Rad Releases 20 – Hod of Hod And The Helpers
It’s that time once again, as the countdown to the end of 2020 rapidly approaches and we quickly want to move away from this year- we take a personal look back on familiar names, labels, promoters, and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. In what has been a challenging year for all, the one constant has been how artists and their labels have adapted and produced some of the best records of our time and it’s those releases that have the audience has depended on to get them through the year.
This year the Rad Releases special celebrates 10 years, to mark the decade-long feature we let our favorites take over the site to tell us the records that have kept them going throughout this trying year. Telling us how they’ve adapted, if they’ve returned to a loved record and what we can look forward to from them next year.
In May of this year, following 2 months of not leaving the house and its boundaries and starting to feel deflated, this remarkable album landed in our inbox and instantly altered our outlook. Our next takeover comes from Hod of Hod and the Helpers. Back in May the band released their new album The Optimist, which is a profound and enlightening must-hear. A wild yet affectionate collection of tentative yet rapacious arrangements. The progressive journey captured within these talented musicians’ craft is richly ambitious. Seriously in awe of all these incredible musicians who continued to put out music into a year of the unknown. We chat to Hod to find out more about his year in music…
I’m gonna take some liberties with my assignment here, as a matter of fact I’m gonna be actively deviant and break the rules. Not out of disrespect, On the contrary; I must bend the rules because I grossly neglected any due diligence and skipped any critical listening of this years new albums, leaving me with in a vacuum of un thoughtful analysis that can only be remedied by cheating.
So here’s my cheat: I’m gonna name some albums that came out this year, and last year, authored by friends of mine, close and peripheral, of whom I’ve admired for their persevering love of the song writing craft and their simple good nature. Artists who I am distinctly aware are in the state of “being” rather than in the battle to becoming. I think this is the essence we all recognize as authenticity in artists; that pie in the sky that people think is obtainable through enough effort. These are the peeps, that I’ve scarcely seen this year, but owe a portion of my sanity to. im practically middle aged now, and I believe the gods of hedonism are satisfied with my sacrifices in their name. I take no idols anymore, but ill take my friends with me. I will also name two artists of whom I’ve only shaken hands with, who I believe share a similar a ‘being’.
The Moore Brothers- Autobiography , 2020
Thom and Greg Moore have had a hugely formidable impact on my song writing. both in how I deliver and approach lyrics and how to stay within the realm song while performing in spite Often hostile environments. not to mention their prolific cannon of deeply moving and harmonic… dare I say, masterpieces.
David Dondero – Filter Bubble Blues, 2019
For those who have had the opportunity to know Dave’s music; in spite of any disagreements on content or politics, would have to concede that there are few like him anymore. He’s able to express any given topic with such rounded clarity, through a strangely familial conflicted pathos. He is the archetypal word smith, song writer, story teller and tentative moral leader. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing him, performing with him as accompaniment and as support, and on Filter Bubble Blues did a few BV vocals. This album was recorded and produced by another good Friend, Dan Potthast, of whom is next on the list.
Dan Potthast- Cars For Sale, 2020
I’m not gonna say anything of his history and involvement in music for the last 30 years, because frankly wickapedia will connect the dots better for you, but I will speak to his consistency, demonstrative talent, unapologetic optimism that lathers pure joy in his awesome compositions and lyrics. He had, and has a transformative dedication to his genre; a genre, that frankly, I ignored before him. Not to mention an unparalleled showman. and to mention: an unreluctant( statement to be challenged) member of my own
Band. Speaking of my band, the next guy is in it too…
Pawl Jefferson (Jeff Stultz) Normal Life, 2020
Jeffs word and taste is scripture to me. Maybe I’ve been duped, maybe I’ve found idol in his calm capacity to translate reality without constantly forming new concept through the prism of our collective and fucked
conditioning. Making complete and attentive actions, that seem beyond the need of analysis. Spontaneous, but never reckless. Which is what this collection improvised songs are. Unintended to ever be released, these songs were, as I understand, committed in single takes on a field recorder after a troubling life episode. Jeff is foremost my friend, and secondarily my engineer, producer, lead guitar player, and general unwitting adviser.
Bonnie Prince Billy and Bill Callahan
I’m really enjoying the collaboration these guys are doing right now. These are two of my all time favorite song writers and there’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said
Purple Mountains (David Berman) , 2019
This is one of those albums I would suggest either diving directly into or staying completely away from. It doesn’t leave much room for the gray. But if you dive in, know that you will suffer with him. Although the suffering is joyous and almost projectively repentant. You feel like Berman has repented for your sins, and resolved you for the small price never getting these fucking songs out your head!
“All I am wanting is the end of all wanting, and that’s just the way that I feel” from “that’s just the way that I Feel”
Plans, More thoughts, self promotion
Now that I’ve sickened you with all the gushing over friends I’m sure you want to read on. My band, Hod and The Helpers released an album “The Optimist” into the current amplified vacuum. I’m strangely content in not playing shows to support it. If I recall we played one show in January, other than that I backed up some friends on drums.
I’m working on a collection of songs now in my home studio with no particular expectations on finish date or release. I hope you’ll check out my album and all of the above-mentioned talents, and ill smell ya later 2020. Stay safe. stay cool, Hod Hulphers.
Thank you Hod, excited to hear more from you!