Hum Machine

Last Action Rocker

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It's kind of an odd mystery why this Madison, WI foursome is such a secret, after seven years that have seen now five LPs, constant touring, and a fair amount of college radio play. You sure can't understand it from LPs such as No Joy in Mudville and especially this one, which finds them further refining their heady concoction of the Rolling Stones, with older indie stars Dumptruck, the Replacements, and later, nicer Die Kreuzen -- with spots of much less alt rock, slower, more classic rock/midtempo/bluesy stuff like "Mechanical Devices." And they even do a little country rock ditty called "Twisted Niche" which sounds a lot like the Monkees' "Last Train to Clarksville." And they namecheck Neil Young's "Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere." Perhaps they're too talented and old-school sounding for indie rock fans, and way to rough-edged for middle of the road rockers. Whatever the case, Hum Machine doesn't seem to give a fig (one of their best songs, back on Pay Victrola, was "All Your Favorite Bands Suck," a screw-you to lo-fi indie stuff), they just keep defying genres and expectations and keep writing songs with some gas like "It's Gotta Be" and "Bring It on Pepeyon." Bring it on indeed.