Bedouine releases a timely cover of Margo Guryan’s “The Hum” from self-isolation on Spacebomb Records. When Guryan wrote “The Hum” about President Nixon’s tape machine during the Watergate scandal, she may not have realized it would be just as pertinent in 2020 as it was in 1972. “It’s poignant how much of it feels topical,” Bedouine’s Azniv Korkejian says, “like it could have been written today.” Bedouine’s new version of the song honors the original while placing it squarely in today’s zeitgeist, featuring an incompetent administration, a crumbling economy, and an environmental crisis.
“I’ve been a fan of Margo Guryan for a while but it was only recently that I truly absorbed the lyrics to ‘The Hum,’” says Korkejian. “Margo’s nonchalant cutting wit is something to admire.” Case in point, the too-true gem that is verse four: “The rich save money and the poor save gas / Vote for an elephant and get an ass / He hires and he fires, he appoints and sacks / But he can’t figure out his income tax.” Guryan, a jazz-trained pianist from Queens, released her only album Take a Picture in 1968 after a friend played her The Beach Boys’ seminal “God Only Knows,” which redirected her musical course from jazz to writing pop songs. It wasn’t until 2001 with Oglio Records’ release of 25 Demos that “The Hum” was heard by the public, and even then, it hasn’t gotten the attention that others in her repertoire have.
Produced by Gus Seyffert (Beck, Dr. Dog), “The Hum” follows Bedouine’s “utterly lovely” (MOJO) second album Bird Songs of a Killjoy from last year praised byPitchfork, NPR and Vogue. It’s not her first cover of a lesser-known songwriter who received due attention later in life, either. In 2018, her cover of Laurel Canyon psych-folk singer Linda Perhacs’ “Hey, Who Really Cares?” was the B-side to the slightly-more-famous Elton John’s “Come Down In Time” and was lauded as “both stunning and understated” by Rolling Stone.