Dumb Numbers Make Beautiful Sounds: New Music

Around this exact time a year ago I was here at my parents, carrying a notepad everywhere to scribble down indecipherable reminders of ideas I’d later get home and dash into the laptop, all ready to spend the six months that followed trying to fashion it all into some kind of sense until, eventually, a book emerged at the end of it.

A year later it feels a bit of a privilege to have been given the chance to communicate with so many decent and intriguing individuals; the world is full of friendly people, especially in the land of Nirvana fans, and so, I’d like to introduce you to a guy I’m honoured to have spoken to.

Lou Barlow – “Crack And Emerge” (Stereogum Premiere)

Back before Christmas a gentleman called Adam Harding was in touch buying a copy of Dark Slivers: Seeing Nirvana in the Shards of Incesticide and in passing mentioned his own musical project; Dumb Numbers. To my shame, I admit I was expecting some barely formed garage demo but I’m endlessly interested in other peoples’ works so I asked him if he had anything he could share. Modest soul said something like “hmm, well, I’m always nervous showing stuff that isn’t finished…But here ya go.” Three songs and I clicked play.

And my jaw hit the floor. Three songs, three very different vibes, a talent for layering the instruments, for undeniable catchiness, for memorable hooks that still never betrayed the alt. vibe, for vocals that ranged from dreaminess to punk rawk snarl. The music had that scattershot Sebadoh vibe while tempering it with some more up-to-date sheen and digital precision in the mix. I vaguely remember having to go back on email and more or less prostrate myself in bowing position – you may be surprised to hear that, in one case and one specific scenario, I stated honestly and without reservation, that what Adam had done beat Kurt Cobain – I still mean that. After so many years consuming music it’s SO rare to be stunned anymore, it was one of the most inspiring moments I’d had all year, knowing that there are people out there, plugging away in the mists, unseen, but creating things that can surprise. Beautiful.

So, anyways, Adam returned and pointed out that the very first release by Dumb Numbers, consisting of Adam, plus Lou Barlow (come on, do I really have to say “of Sebadoh and of Dinosaur Jr”?) and Murph (again, hallowed denizen of Dinosaur Jr), has been released on the 3×7″ Cause & Effect set alongside tracks by Lou Barlow, Thurston Moore and hallowed soul David Yow.

Heck, I’ve already bought it. $18 dollars and not much more to get this to the U.K.? No brainer. Peoples, I’ve been itching to share something, anything, by this guy for months – a talent. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do and, oh, just as a concluding thought ripped from an email Adam sent me:

“I remember playing some early tracks for Lou and his first response was ‘do you miss Nirvana?'”
“He was poking fun but the truth is, yes I do miss Nirvana.”

Amen brother, amen.


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