Mike Doughty—who at one time worked the door at the Knitting Factory—fronted the NYC quartet Soul Coughing in the ’90s. But when they broke up in 2000, he decided to go it alone, releasing his first solo LP, Skittish (stream it below), which he’d actually recorded four years earlier. Doughty has been a busy man ever since, touring, putting out more albums and even finding time to become a blogger and author known for his sense of humor. Last October, Doughty (above, performing “Madeline and Nine” live at Paste Studio) released his ninth studio album—and 19th overall—The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns (stream it below), the first he’s recorded since leaving behind NYC for Memphis, Tenn. “Whether it be the influence of age, Memphis, or a musical phase, The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns finds a relatively more mature and steady Doughty, both in sound and tone, and it suits his often world-weary observational sketches,” according to AllMusic. The singer-songwriter is currently on the road with the biggest band he’s ever toured with: a cello/bass player, drums, a second guitarist, an organist, plus a backing vocalist. The show consists of basically live remixing. Using hand gestures, Doughty improvises changes in what the musicians in the band are doing—stopping, starting, getting louder or quieter, changing their parts, repeating their parts. The songs are Soul Coughing songs and Doughty solo songs, but none are ever performed the same way twice. Don’t miss Mike Doughty on Friday at Music Hall of Williamsburg and on Saturday at The Bowery Ballroom. Brooklyn six-piece Wheatus open both shows.