Today, we mark Gary Numan's 54th birthday with a Covering Tracks homage by Dallas' own New Fumes. The godfather of synth-pop is still going strong, touring extensively last year, performing 1979's The Pleasure Principle in its entirety and providing guest vocals on the Battles track "My Machines." Which, by the way, was one of the most mind-blowingly kickass videos of 2011.
The aforementioned 1979 classic, Numan's first without the Tubeway Army moniker, vaulted him into superstardom on the strength of the single "Cars" and provides the source material for this week's cover. New Fumes, aka Daniel Huffman, eschewed the obvious and opted for deep cut "Observer," which we appreciate.
On the surface, it's not too dissimilar from "Cars," but there's more of a focus on the groove. Huffman, who was a founding member of Comet and has been a touring guitarist with both The Flaming Lips and The Polyphonic Spree, captured that insistent mood and added a gritty, garage veneer. With its analog synths, bizarrely stacked vocals and blown-out moments, Huffman's version plays like a long lost Numan demo, in the best possible way:
Look for New Fumes' collaboration with The Flaming Lips, entitled "Thunder Drops," on the Record Store Day exclusive vinyl double LP The Flaming Lips With Heady Fwends, which will also feature the likes of Erykah Badu, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Neon Indian, Nick Cave, Bon Iver and Ke$ha(?). That Wayne can make fwends with anybody.