Soul Coughing's Mike Doughty Debuts New Band Ghost of Vroom - Rolling Stone
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Soul Coughing’s Mike Doughty Debuts New Band Ghost of Vroom With Surreal ‘Rona Pollona’

Track captures the ceaseless online scroll of the Covid-19 era

Mike Doughty, of the alt-rock outfit Soul Coughing, and longtime collaborator Andrew “Scrap” Livingston, have launched their new project, Ghost of Vroom, with a sardonic ode to the Covid-19 era, “Rona Pollona.” The track will appear on Ghost of Vroom’s debut EP, Ghost of Vroom 2, out September 25th via Mod y Vi Records.

“Rona Pollona” boasts a laid back groove of shuffling drums, twisting guitar and lazy cello strokes, recalling the way A Tribe Called Quest flipped Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” for “Can I Kick It?” The song finds Doughty transforming the ceaseless online scroll of the past few months into lyrical form, referencing Simpsons memes, cursing out Steve Mnuchin and alluding to President Donald Trump’s recommendation that drinking bleach could cure coronavirus (“Throw me in a sanitized SuperGulp cup”).

Befitting this extremely online stream-of-consciousness, “Rona Pollona” arrives with a lyric video that features an animated Instagram scroll that brings all of Doughty’s surreal musings to life.

Doughty had originally intended to reunite Soul Coughing, but decided instead to form Ghost of Vroom as a way to nod to the past while creating something new. The band’s name is a reference to a once-planned companion piece to Soul Coughing’s 1994 album, Ruby Vroom.

“It’s this ghostly version of Soul Coughing — this step that was never taken,” Doughty said in a statement. “That idea stepped out of my consciousness and said, ‘This is where you’re at.'”

Ghost of Vroom made Ghost of Vroom 2 with Beastie Boys collaborator Mario Caldato, Jr., with Doughty saying, “I was quaking in my shoes working with that guy, because I’m such a fan. He’s incredible at this sound we were making — the best in the business.”

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