Thursday, July 2, 2020

#23 Led Zeppelin (+ Hum bonus)

1991 MusiCards #23 is another Led Zeppelin card. Looks like a pretty glammed up photo, eh? The name in lights behind them calls to mind KISS (who are included in this set later, but didn't make the cut to be considered "Legends" apparently). It's not always easy to get a live shot that features every band member while still being close enough to tell who's who, so cap-tip to Pro Set on this one. Looks like this might have been taken between songs, with Robert Plant talking to the crowd and the other guys primed to start the next song. Check the roadie in the yellow shirt who seems to be helping out bassist John Paul Jones with the cord or strap of his boomstick.

The back features a dark posed photo of the four fellows. Blurb here doesn't say much beyond what the previous Zeppelin cards have said; just a broad overview of the band's run in a couple sentences.

As I was having my "musical awakening" as a teen in the early 90s, my buddy Doug got into Led Zeppelin before me, spending his allowances on their CDs at Music Trader-- our preferred local second-hand music store back then-- over the course of a few weeks. I think he ended up with pretty much all their main albums. While I knew of their biggest hits, I'd say my real introduction of them was from borrowing Doug's CDs one week and making my own compilation of my favorite tunes from them.

And hey, I happen to still have that disc. So this is the first "desert island disc" of this blog that actually exists as a real disc!

  1. Over The Hills And Far Away
  2. D'yer Mak'er
  3. Black Dog
  4. Rock And Roll
  5. Misty Mountain Hop
  6. When The Levee Breaks
  7. Kashmir
  8. Bron-Yr-Aur
  9. Dazed And Confused
  10. The Song Remains The Same
  11. Dancing Days
  12. The Rain Song
  13. Going To California
  14. Stairway To Heaven

Yep, this CDR got a lot of play in my cars over the past 30-ish years (happened to be one of those couple dozen discs that I felt belonged among my "car discs" selection), and is still in the rotation today. If I had to pick a favorite track, I might go with "Over the Hills and Far Away".. something about that song seems to comfort me when I'm stressed out on the road.

You may be asking "how come there's no songs from Led Zeppelin II on there?" And well that's because that was the only Zeppelin CD I owned back then, so it was excluded from my CDR.

But for the record, the II tracks I'd include would be as follows:
15. Whole Lotta Love
16. Heartbreaker
17. Ramble On

As always, please consider yourself invited to post a comment letting me know I'm an idiot for leaving off any of your favorite songs. ...I mean, don't be a dick about it, but I am always interested to hear what songs folks really like that I may have overlooked.

I was trying to decide between a couple other bands for today's Custom Corner.. But then I just found out yesterday that one of my all-time favorite bands put out a surprise new album, their first output in 22 years!

I'm talking about Hum. Maybe you haven't heard of them, or if you vaguely know them as the band who had a minor 90s alt rock hit with the "(She thinks she missed the train to Mars, She's out back counting) Stars" song. But I love 'em. Heavy alternative nerd rock with lots of guitars. Their previous album, 1998's Downward Is Heavenward would be in the discussion if I ever had to come up with a Top 10 Favorite Albums of All-Time.

The band would come out of hibernation for the occasional live show, but they've basically been on hiatus since the turn of the millenium. There was always that tiny shred of hope they'd come out with a new album someday, but I wasn't holding my breath.

So yes, it's a wonderful surprise for this Hum fan and a much needed good thing in 2020. Inlet, the new one, is actually really good! A lot of times reunion albums are terrible and the band ends up kinda pissing on their legacy a bit.. but not this time! Sounds like you want a beloved band's new album to sound.. not staying exactly the same, but progressing what you love about their music into new territory. A perfect new chapter in the book of Hum. Hopefully not the last.

Ok, sorry for all the slobbering, but again, a key role of this blog is to provide a place to ramble about music I love.

They don't have much in the way of high quality photos online, so I've had to get a little "arty" with these customs.
A quick bio on Hum-- check their wiki entry for the longer version-- is they started in Champaign, Illinois back in the late 80s and put out a two or three indie releases before signing with RCA for 1995's You'd Prefer An Astronaut, garnering some attention with the quiet/loud song "Stars". The follow-up Downward Is Heavenward was well-received by critics and fans, yet failed to see much commercial success. They toured a lot for that album, but were eventually dropped by RCA and decided to call it quits, playing their final show on New Year's Eve 2000.

Other than a handful of reunion performances over the years, they'd been quiet until Inlet popped up for sale on their Bandcamp page June 23, 2020. Physical versions of the album are are tentatively scheduled to ship at the end of August.

I suppose a tour supporting the new album is out of the question anytime soon (damn covid), but I'd love to catch them live someday. (I'm kicking myself because I just found out they played Portland back in 2015-- Had I known, I definitely would have gone.)

I think I originally got into them thanks to "Stars", though today I consider that song a bit played out and wouldn't necessarily say it's one of my favorite songs of theirs. That album is really good, don't get me wrong, but now I'm all about Downward Is Heavenward. Love to put that on and listen start-to-finish every so often, especially in the summer.

They're part of the 90s alternative rock bands with 3-letter names triumvirate I love along with Paw (covered earlier) and Dig (who I'll cover at some point). I've got a couple Hum shirts in storage somewhere-- traded to me by somebody who worked with the band back in the day-- and thought of snapping pics for this post, but gave up after not finding them quickly enough (One is black with a microscope on it, the other is white with Ultraman or similar Japanese superhero on it.. both of which are just slightly too nerdy for me to wear on the regular these days). I've got a Stars 7" single on green vinyl that's kinda cool. And I think I've got copies of all their rare tracks that are circulating, plus several live recordings. Several years back, I played a role in unearthing a previously uncirculated demo tape called Its Gonna Be A Midget Xmas that I got hooked up with from a different guy-who-knew-a-guy.

So wrapping up here, yep, Hum is a favorite band of mine and a surprise new album from them out of the blue is a big highlight of my 2020 so far.

Next up on the blog is more Led Zeppelin. Still a couple more of those then we finally move on to the true base cards after that.


  1. Nope, never heard of Stars or Hum. Don't know how I missed them. 1995 was peak alternative music video viewing time. They sound like Smashing Pumpkins.

    I'm not enough of a Zeppelin fan to jump on songs you missed. Ramble On is always a favorite. And the reference to "Mordor" is a hoot.

    1. Yeah, I suppose Hum sounds like the Pumpkins at times.. must be something in the Illinois water.

      I seem to recall you making a similar comment about missing Paw back then too. So that begs the question do you know the band Dig? Because if not, you might just have a mental block against 90s alternative bands with 3-letter names. lol

  2. A. Nice call on the Zeppelin photo. That's a great card. If I was a huge fan, I'd probably make it my wallet card.

    B. I remember Stars. I liked it, but never to the point of going out and buying their CD.

    1. I liked the song enough to eventually buy the CD used at Music Trader. Liked that enough to want to check out their follow-up CD when it came out.. which I think I may have even bought new at Tower. And then that CD is what really made me a big fan of theirs.

  3. Those lights do look like something you'd find at a Kiss concert. Good post.