Feelies frontman Glenn Mercer has made a lot of music in the past four decades, but he’s never released a purely instrumental album until now. Incidental Hum, his second official solo album after 2007’s Wheels In Motion, is about eerie moods more than crazy rhythms; its 12 originals followed by three covers represent Mercer’s attempt to “evoke an atmosphere that would, in turn, suggest images of a more specific location.” Given the ambient nature of the music, a Brian Eno cover is not all that surprising, though Mercer chose to tackle one of Eno’s classic pop-rock tracks, “Here Come The Warm Jets.” Jimi Hendrix’s “Third Stone From The Sun” and the Wizard Of Oz standard “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” also get a reading.
As the title implies, this is music fit for zoning out, but it’s not exactly shapeless white noise. There’s melody and momentum to these tracks that reminds me of the back half of David Bowie’s Low or the many instrumentals by Mercer’s New Jersey compatriots Yo La Tengo. It’s an immersive, atmospheric listen from a true underground icon, and you can hear the whole thing below.
Incidental Hum is out 10/9 on Bar/None. Pre-order it here.