Ghost of Vroom fuses art pop and rap on new single “Yesterday in California” - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

The recent project of singer/songwriter Mike Doughty and longtime collaborator Andrew “Scrap” Livingston is Ghost of Vroom; a genre-bending, anti-mainstream band formed in 2020 with one album and one EP to their name. Their newest release, Ghost of Vroom 3 is due out on Sept. 1st via Mod y Vi Records, and the new single “Yesterday in California” is a perfect place to get up to speed on the project.

The duo has once again brought on producer Mario Caldato Jr., who has formerly worked with artists such as the Beastie Boys, Beck, and Blur. Following the two singles “Pay the Man” and “Still Getting It Done” from earlier in 2023, “Yesterday in California” has a light, indie pop approach to its arrangement. Bassy strings and reverberant drums build the backbone of the track, while keys, twinkling bells, guitars and synths coat the surface. Vocally, Doughty is primarily singing for the first time in the Ghost of Vroom 3 singles, as the previous two featured mostly spoken-word-esque rapping.

In the 90s, Doughty fronted the beat jazz inspired rock group Soul Coughing, known for minor alternative radio hits “Super Bon Bon” and “Circles.” He embarked on a solo career in the 2000s, gaining traction with the acclaimed 2005 album Haughty Melodic. His track “Looking At the World From the Bottom of a Well” was featured on the show Grey’s Anatomy, and tracks such as “I Hear the Bells” and “27 Jennifers” proved to open a fruitful new chapter for Doughty. While mostly sticking to pop, rock, and alternative sounds, Doughty has tried more stripped-down acoustic recordings with the 2009 album Sad Man Happy Man, electronic synth-pop on 2014’s Stellar Motel, and rap-inspired vocal delivery on tracks like “(He’s Got the) Whole World (in His Hands).”

Scrap has been performing and recording alongside Doughty on cello or upright bass throughout his solo career, earning credits on six of Doughty’s solo albums. As of now, the upcoming Ghost of Vroom 3 is only available for pre-order on CD and vinyl through Doughty’s merch store. However, the album’s three singles are available on all streaming services. Watch the “Yesterday In California video below and explore more at the band’s website.

Ghost of Vroom - "Yesterday in California" (Official Music Video)
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