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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

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Outside Closer

The music of this Leeds-based duo, consisting of brothers Chris and Richard Adams, is a meeting of a rather studied indie fragility with plaintive acoustic songs and sometimes strident electronica. Evolving from shambolic, occasionally charming lo-fi origins, Hood's current sound retains its individuality and air of slightly rough invention, but showcases the Adams brothers' talents as composers and arrangers willing to take chances with their material. While they present a pretty much integrated acoustic-electronic interface, they also drop in unexpected juxtapositions, contrasting the precision of sampled, looped beats with a more fluid, impressionistic flow of lyrics and melodies. There is a sense, then, of not quite knowing what to expect, even as Hood imprint their identity indelibly on these songs.

As the brothers' voices wander into a gentle harmony on the opening track, "The Negative," the music's vaguely unsettling combination of languor and tension begins to work up a naggingly insistent momentum. And where more obviously hip-hop-derived beats are employed on "Any Hopeful Thoughts Arrive," they're soon offset by the gently drawled lyrics and the introduction of brass and strings, leading to a fully fledged chamber-pop climax. The percussive handclaps introduced into the delicate, cascading acoustic melody of "End of One Train Working" seem at first jarring and inappropriate, but they perfectly illustrate Hood's subtly daring approach to their songs, building them into solid bodies of work but retaining a warm fuzziness and gentle tension at their heart. "Winter 72," for instance, is pared back to not much more than voice and percussion, lending an organic, dub flavor to its haunted romanticism, but retaining its structure as a song in its own right.

The lyrics, usually addressed to someone rather than being first-person narratives, come across as deliberately rough sketches, fleetingly impressionistic, but perfectly suited to the music's enigmatic blend of opacity and momentum. It's a sound that doesn't loudly proclaim itself, but nevertheless insinuates its way in, until it feels quietly indispensable.

by Tom Ridge

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