Hunter Valentine is an all-female punk/alternative rock band from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Kiyomi McCloskey (vocals, guitars) and Laura Petracca (drums) formed the band in 2004, and are, currently, joined by Veronica Sanchez (bass) and Aimee Bessada (lead guitar). Hunter Valentine is my favorite all-lesbian rock band. They starred in the third season of Showtime‘s lesbian reality series, The Real L Word, in Summer 2012. Sadly, I did not watch that show. However, I do watch, and love, Tucky Williams’ amazing lesbian web series, Girl/Girl Scene, a drama about lesbians hanging out and hooking up in Lexington, KY. Hunter Valentine‘s music is used in nearly every episode of that series, and the band even appeared in two episodes of the first season in 2010. But, regardless of the band member’s sexual orientation, it’s their music that matters, and my Hunter Valentine playlist is played regularly.
Hunter Valentine‘s full-length debut, “The Impatient Romantic” (2007), was my introduction to this band’s hooky blend of punk, rock and pop. In “Typical,” the first single, Kiyomi sings: “Well let’s not be typical / And do this our own way.” And, they do, as Kiyomi bares her soul through her impassionaed lyrics. And, “Staten Island Dream Tour,” the second single, offers up my favorite line: “Who cares if I just met you / I know that I’m in love with you.” Then, the tuneful pop/rocker, “Break This,” my favorite, follows as the third single. “You’re breaking my (heart) / This time,” Kiyomi sings sarcastically, and I love how she whispers certain words in her choruses. Oddly enough, these tracks open the album in that order. And, they could’ve just kept going, in order. In “Van City,” when Kiyomi sings, “Van City / She lookin’ pretty,” it reminds me of Nick Gilder‘s “Hot Child in the City.” Was that intentional? Don’t know. In “Jimmie Dean,” she admits: “I don’t wanna make love / I wanna fxxx with no feeling.” She’ll make that point again on the next album. “The Problem With Devotion,” according to Kiyomi, is that it’s not worth the trouble. She warns: “Don’t you / Waste my time!” And, finally, in “Lying Through Her Teeth,” another favorite, Kiyomi spells out the problem with fake girls: “(Can’t) tell (lies) from their kiss!” Love those whispers! Watch the videos for the singles here:
“Lessons From The Late Night” (2010) clocked in just short of 23 minutes with only seven songs, but all are excellent additions to the Hunter Valentine songbook. The songs were grittier, punkier on this release, with more attitude, anger, especially on “Revenge,” the second single, where Kiyomi warns: “Revenge it ain’t a sweet thing.” “The Stalker” is a cool first single, and “Barbara Jean” is another angry punker: “I know better than that / Cold heart / Don’t want you back.” In this song, Kiyomi reiterates her aversion to love (from “Jimmie Dean”): “And I don’t want to fxxx with feeling / I wanna feel you’re alive.” But, my favorite songs are the last two, “She Only Loves Me When She’s Wasted” and “A Youthful Existence,” both of which were used to great effect on Girl/Girl Scene. I love Kiyomi’s anguish in the chorus of the former: “Why you treat’n me this way? / How can you think that it’s okay? / And I keep sing’n my heart / out.” And, in the latter, more disdain for love: “Cause all my friends got girlfriends / Their telling me to put this thing to an end / But I just can’t cause I’ll be walking to a place where I can’t stand.” Watch the videos for the singles here:
“Collide & Conquer” (2012) is Hunter Valentine‘s current release, and their best, overall. “Liar Liar” was the first single, deservedly so, but “Nowhere To Run” is the strongest track on this album. That song, about Kiyomi’s coming out at 15, should’ve thrown Hunter Valentine into the mainstream. Maybe it still can. The song’s vague, but positive, lyrics and its addictive, uplifting hook make it perfect for a TV show like NBC‘s The Biggest Loser. Kiyomi sings: “When you got nowhere to run / I’ll be waiting / Until the stars shine bright for you.” Amazing song! “This Bull Rides Tonight” is my second favorite track. I love these lines: “I can’t change / Change a single thing about me / And even if I could only / You’ll never love me / I’ll stay the same me.” In “Crying,” Kiyomi finds love, but, then wonders where it went wrong: “I feel like crying tonight / ‘Cause we threw it all away and we’re not quite sure why.” Elsewhere, the band once again balances the punk (“Little Curse (Sxxx Happens),” “Gates of Hell,” “The Pulse”) with the rock (“Lonely Crusade,” “Ted’s Collision”), and an amazing heartbreaking ballad (“The Great Canadian Love Song”). Kiyomi sings, sadly, in that ballad: “I wish I could make you feel happy / I wish I could make you feel fine.” Watch the video for “Liar Liar,” the only video to date, here:
Website: Hunter Valentine Official Website