The Shoal Creek Stranglers marked their first public performance in over two years during three nights of Illumine 2023, a special after-dark event hosted annually at the historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, Ga.
Special thanks to the Master Gardener, Historic Oakland Foundation, & J Cobb for the photograph.
We sent field correspondent, Plez Jay, out to catch up with record producer, Skud Harris, & briefly talk production techniques employed during The Humms’ recording sessions for Pelzer Fuck Club.
PJ: You keep odd hours.
SH: Yeah, I don’t think the band (Humms) were too excited about early morning sessions at first.
PJ: Well, the proof is in the pudding, yes?
*long pause, as Harris searches his pockets for a cigar lighter.
SH: Everyone’s got appearances to keep up. You’ve got to tend to the garden or shovel the walk. Do you understand what I’m saying?
PJ: I think so.
PJ: How did Bleech (John Bleech, drummer) & yourself approach recording drums on this record?
SH: I had to sneak up on him (Bleech).
SH: On the song Singing Pines for example, he wasn’t even aware that we were rolling. I’m not sure any of them (Humms) were.
PJ: Tell me about the microphones.
SH: I’m horrible with names & numbers. I left a lot of that to them.
SH: They know what they like to use & usually have it set up already. I remember the broadcast mic (Electro-Voice RE20) hanging around a lot for vocals, guitar/bass cab & kick.
SH: I did like the Audix i5 & used it quite a bit, actually.
SH: And that was running into an SSL channel.
PJ: What did you find yourself using it on?
SH: Everything! Literally. One song on PFC was entirely recorded with i5 microphones.
PJ: Which one?
SH: I’ll never tell you.
*Harris fills the small interview area with a cloud of cigar smoke as he erupts into laughter.
PJ: Could you elaborate on the guitar sounds? specifically the distortions on PFC?
SH: There were different devices that we used. A Viking preamp ripped from an old reel-to-reel machine, blasting the input stage of the SSL directly was a favorite & I had to keep them from over-using it.
PJ: What does a record producer do, in your mind?
SH: I help artists paint themselves out of a corner.
PJ: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me, Skud.
Harris stabs out his cigar with one hand, reaching into his jacket pocket with the other, offering up a surprise, in true “more-than-you-can-chew” fashion.
Unfolding the faded, yellow slip of paper, he admits:
“This is one of my little lists of Life-Savers”
“Things that help counter down the time between any unforeseen issues that may crop up during a recording session, but use at your own risk.”
Steel Spring Clamps For those times when you needed three hands & you’ve used up all your tape on the drummer’s mouth.
Moving Blankets Several applications. Aided by the previously mentioned spring clamps. Take a couple mic stands & make your own safe space.
Comfortable Clothing This can be as simple as bringing an extra pair of socks. Don’t come at me wearing flip flops in February.
WD-40 This will fix everything from noisy door hinges, to stubborn band van lug nuts. Spray away from any microphone grills. Better yet, cover those grills. Just go outside.
Cable checker This handy device streamlines the trouble-shooting process, & some offer a variety of tools for testing, like a Tone-Generator(Behringer CT100).
Rechargeable Batteries Go ahead & remove any old batteries in gear that isn’t going to be cycled on for a while. Clean up old battery acid once, & it gets easier to remember these simple things.
Mini-screw driver set You may need to open compartments that use super tiny fixtures and no one needs a stripped screw.
Mini-metal pliers These have gotten me out of a jam more times than I can count.
Lights! Some bulbs can effect certain people & remember, not every one likes lava lamps.
Mini-Vice Grips They come in handy, in more ways than one.
The Humms, Pelzer Fuck Club (produced by Harris) is available now from Gypsy Farm Records on vinyl, cassette, & where all fine music is streamed.
Once again, here we are. If you’re laying eyes upon this, congratulations on making it through yet another rotation around the sun.
Gypsy Farm events of note this year were the release of Pelzer F**k Club (catalog number: GF013) by experimental group, The Humms.
Issued on vinyl & cassette, it is the band’s third full-length album since forming in 2008.
Following GF013, we were ecstatic to announce the release of GF014, the sequel to 2021’s Tape Feed cassette, the proceeds of which were donated to the food bank of Northeast Georgia via Feeding America, helping to serve some 1,200 meals.
This year, we saw volume 2 of the Tape Feed series release, made possible by the Athens Area Arts Council & issued on purple-swirl cassette shell.
Packed with tracks by Gypsy Farm bands like: The Ice Creams, Outersea, Thee Crucials, The Humms, Marble Soup, The Drovers Old Time Medicine Show, Tommy Powell, Shoal Creek Stranglers & more.
As with vol 1, net proceeds of the tape are being collected & directed to the Feeding America network of food banks in an effort to help offset & curb the waste of food.
And now friends, we encourage you to enjoy our year-end benediction playlist, in no such order, provided here & below courtesy of Bandcamp, on which we ask that you support these fine artists when able:
Following last year’s volume one, we are pleased to announce the sequel, Tape Feed, Vol 2 will release October 3rd, on Gypsy Farm.
Tape Feed is a compilation cassette + digital release, curated by Gypsy Farm, & made possible by the Athens Area Arts Council with a goal of raising donations for the food bank (Feeding America), helping to fight hunger & food waste.
Volume 1, released in 2021, served over 1,200 meals via contributions from the cassette.
“Causes come, go, & change as quick as the wind” says GF associate Willie Shears.
“But one thing that remains constant is that we’ve all got to eat to get anything done.”
Volume 2 is packed with Gypsy Farm favorites including: Thee Crucials, Tommy Powell, Outersea, The Bear Traps, Marble Soup, Bat & The Bears, The Humms, Shoal Creek Stranglers & several others that make up this 11-song release.
Cassettes include a digital download/streaming copy of the mixtape and may be obtained through GF’s bandcamp store & at participating locations.
Athens group, The Humms, release their third album today, titled “Pelzer Fuck Club” on Gypsy Farm Records.
It includes 12 brand-new songs dealing with a range of subjects not unheard of from anyone that has previously perused the band’s catalog, dating back to 2008.
Early stand out tracks include the trip-soaked story of a song called Maurice & the numbing, Sometimes I Feel (Nothing At All).
“On ‘Maurice’ the titular character is questioned and called out for dealing counterfeit pills straight from his pockets, which results in people feeling ill, an unsettling result for the sick seeking their fix. The song’s acoustic guitar cast a weightless sunny gauze over the song, which paired with a simple infectious keyboard melody binds the weight of the subject matter with infectious melody.” – The Go Go Radio Magic Show
“The song ‘Sometimes I Feel (Nothing At All)’ hits you right in the heart with a tightly clenched fist. This song is beautiful despondency packaged in an immediate indie rock classic.” – Tristen Colby, Rapturous Noise
We caught up with the producer of Pelzer Fuck Club (GF013), Skud Harris, originally tasked by Gypsy Farm with assisting the Humms in their 3rd effort.
“It recently came to my attention that the fine folks over at Gypsy Farm are releasing that album “Pelzer Fuck Club”, of which I had the unfortunate experience of producing. I can not express the amount of emotion that went into the trash while working with this group, from the bank of red clay to the shadow of pine. At times, It felt like a feat, in fact, that this album ever materialized, much less with myself holding the helm steady.
Then at other times, it was anything but steady. I would surmise that we all learned a little something about ourselves & though I can not necessarily say we emerged as better people, we certainly came out [on] the other side as different people.
While we did have our arguments, hurt feelings, & upsets, after all, what does a producer do? Sometimes they just stay out of the way.”
– Skud Harris
Physical formats of the album include vinyl, courtesy of Kindercore in Athens, Ga & cassette, by way of Canada’s AMT, inc.
Vinyl preorders will be shipped out as they are delivered by Kindercore, with bonus material as an extra “thank-you” for your support.
Stream Pelzer Fuck Club by The Humms on Spotify, Apple, or anywhere fine music may be found.
Long-time lovers of experimental group, The Humms, can now preorder the band’s forthcoming album on digital, vinyl or cassette, from Gypsy Farm Records (catalog #GF013).
Titled, Pelzer Fuck Club, the album is due out August 30th, & offers 12-spanking new selections, courtesy of the ole gang that only recently returned from their decade-long slumber with Vampire Hours back in 2020.
Sources close to the band claim that this difference in turnaround time, when compared to their first two records, can be credited to the record’s producer, Skud Harris.
“Skud has a creative way of absorbing the band’s energy, both positive & negative, that would certainly, otherwise, be flung upon the bandmates.” – Bobby Bea, feeling-in drum tech for Humms drummer, Bleech.
“I cut my teeth on Skiffle, & I can admit when I’ve enjoyed an experience [producing the Humms], although I’m not sure I’d sign on for another [record].” – Skud Harris, Producer.
The Humms, Pelzer Fuck Club, releases August 30th on Gypsy Farm Records.
The band’s upcoming album, Pelzer Fuck Club, opens with the suggestive “Burn One Off”, hexing the energy of a high desert drag-strip before spilling into their previous offering, the junglelike “Golden Bears“.
The PFC album is slated for release August 30th.
“And that doesn’t stand for Private First Class” mumbles Skud Harris (producer), narrowly missing his coffee cup.
As Harris takes a slow slip from the steaming mug, his brow flexes a downward look of disgust.
“What did they filter this through, a sock?”
Watch & share the music video below, directed by Wjay & shot at Gypsy Farm’s infamous sound stage #666.
The Humms have previously released two albums on Gypsy Farm Records. 2010’s Lemonland, and 2020’s Vampire Hours.
For fans of The Shins, Brian Wilson, or any ole Bedroom Pop.
Sometimes, a song comes along that is about damn near perfect. Of course ‘perfect’ is subjective to the listener. That being said, Mr. Husband’s song Cookie Pie may certainly challenge your own definition of such things.
“What a pleasure, what a gift to play music for you Dearest Listener and Good Friend! May these poofs of magical air caress your sacred earholes and fill your heart with joy. Sincerely, Your Brother in Friendship and Wonderment.” ~Kenny Husband (But that’s MR. Husband to YOU!)
Mr. Husband appears courtesy of Yellow K Records / Forged Artifacts / Good Soil.
Little more than a year since the release of Vampire Hours, The Humms have returned with new music, the lone Golden Bears seemingly plucked from what appears to be their third album, Pelzer Fuck Club, still under production.
“Out of the gate, Golden Bears thrills as a taster, infectious, weird and groovy. It throws down excitement and wonder at the thought of what lays within The Pelzer Fuck Club.”