Hood | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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In England in the early 90s, a handful of bedroom-bound four-trackers--among them Flying Saucer Attack, Crescent, and Hood--rejected the giddy, hedonistic dance pop of "Madchester" scenesters like the Happy Mondays, instead making alienated, inward-looking music that reflected the grim landscapes, grimmer weather, and bleak economic prospects they'd grown up with in the country's postindustrial north. Hood was founded in 1990 by Chris Adams (voice, guitar) and his brother Richard (bass), two teenagers in the small town of Wetherby; they've remained the quartet's core members through countless lineup changes and a move to nearby Leeds. The brothers' early albums reflect not only what they were listening to--left-field antipodeans like Crabstick and the Dead C as well as American indie rockers like Dinosaur Jr--but the fact that they were learning how to put together a record as they went along. Cabled Linear Traction (1994) and Silent '88 (1996) are lo-fi and chaotic, sprawling across 20 and 26 tracks, respectively, and arranged according to no discernible logic: gently sung guitar-based tunes and pastoral keyboard instrumentals jostle against murky minute-long fragments and earsplitting feedback fests. A decade down the road, Hood haven't cheered up much, but they've learned how to play their instruments and use a studio--their music is tighter and more lucid, they've traded four-track noise for digital clarity, and their latest full-length, Cold House (Aesthetics), consists of ten fully formed songs that work together like a suite. The brothers have also added a few new influences to their old favorites. On last year's excellent EP Home Is Where It Hurts (Aesthetics), they subject the chiming guitars and distant voices of "The Fact That You Failed" to a battery of King Tubby-worthy dub effects (before the song collapses into another feedback free-for-all); on the melancholy "The World Touches Too Hard," a hyperactive, glitch-spattered drum program skitters across a quilt of swelling strings and melodic picking. Cold House sometimes partakes of those Autechre-like electronic rhythms too, and three tracks even include head-scratching raps by Why? and Dose One, two-thirds of the San Francisco hip-hop group Clouddead. Saturday at the Bottle, Hood headline a showcase for the local Aesthetics label, which also features Pulseprogramming and the Eternals. Monday night members of the band will DJ at Danny's as part of the bar's experimental dance-music series, "Play." Saturday, April 6, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600. Monday, April 8, 10 PM, Danny's, 1951 W. Dickens; 773-489-6457.

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