It’s been ten years since The Humms were a’suckin’ on your brain juice through a cactus straw with their debut album, Lemonland. That far-out freakout established the Athens band’s no-boundaries nature, playing like a weekend at an all-encompassing ‘60s rock festival where there’s hippie country tunes over here, a groovy beat combo in the other direction, surfin’ birds around the bend and psychedelic garage-rock boomin’ over yonder, and damned if you didn’t just gobble a handful of goofy pills that naked, mud-caked freakazoid was giving away on the banks of the frog pond. Its post-Mothers weirdness was a hit-or-miss smorgasbord, but it was mostly right on.
Inactive between 2013 and 2017, The Humms (anchored by vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Zeke Sayer, pictured) have re-emerged with a fresh assortment of (mostly brief) strange trips. Lemonland kicked off with a zany psychobilly stomper titled “Blood Sucking Vampire,” and the Dracula boots still fit as the new LP is called Vampire Hours.
Recorded with steady bass guitarist Matt Garrison throughout and original drummer John Bleech on three tracks, as well as contributing musicians including Laura Carter (Elf Power) and Dave Kirslis (Cicada Rhythm), Vampire Hours successfully reflects the group’s ongoing adventurous spirit, but although there are occasional jarring lurches, the trip is generally subtler this go’round rather than in-your-face. There are easygoing folk-rock elements mingling with what sound like diffusions from desert ghost-town saloon shadow figures engaged in a séance. More often than not the songs strike like snippets and sketches. But they sound cool.
Available on vinyl and digital download through Sayer’s Gypsy Farm label (also the name of his Lavonia, Georgia recording studio), Vampire Hours will officially be released Sept. 29, but will also be available in selected indie shops on the upcoming Record Store Day mini-events on Aug. 29 and Sept. 26. You can also pre-order it through the Gypsy Farm Bandcamp page.