The former frontman of alt rock band Soul Coughing, Mike Doughty is on a constant mission to strive for the new. His ninth, and most recent solo album, ‘The Heart Watches While The Brain Burns’, was recorded during the time he moved from New York, which had served as his home base since the 1980s, to Memphis Tennessee, which he described as a “fascinating, mysterious town”. Mike completed the album with Hip Hop producer Good Goose, who was still in Queens New York, via the internet.
The relative low cost of living in Memphis meant that Mike didn’t have to work quite so hard as he had before, and he was free to make experimental music in bars around the city.
‘I Can’t Believe I Found You In That Town’, the first track from the album, was inspired by a failed attempt at romance in England’s north. Over a 36 hour period, Mike became infatuated with a woman, then over too strong with her on Instagram, wrote a song about the failure while stress-eating pastry in a pub, and then worked out the song on his guitar in his dressing room.
The song is a rollicking good tune, with Mike’s raspy, almost drawling vocal, and the driving guitar and country style drumming propel the song with a great force right through to the end – when all drops and you’re left with Mike’s vocals alone – poignant and forlorn, suggesting the love has ended.
The title, ‘The Heart Watches While The Brain Burns’, comes from a podcast by Marc Maron, a friend of Doughty’s, who he got to know back in the late 1990s, on the East Village comedy circuit. Originally it referenced chewing nicotine gum, in his effort to give up smoking. When Mike asked Marc if he could use the line as an album title, Maron said, “Use it and throw me a bone”.
The video tells of summer love on the Coney Island boardwalk. The young couple are enjoying each other’s company, among the classic landmarks of The Wonder Wheel, The Wild Mouse and so on. Look closely to see the Mike Doughty tshirts being given away as prizes, and worn by passers by!
‘The Heart Watches While The Brain Burns’, including the single, ‘I Can’t Believe I Found You In That Town’, is available on iTunes, Amazon, and in his website store. You can find Mike Doughty online on his aforementioned website, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Check Songkick for upcoming live dates.