Coughy began as a late night recording experiment at a performing arts summer camp, formed by two musical associates — Julian, who I know from his band Ava Luna, and Andy, who I know from his bands Laser Background and Speedy Ortiz.
As I recall, when they first sent me these recordings, their email read less like a demo pitch and more like, “hey- check out what we made!”, without any expectations of JNR releasing it whatsoever. I remember my initial response was something like, “thanks for sending and thanks for acknowledging that there is zero chance we will release y’alls weird side project.”
But fast forward about 6 months, and Coughy is the only thing I want to listen to… I just kept coming back to it. I came to find out that Andy and Julian created these songs by challenging each other to write one minute "tiny songs", and packing as many logical twists and turns into the confines of 60 seconds as possible. This approach made for some carefree, honest and meaningful music - which I found is a great antidote to the crippling Trumpian negativity I encounter on a daily basis.
Having now listened to the album about 800 times, I think I may have identified what is so special about this band:
There is a magic earnestness in Coughy’s music. So much music these days is so desperately trying to achieve something... The majority of bands seem to be formed with the intention of attaining a particular “sound” before the first note has even been played... Not these guys. This is straight from the playful heart of creation. Which doesn’t mean they exist in a vacuum without influences. These guys clearly come from the world of lo-fi indie rock, and it shows. But I think the fact that they both already have their “real bands” freed them up to do whatever they wanted with this music, free of consequence. And that is the reason I love it even more than their “real” bands.
Take a listen to Ocean Hug and prove me wrong.