teaming up with producer Justin Raisen, and together they are production duo Raw Deal. They've been working with a band called the Garden, based out of California. You can read more about that collaboration at Pitchfork.

Former Burqueño Willis Earl Beal released his second album (Nobody knows.) last year, and while it wasn't a stellar release, it had some good moments. (See “Coming Through,” which features Cat Power.) And now Beal has recorded a third album, titled A Place That Doesn't Exist. It contains more of the lo-fi intonations of his first record, but his voice is always front and center. And what a voice it is. He announced that he'd like to “give it away for free,” but the album hasn't come out. However, you can stream it below!

I'm sure some people are about to shit themselves … or at least fart from excitement. Singer-songwriter Mike Doughty posted some tracks that feature Elliott Smith's vocals (deeming them “new” tracks.) He went on to specify that they are new (or at least unreleased) in that Smith recorded the vocals in 1998, to be “sliced/diced over beats.” You can read more about that and hear the tracks over at A.V. Club.

I'm sure most Burqueños know about Deerhoof, what with band member John Dieterich calling this burg home now. And considering they've been making music since the '90s, it's no wonder they've gained a massive following, if not an adoring fanbase. And after coming out with their 11th record in 2012, the band seems to be riding that engine with some lasting intent, seeing as how they've come out with a music video for album-cut “Flowers.” You can watch that below.

'Til this day, the cover of Eels' Beautiful Freak haunts me. I never bought the album, but seeing it on the shelves at Best Buy when I was in my formative years (you know … between six and nine years old), I always stopped to pick it up. And I always wondered if I'd get the courage to ask my mom to buy it for me. I never did. Instead I saved that courage for Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals when I was 10. That was a doozy. I digress … Mark Oliver Everett (the main man behind Eels) has come out with a new track, off The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett (which hits stores on April 22). The song (“Agatha Chang”) is a sentimental yet somber tune that I'll gladly add to my collection. You can hear that at Consequence of Sound.

Pixies recently released a brand new collection of material in the form of EP2. And as Alibi writer August March pointed out, the release was kind of underwhelming. But seriously … what can you expect? Kim Deal's not in the band anymore. And you know home-gurl added the most fire to the festivities. But now the band has come out with a video for their track “Magdalena.” You can view that below.

It's no secret that the Russian government has treated the LGBTQ community with the upmost disrespect, if not outright hate. And to bring attention to Russian activists fighting the good fight in support of gay rights, Melissa Etheridge formed a coalition to support them. She also wrote a song, “Uprising of Love,” to coincide with the movement. You can hear that below.

I mentioned a while back that Strokes guitar player Albert Hammond Jr. was coming out with a solo EP (AHJ). Well that collection is out and about, but now Hammond has shared a visual representation for one of the tracks from said release (“Strange Tidings”). You can view that below.

Karen O, frontwoman of art-rockers Yeah Yeah Yeahs, is no stranger to covers. She's tackled “Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” made famous by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. She's taken on Led Zeppelin's “Immigrant Song.” And now, she's covering Bob Marley's “I Shot the Sheriff.” She recorded the song with Sam Spiegel (of N.A.S.A.), and it's here for your listening pleasure.

You 'member Sarah McLachlan? You know … the one that founded Lilith Fair and was on that really sad dog commercial that made me cry every time it aired on public access? No? Oh, she's also a singer. Yeah, if you were around in the '90s, you remember her. I had an older sister who had her album Surfacing, so let's just say I remember her well. Aside from that, McLachlan has just signed with Verve and is coming out with a new record (Shine On) on May 6. You can read more about that over at Billboard.

V.19 No.9 | 3/4/2010

Mike Doughty’s Lost Interview

A couple of weeks ago before the former Soul Coughing frontman came to town, I sent him some e-mail questions, hoping to do an article for the music section. I never heard back—or so I thought. I put together this little number at the last minute, blowing deadline and annoying my coworkers. (They were actually quite nice about it, but still ... )

Then, what should I fish out of my voracious spamtrap but the lost Doughty interview. Magical.

What did you do today? Where are you?

I had a cup of coffee and sat down to type out this interview. I'm in Austin, TX.

How has your live show evolved on this tour?

The song selection changes from night to night—I don't use a set list. I just have a clock onstage to make sure I don't go on too long. I figure out the songs as I go along.

What do you hope people take away from your live show?

A fantabulous, life-changing experience!

Have you ever hit the road alone? Is it weird to tour as a solo artist?

Yeah, I've toured a lot by myself. Besides the obvious challenge of loneliness, it's pretty liberating to be out there by yourself.

The lyrics for your later work deliver meaning, stories and scenes more directly than your Soul Coughing material. How has your process changed over time?

My process has mostly stayed the same—it's me that's changed.

You're known for making killer word choices. How do you find your words? What makes a word or phrase appealing to you?

I listen for the sound of the word as much for the meaning.

Do you also write other things, or mostly lyrics?

I write some prose. Working on a book, but it's been tough going.

Do you ever get sick of talking about your lyrics?

Nah, not really.

Who's your favorite lyricist?

Stephin Merritt.

Favorite MC?

Probably Jay-Z.

I was surprised, when I listened to your latest release, that your guitar instincts are so bluesy. Do you listen to a lot of music that sounds like that?

No, I'm a huge John Lee Hooker fan. He's a big influence on me as a guy playing guitar and singing alone.

What else do you play?

A little bass, and really crude keyboards. I play with two fingers, like a techno producer.

What's the last album you bought?

Love Power Peace, Live in Paris 1972 by James Brown.

Do you have a favorite song that's being played on mainstream FM radio right now?

I love "Bad Romance."

Have you always been into music, or is it something you picked up later in life?

I became obsessed with music at age 12, when I discovered Led Zeppelin.

If you weren't a musician, what would you do for a living?

I have no idea. I'm not much good at anything else.

Was there ever a time when you wanted to stop being a musician and a performer altogether?

Sometimes. It can be a lonely life.

Do you think of yourself as lucky?

Yes, very much so!