Under 100,000: Soft Cough is a Band You Don’t Want to Miss Out On


Wyatt Becker, Reporter

Have you ever thought, “Boy, I sure love music, but I’d like to have some more recommendations?” Or maybe you’ve found yourself thinking, “I love music, but I wish I could branch out more.” You might even be saying, “Music is great, but it’d be better if I listened to band’s no one has ever heard of.”

Well boy, do I have the series for you!

Welcome to “Under 100,000,” a new series of music reviews that focuses on artists and bands with under 100,000 listeners on Spotify. My name’s Wyatt, and I’ve got a bit of an obsession with listening to underground bands. If you’re up to the task, read, and even listen along as I review all different kinds of music. Today, in our first edition, we’re reviewing the band Soft Cough!

First, though, before we get into that, let me run you through the format we’ll be following for the foreseeable future of this series. Basically, I’ll give you a short run-down of the artist, but I won’t waste much time getting into the review (even though I’m doing exactly that right now). I’ll do a short review, about a sentence, for each song, except for my three favorite songs from the artist, which will get a longer review. Accompanying each song with be a rating out of ten, same with each album, then an overall rating for the artist.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s get into it!

Soft Cough is a band from New York, formed in Geneseo, right outside of Rochester. The band consists of guitarists/vocalists Nick Koithan and Dan Pugh, along with bassist Tom Kohn and drummer Ben Freiman. College students looking for a way to pass the time, the band formed out of a mutual interest in Bedroom Pop and Indie Rock, and Soft Cough brings a beautiful blend of both in their music.

As of writing this, Soft Cough has one album, a debut that is self-titled, with 10 songs on it. Each one has a distinct sound, as the band is rather experimentalist. Additionally, singing switches off between Nick and Dan, dividing up the songs into unique listening experiences even further. Without any further ado, let’s start the review!


Album: “Soft Cough”


“Mouthbreather”: A relaxed, rather calming song to lead off the album. With a touch of comedic sarcasm as well, this song earns a 7/10.

“Tray Tables Up (Mother’s Day”): A slow and quiet song, “Tray Tables Up” delivers that comforting sound of the Bedroom Pop genre while the lyrics get a bit morbid. This song gets a 6/10.

“Hosono”: “Hosono” is my second favorite song from Soft Cough. The song details the singer apologizing to a man named Hosono as he struggles to find his way forward in life. This song isn’t a tear jerker like “Sea Dogs and Pyrite”, but it certainly is full of emotions in it’s own way. When listening to it, it’s clear that each of the band members had their role to play in the production of the song, each instrument getting a perfect moment to shine in this song. That’s really where most of the strengths of this song come from, though that is not to say that the lyrics and vocals aren’t amazing as well. This song earns an 8/10.

“Spooky Sounds At Wadsworth Homestead”: One of the more chaotic and experimental songs on the album, this song is a great listening experience if you like soft indie rock. 7/10.

My favorite song from the band, “Sea Dogs and Pyrite” holds a special place in my heart. Right off the bat, just the strumming of the guitar with a subtle bass in the back makes you just feel emotional.

“Sea Dogs and Pyrite”: My favorite song from the band, “Sea Dogs and Pyrite” holds a special place in my heart. Right off the bat, just the strumming of the guitar with a subtle bass in the back makes you just feel emotional. Then, once Dan’s singing comes in, it’s another story. What seems to be the thoughts of a person slowly but surely drifting away from their friends make excellent and emotional lyrics, and the message of this song is explicit and clear. Dan’s singing really takes this to another level, his talented but unrefined voice a perfect match for the haunting tone of the song. I’m happy to give this song a 9/10.

“Jackson Pollock”: This song was almost my third choice for favorite songs on the album. However, just because it didn’t make the podium doesn’t mean it isn’t a great song, which teaches some art history while you listen to it. 8/10.

“Car Song”: A quiet, almost haunting love song about cars on the freeway, the unique feeling of the song compared to the others on the album gets it a 6/10.

“Croak!”: The bronze medalist for this band, but still an excellent song. The track starts off with an excellent melody on a guitar, luring the listener into a calming, but false sense of security. The intro lasts about 40 seconds, the total runtime of the song only being 2 minutes and 26 seconds. However, I think this is a great aspect of the song, symbolizing the calming atmosphere of a river or lake. This is because the song follows a frog, plucked unceremoniously from its log and taken into a biology lab and, well, I don’t think I need to say more.

After the intro, the song launches into an energetic and upbeat tune that instantly grabs you and pulls you in. There’s not much to say about it, other than that you really need to listen to it to get the full experience. The electric guitar and drums blend perfectly with the quick and erratic singing from Dan, who does a great job of capturing the emotions of a frog who’s about to be dissected. Everything this song gives you comes together perfectly, earning it an 8/10.

“Like a Gun”: A more traditional love song than “Car Song”, “Like a Gun” ultimately falls flat, as it misses that ‘Soft Cough’ sound. Still, it’s not a bad song, maybe just a bit boring. 5/10.

“Joey Ramone”: The most experimental song on the album, it misses the mark, and by a lot. A disappointing final track on the album, though it does gain points for having a solid transition into it from “Like a Gun”. 4/10.


And that is all the songs that Soft Cough have currently put out! This band is really something special. To me, they perfectly mix together the relaxing atmosphere of Bedroom Pop or Shoegaze with the rough and unrefined sounds of Indie or Garage Rock. Meanwhile, their lyrics cram tons of emotion and meaning into the songs, making them memorable listens. Overall, I’d give the band a 7/10, with their titular album getting the same rating.

Finally, if I had to recommend one song to you, which would it be? This one was hard, and took a lot of debating. While I do love “Sea Dogs and Pyrite”, and it will always be one of my favorite songs, I think “Croak!” is much more interesting and memorable. With a unique sound and a track length that doesn’t pull any punches, “Croak!” is short and sweet, and shines because of it. For that reason, I’m recommending it to you.

With a unique sound and a track length that doesn’t pull any punches, “Croak!” is short and sweet, and shines because of it. For that reason, I’m recommending it to you.

And, that’s it! To anyone who reads to the bottom of this article, thank you so much! My name’s Wyatt, I’m a music nerd with a bit of an individuality complex, and I’ll see you in the next installment of “Under 100,000!”