Todd Hunter
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Todd Hunter

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

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Not all pop music has to be instantly forgettable pap aimed at an audience of pubescent sheep. Singer-songwriter Todd Hunter, thankfully, takes a higher road on his engaging and thoughtful full-length Remember. Skillfully balancing jangly guitars, bittersweet melodies, low-impact beats, contemplatively confessional lyrics and a warmly smoky voice uncannily and unaffectedly similar to R.E.M's Michael Stipe, Hunter leads his band through a dozen impeccably crafted pop-rockers whose artistic maturity is matched only by their emotional sincerity. If you remember the days when pop music possessed both brains and heart, Hunter will seem like an old friend.

TELLING SONG TITLE: So Much More. - Winnipeg Sun (Darryl Sterdan)


Not every melancholy person dons black clothing and stays up until the wee hours of the night. Hunter, who must have some colour in his wardrobe, offers a unique set of depressive pop rock songs that could make any gloomy character a little jealous. Longing, anticipation, and not having enough time are common themes on this CD. “I don’t want to go home alone” he sings again and again on the track with the same title. His harmonized vocals are passionate and convincing enough that I don’t want the poor guy to go home alone either. And at times even the keyboards sound tortured.

One of the exceptions to Hunter’s collection of wistful tunes was the title track, on which Hunter sounds hopeful, almost happy, as he sings, “I will remember your support.” But that doesn’t last for long because he starts again with lyrics about feeling pain and being vulnerable. Oh well, good things always come to an end, don’t they?

Despite all the gloom, Hunter keeps some songs upbeat with country-like rhythm guitar chords and rock drumbeats. I’ll be salivating at the record store for the next assortment of modern pop rock songs from Hunter. In the meantime, this album has found a home in my CD tray until I can find something more depressing to listen to. - Jeanne Fronda (The Manitoban)


FILE UNDER: Two sides of Life. SUBSTANCE: Remember vinyl records? Of course you don't. But the guys in the Todd Hunter Band do. And fondly. So their impressive sophomore disc Life Is Good is set up like a phonograph record, with one "side" of summery, rootsy alt-pop and another of darker, edgier fare. Double your pleasure. STANDOUTS: The Coldplayish glisten of the title cut; the Blue Rodeoish We're Fine; the crunching How I Need You Now. ***1/2 (out of ****) - Winnipeg Sun (Darryl Sterdan)


Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada has produced many notable recording artists over the years, the most celebrated of which are Neil Young, great 70's pop/rock band the Guess Who, and lovable oddballs Crash Test Dummies. Since the wilds of Winnipeg seem to breed fresh sounds, it shouldn't come as too much of a shock to learn about yet another bunch of future stars, the Todd Hunter Band.

Singer and songwriter Todd Hunter makes his living by day as a high school math teacher, but there's nothing calculated about his band's debut album Remember. This band's stock in trade is jangly post punk rock in the tradition of alt-rock godfathers R.E.M. and later followers like the Smithereens. That's the sound, the lyrics are another matter; Todd writes heartfelt and straightfoward words in the manner of someone like John Mellencamp, a guy who wants to say what's on his mind in way that everyone can understand.

I would say that Todd's biggest influence seems to be mid-period R.E.M., and that's not a terrible thing at all especially since that kind of melodicism seems to be somewhat of a lost art right now. "Time", "Snow Upon the Ground", "Recite One Day Again" and "Driving Me Out Of My Mind" remind me of Georgia's finest in a way that will give you an indication of where Todd is coming from, and yet will take nothing away from the excellent songs he's written because Todd uses the R.E.M. sound as a jumping off point for his own muse.

In the liner notes, Todd remarks that "...here lies an honest record." He speaks the truth: Remember is overflowing with honest and pure rock and roll that owes nothing to the over-produced, over-fed product being passed off as music of right now, and deserves to be heard on both sides of the border. An extremely promising debut that bodes well for the future.

3.5 STARS

Reviewed By Gina - Evolution Of Media (eomentertainment.com)


STAR (Head In The Sand)

Indie pop songwriter, multi-talented musician and engineer Todd Hunter wrote his first solo album while recovering from a flu shot gone wrong. The album's 10 tracks tilt toward the sombre, but they are anything but miserable.

With ace producer/musician Mike Petkau on board, Star succeeds by avoiding current musical cliches and instead creates a vocabulary of unique musical language. There is a kind of unhurried naturalness about these songs that will bring you back to them. It could be Hunter's sweet lilt of a voice - just listening to him carry the velvety melodies into the stratosphere is worth the price of admission - or the sweet mix of vintage keyboards and deftly played acoustic instruments that make this album feel so moving. Standout tracks include You Are A Star, Do That and Whatever.
****
J.Monk - Winnipeg Free Press (Nov 14, 2009) - J.Monk - Winnipeg Free Press (Nov 14, 2009)


Star
Indie-Pop
****

The worst events can inspire the greatest music. And for most folks, things don't get much worse than they did for Hunter. After a 2006 flu shot, the singer-guitarist - whose last CD, ironically, was titled Life Is Good - was afflicted by a debilitating, lingering and undiagnosed illness. Conceived during his ordeal and recorded through his slow convalescence, these songs draw upon the torpor, misery and hopelessness of his experience - and use them as the basis for a sharply crafted and emotionally moving pop-rock concept album. Brilliantly polished by Mike Petkau's spacy, atmospheric production, these tracks chronicle Hunter's decline and hard-won recovery, shining a light into his darkness and turning personal tragedy into an artistic triumph. "I don't think I can make a better record, so this may be my last one," Hunter wrote in the letter he sent me with the CD. I can understand where he's coming from - as personal statements go, this would be tough to top - but I sure hope he changes his mind.
D.Sterdan - Winnipeg Sun (Oct 8, 2009) - D.Sterdan - Winnipeg Sun (Oct 8, 2009)


Star (Head in the Sand)

A+

What a comeback. After receiving a flu shot in 2006, Todd Hunter became seriously sick with an illness that lasted for over a year. Now healthy, Hunter's back with his first solo album and, arguably, his strongest work. Star is a spacey, soaring set of pop-rock songs, slickly produced by Mike Petkau. On hard-rocker Tried, Hunter expresses frustration over his past frailty. You Are a Star is a danceable indie-pop song, while Trust No One shines with an R.E.M.-like sheen. But my favourite has to be Do That, the perfect choice to close the album. A song of hope and expectation, it proves Hunter never got lost in the darkness.
Jared Story - Uptown (Dec 3, 2009) - Jared Story - Uptown (Dec 3, 2009)


When you're known as a good songwriter, it's tempting to write very similar songs and to not take chances; this has been the downfall of many artists who are now referred to as one-hit wonders. Not Todd Hunter. OK, he's still waiting for his first hit, but at one point he was #1 on mp3.com while Tom Petty was #2! On Remember, Todd Hunter sets the record straight with the very first track, "In My Way," a delicious R.E.M.-esque rocker that stakes new territory for the mild-mannered singer/songwriter. The rest of the album is a little more familiar sounding; a leopard doesn't change his spots overnight, but does a large range, as demonstrated in the title ballad, rivalling Jim Cuddy in the roots-crooning department. Somewhere in the vicinity of Skydiggers, just left of Blue Rodeo and right of R.E.M., Remember proudly bears the flag of Adult Album Alternative rock music. We 30-somethings need more music like this that we can relate to! - Broose Tulloch - Stylus Magazine


Decent, guitar-based power pop has kinda gone the way of the dodo in recent years, as the mall-punks have taken all the white-boys-wailing slots on MuchMusic and at Top 40. So it's nice to realize there's a Winnipeg act out there that remembers the likes of late-80's Smithereens and Hoodoo Gurus, or even mid-90's Fastball and Semisonic. In the straight world, Hunter is a math teacher, but he's also a dedicated singer/songwriter whose second full-length is a well-focused romp through a dozen unpretentious pop/rock tunes. Opener "In My Way" is the tune that sent me looking for my copy of "Especially For You"...while "Snow Upon The Ground" also evokes the smouldering pop sound that the Skydiggers used to do so well. - John Kendle - Uptown Magazine


Discography

LP: Star (2009)
LP: Life Is Good (2006)
LP: Remember (2004)
LP: Cold Winter Days (2000)
EP: Feel Good (2002)
Single: "Perfect Kid" on the Somebody Needs A Timeout compilation

Photos

Bio

“Star”, the debut album by the Todd Hunter Band frontman, is the album Todd thought he might never get to make. Deeply affected physically, mentally, and emotionally by a mystery illness he inherited shortly after receiving a flu vaccination following the birth of his first child, the deeply personal songs on “Star” reflect on life and death, love and loss.

Though the ideas for “Star” came sporadically during a mostly unfortunate period of his life, Todd slowly finished writing the songs during his even slower recovery. Eventually, he realized he had a cohesive album of deeply personal songs that were very unlike the songs that could suit his band’s sound. Luckily, the songs caught the attention of uber-producer Mike Petkau and the two began to meticulously record each song over a year-and-a-half of mostly Mondays. Realizing the songs already had a timeless quality to them, the pair decided to carefully record each song to share sonic qualities with recognizable music from the 60’s to present day by using a myriad of vintage, hand-crafted and modified studio equipment and instruments, along with modern-day standard gear.

Mastered by the legendary George Graves (U2, Peter Gabriel, Feist), “Star” is both a cinematic memoire and celebration of life through music that takes the listener on an emotional odyssey while lovingly recalling signature sounds from the last forty years of popular music.