Hood Singles Compiled (2CD); Hood Compilations 1995-2002 (CD)

With a sense of experimentation much broader than that of your average indie-pop band, the British band Hood ambled on to the musical scene sometime in 1992. With blasts of white-hot feedback muted and shaped into murky compositions, the band was an amalgamation of Flying Saucer Attack's early jaw-dropping psychedelia and the lo-fi recording techniques à la Vampire On Titus-era Guided by Voices and My Bloody Valentine's Isn't Anything. The band's more free-form ideas weren't too well-suited for the indie-rock world, especially as it began to incorporate a wider array of instruments, samples, and electronics into a bleak yet striking eclecticism. The most recent releases can be described as a skewed version of hip-hop, thanks to members of the Anticon crew.

Now Misplaced Music has devoted three discs' worth of lost singles, compilation tracks, and fanzine-only oddities to the great Hood catalog. There's a lot to take in, and the variety of material can make for an uneven beginning-to-end listen. The singles can be especially daunting, since the band often created fifty-second songs and released them on 45s with several other lightning-quick numbers. These singles were basically little works of pop art made to be listened to in short intervals, cramming in white noise and fragile vocalese into a fractured pop nirvana. It's hard to place tracks in context. But this is a pretty weak complaint. The amount of amazing material found here far overrules any petty fanboy criticisms.

These tracks show just how much the band has progressed since its razor-sharp, shoegazing beginnings. Hood may be one of the few guitar-based bands that has managed to integrate sampling techniques into its music without losing an organic feeling. In fact, the band's experiments with mood, sound, and melancholy now rival the work of early-'90s innovators such as Bark Psychosis and Disco Inferno -- only unlike these similarly unsung acts, Hood still continues to create.


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