In 2004, on a little known beloved TV show called “Veronica Mars”, I heard my first Mike Doughty song. “I Hear The Bells” is a delicious taste of what was to come in Mike Doughty’s post-Soul Coughing solo career.
The really cool thing about Mike’s music is that distinctive voice and wit, on songs like “27 Jennifers” and “Looking at the World from the Bottom of the Well.”
By his ninth solo album, The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns, you’d figure he would have slipped into a comfortable pattern, but Mike Doughty is not that kind of artist. He is obsessively, constantly driven to sound new. The elegant, charming album swerves between lonesome country influences, and trap beats.
The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns was recorded during a transitional phase in Doughty’s life, in which he left New York, his home base since the late ‘80s, for the “fascinating, mysterious town” of Memphis, Tennessee. The low cost of living has given Doughty freedom to make experimental music in bars around the city, while completing the album with Queens, NY hip-hop producer Good Goose over the Internet.
The first single, “I Can’t Believe I Found You in That Town,” was inspired by a failed romantic connection in a grim city in the North of England. In a total of about 36 hours, Doughty became enchanted with a woman, came on too strong over Instagram, and then wrote a song about the botched encounter while stress-eating pastry in a pub, then racing back to his dressing room to work out the song on guitar.
For the new video Doughty taps into his NYC roots one more time to deliver a sweet tale of young love on the Coney Island boardwalk. All of the classic landmarks are there, like the Wonder Wheel and the Wild Mouse, not to mention a fair share of Mike Doughty t-shirts being worn by men, women, and children of all walks of life. What makes the seaside resort so unique is the people and the diverse collection of personalities that come together each summer to this bohemian paradise. Amongst the crowd is a young couple enjoying the sights and sounds of the night, but most importantly they’re enjoying each other’s company. It’s a little slice of unexpected young summer love and from the boardwalk to the beach it is a perfect sayonara to the summer.
Watch the video here.
Mike Doughty’s Official Website
I’m still mourning, to some extent, that Doughty isn’t still with Soul Coughing. I’ll cue up “Ruby Vroom” every once in a while and groove. Loved that combo of Doughty and the slanty hip-hop of the crew.