1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative's Greatest Year

Green Day, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and 35 other bands who made the word "alternative" lose all meaning

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Soul Coughing, 'Ruby Vroom'
Courtesy of Slash Records33/40

33. Soul Coughing, 'Ruby Vroom'

What was the elevator pitch for these guys? Slam-poet, pulp fiction enthusiast, and occasional rock critic from the downtown NYC avant-jazz scene teams with a heavy cocktail-funk rhythm section and a sampler player prone to bursts of Ren & Stimpy's favorite composer, Raymond Scott. Oh yeah, and producer Tchad Blake is gonna run the vocals through mufflers and bullhorns sometimes. If leader Mike Doughty's memoir, The Book of Drugs, is to be believed, then his bandmates were musically gifted egomaniacs whose quirks kept him from making the songs he wanted to hear. But maybe it was that very friction that made Ruby Vroom an unlikely hit. Christopher R. Weingarten

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