Hunter Hunted, a two-piece band that is currently unsigned, played a set of tracks from their new self-titled EP on an MTV feature that aired on May 17. According to the most recent Scouting Report from “Billboard,” the short EP has made the duo an up-and-coming force in the independent music world. This recent success has been built upon the group’s origin as a three-piece band named Lady Danville.
Lady Danville toured with well-known acts like Jack’s Mannequin and Ben Folds. At the time, the trio consisted of Michael Garner on piano, Dan Chang on guitar and Matthew Frankel, on the cajon. All three contributed vocals, giving the band a rich three-part harmony on every track.
The music was smooth, simple and enjoyable. They released three EPs altogether, and arguably their most successful was their self-titled EP, released in December 2007. The best song from “Lady Danville” was “Tired Magician,” but each of the five songs blend together in a magnificent mix of incredible harmonies, simple percussion, guitar and piano.
The self-titled EP coupled with the EP from the band’s 2010 tour (which featured a cover of “Kids” by MGMT that is second to none) were all that the band had put out until 2012. Then they released “Operating,” a three-song package that differed significantly from their previous work. It featured some electric instrumentation and a full drumset rather than the cajon. The three tracks, “Better Side,” “Operating” and “Ships” combined their previous talents instrumentally, vocally and lyrically, adding multiple layers of richness and depth.
Lady Danville ceased to exist when percussionist Frankel left the group in November 2012. Chang and Garner continued on and re-branded the duo Hunter Hunted. The new band went a different direction musically when they released their “Hunter Hunted” EP in February 2013. They added electric drums, synthesizer and vocal effects, comparable to the early days of Lady Danville, that gave it more of a radio-friendly sound. A re-release of the song “Operating” is on the EP, which is only slightly different from the original recorded version. This re-release showed they were serious about the different direction they had taken.
Other songs like “Keep Together” and “End of the World” only add to the change in style. “Keep Together” features an upbeat tempo and a catchy melody that one can easily envision crowds bouncing around to at a concert or music festival. “End of the World” is a slower tune that has harmonies reminiscent of the old days of Lady Danville. The music video for “End of the World” has created some buzz for the song with a little less than 60,000 views on YouTube.
One of the most powerful tracks is “Dora Maar,” which begins with a simple piano progression and progressively adds vocals, drums and an echoing electric guitar. The song reaches a climax with long vocal runs, bringing everything together at once in extraordinary fashion. The lyrics are simple, but the song is emotional and leaves you wanting more.
It is incredible to think that the duo has crafted such a marvelous work in just five songs. Great EPs like this are usually hard to come by, and any group that wants to make a splash in the entertainment industry should model their work after this release.
This band should start receiving more national attention soon, especially after ending a leg of their tour in the spring opening for Fitz and the Tantrums and receiving praise from both Billboard and MTV. In their MTV interview, Chang and Garner said they expect to release a new full-length album by 2014. It is great to know it’s on the horizon. All together, Hunter Hunted’s EP is genius and deserves 5 out of 5 stars.
Joseph Wenberg is a junior in mass communications. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.