Subscriber Playlist (March 2023): Straight Outta West Yorkshire
Subscribers can listen to a collection of songs culled from the catalog of Richard Adams (The Declining Winter, Western Edges, Hood).
On March 31, The Declining Winter will release their latest album, Really Early, Really Late, on the Home Assembly and Rusted Rail labels. Arguably the band’s best album to date (my review is forthcoming), Really Early, Really Late feels like the apotheosis of Richard Adams’ various musical pursuits from the last three decades.
As such, it seems fitting for this month’s playlist to be an overview of Adams’ career, beginning with his work in the now-defunct Hood (one of my favorite bands of all time) and moving on to more recent projects and collaborations.
In truth, I’ve been wanting to do a Hood-related playlist for some time now. Richard formed Hood with his brother Chris in the early ‘90s, and with help from a revolving cast of collaborators — including members of Boyracer, Empress, and The Remote Viewer — they released a number of acclaimed albums before calling it quits after 2005’s Outside Closer. (Post-Hood, Chris Adams has released music under the Bracken and Downpour monikers.)
My first Hood album was 1999’s The Cycle of Days and Seasons, and the band’s lo-fi (yet still very lush and atmospheric) music instantly grabbed me and has never let go. Drawing inspiration from Bark Psychosis, Disco Inferno, Sonic Youth, and Talk Talk, the band’s music easily fell under the “post-rock” umbrella. However, there was something decidedly intimate and haunting about Hood’s music that was (and still is) unique to the genre.
Confession: I’ve never been to England. (Some day, though, fingers crossed.) Even so, Hood’s languid, pastoral music instantly evoked thoughts of long, meandering walks through the autumnal British countryside under cloudy skies (as pictured on The Cycle of Days and Seasons’ cover). A countryside dotted, perhaps, with tiny hamlets, ivy-enshrouded churches, and lichen-covered stone walls. Even when Hood experimented with glitchy electronics and abstract hip-hop on 2001’s Cold House, their music remained a product of the countryside and thus, a deeply affecting listen — particularly during the grey days of autumn and winter.