DEAD BANDS: HUM

by chuck bell

The cruelest type of failure is that which occurs after a brief taste of success. Such was the case for Hum, whose single “Stars” received a fair amount of play on college radio stations in 1995. After recording their debut album, Electra 2000, with premier indie producer Steve Albini (Nirvana’s In Utero), Hum signed a deal with RCA Records. Their next release, You’d Prefer an Astronaut, is a heavy, ethereal pop record, firmly establishing the space rock genre. The driving rhythm section pulses as effects-laden guitars shred. Singer/guitarist Matt Talbot’s lyrics about spaceships and supernovas are delivered with assured reserve, causing the music to feel truly extraterrestrial.

Artist: Hum
Song: I’d Like Your Hair Long
Artist: Hum
Song: Green To Me


Despite the minor success that Hum enjoyed based upon the sales of this record, once “Stars” slipped into obscurity, any media attention they still had began to fade. Hum recorded a follow-up record in 1998, Downward is Heavenward. Sadly, the album only sold 30,000 copies, and the band were dropped from RCA. The real irony here is that this was by far Hum’s finest work. The opening track, “Isle of the Cheetah” opens with a lush acoustic guitar that explodes into one of the hugest riffs in history. The intended single “Green to Me” sounds like what Smashing Pumpkins should have sounded like in 1998. The entire album employs a wall of sound that immerses the listener in the detached, celestial world that Hum creates.

Hum broke up in 2000, and played two reunion shows in 2003 and 2005. The song “Stars” was featured this past year in a Cadillac commercial. Matt Talbott is currently playing with his band Centaur, in which he is able to indulge his tendency to draw songs out to more than eight minutes. Bassist Jeff Dimpsey resurrected a side project from before Hum called National Skyline. Neither band has come close to the commercial success of Hum, but these bands have such infrequent output that it seems that they have resumed their day jobs.

3 Comments

  1. Posted April 19, 2015 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    This piece of writing gives clear idea for the new visitors of blogging, that really how
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  2. Posted July 18, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Useful info. Lucky me I discovered your web site unintentionally, and I’m shocked why this accident did
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  3. Ryan
    Posted August 26, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    SO they aren’t dead and never were. Just cause you don’t hear them on the radio doesn’t make a band dead. They have played shows for years through the early 2000s to today in 2017. They are almost done recording a new album. BAD INFO

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