Cutting-edge rock band Hunter Valentine have been commanding attention for over a decade with their memorable, hard-hitting tunes. The all-girl outfit has captivated audiences with four successful releases, unparalleled energetic live performances across the world, and their unforgettable personalities on VH1’s Make Or Break: The Linda Perry Project and Showtime Network’s The Real L Word reality shows. They have cultivated a loyal legion of fans over the years, and it’s to those fans that the ladies of Hunter Valentine are announcing their indefinite hiatus.
The band launched their EP, The Pledge, and embarked on the “So Long For Now Tour” for a last hoorah with their unwavering supporters. The tour started off in New Haven, CT on February 11 and finished off in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on March 24 at the world-famous Middle East club. They’ll be releasing new music and videos in the coming weeks alongside exclusive tour experiences and must-have merch bundles.
The band formed in 2004. They signed with True North Records in Fall 2006, and released their first full-length album, The Impatient Romantic, on April 10, 2007. Hunter Valentine has also been the staff band at Buck’s Rock Performing and Creative Arts Camp in New Milford, Connecticut.
In the fall of 2009, the band recorded a self-funded seven-song album with Ian Blurton after they were released by True North Records.
The band traveled to NYC numerous times hoping to attract attention from labels and Tommy Boy came knocking and signed the band shortly thereafter.
The recording was mastered by Howie Weinberg and titled Lessons From The Late Night, release date in Canada is April 17 and May 11 worldwide. Their single “Revenge” was co-written with Holly Knight (“Love Is A Battlefield,” “The Warrior,” “Angel” TV music theme).
In 2012, Hunter Valentine’s tour was documented on season three of the television series The Real L Word on the Showtime channel. In 2013, they joined Cyndi Lauper on the North American leg of the “She’s So Unusual: 30th Anniversary Tour” as the opening act.
And while the band may be taking a brief hiatus from the stage, they have said more than once that the music will continue in one form or another. The group has many varied influences and it goes from lead vocalist Kiyomi McCloskey’s love of all things traditional like Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, and Janis Joplin, to other influences such as punk rock and grunge.
They have toured Southern Ontario with bands such as The Cliks, Dragonette, Kids on TV, Kelly and the Kelly Girls, Clothes Make the Man, Dead Letter Dept., Hexes and Ohs, Drowning Girl, Love Kills, Dance Yourself to Death, Sam Roberts, Sick of Sarah, Social Code, and Queen Caveat. In 2012, they toured with Sum 41 and IAmDynamite.
I had seen them on their second tour date at The Saint in Asbury Park, NJ back on February 12 and I received their latest disc, The Pledge, for my listening pleasure. I’d like to take a few minutes to describe the sound and feel of Hunter Valentine’s current project.
The first song on the disc is called “Hurricane.” Utilizing a decidedly emo feel, “Hurricane” nonetheless blows quite a pocket tight breeze in the direction of Blink-182. Melodic and catchy, Kiyomi’s vocals command attention as they blow across the top of this rock-heavy piece. Guitar work by New York’s own Lisa Bianco bristles with tone-heavy walls of bar chord density as the drum work and the bass attack of Laura Petracca and Leanne Bowes keeps things thick and bouncy.
Next up is a tune called “Sick Sister.” McCloskey’s powerhouse voice cuts through the mix with ease, reminding me of a strange and good mix of Dale Bozzio from Missing Persons and Gwen Stefani from No Doubt. Her guitar style blends perfectly with Bianco’s ethereal lead and rhythm style to create an otherworldly sound of rock goodness. Bianco is the newest member of the group but is definitely an asset of the greatest kind when it comes to the overall sound of these girls. “Sick Sister” tells the tale of someone who once held a greater place. “Sick sister little schemes, they’re broken at the seams. Let’s take her for a ride and we will watch her fall off. Her charade has been fun but I feel she’s done, she keeps on talkin’ but her lips they just aren’t movin’.”
“Empire Of Nothing” is up next. Drum work from Laura Petracca moves this piece along as bassist Leanne Bowes winds things up into the vocal presentation of McCloskey. Bianco’s single note lead line in the bridge is the perfect accompaniment before the band drops into one of the finest rock choruses out there today. Guitars are tube burning brilliance throughout. The middle-eight is a strong climb back into a chorus that kicks ass for days.
Moving around the disc, I landed on “Burn With It.” The band lays back on this one and holds an easy position of an almost ballad feel. McCloskey is a talented singer and she shines brightly on this tune. My favorite on the disc, “Burn With It” explores the savagery of the world at large and the industry that they’re part of. Guitars sing in unison as Bowes and Petracca put the great pace into this easy, breezy romp through the world of entertainment and life.
The disc ends with the disc namesake “The Pledge.” Covering the age-old subject of relationships that eventually come to an end, “The Pledge” utilizes clean piano work courtesy of producer Tom Thacker. Thacker should be proud of this disc as it fires on all levels. All the girls contribute backing vocals in the studio as well as live and they really come through well on this group of tunes.
All in all, I really hope Hunter Valentine doesn’t decide to call it quits anytime soon. With a strong combination of songwriting talent, lyrical cohesiveness, and instrumental prowess, they have quite a bit of great music left to deliver to fans and new faces alike. The Pledge is a strong record for anyone in general, but it really works well for this group of talented performers. We can only hope that the hiatus doesn’t last too long.
In the meantime, go pick up this great record and learn more about the band over at huntervalentine.com.