When most people think of nostalgia for the '90s, images of Spice Girls and Pokemon dance in their head... not so much for the sludgy grunge music of the hard alternative rock scene. But, that's exactly what indie band Hunters brings to mind. Blending together the sensibility of riot grrrl punk with thrashing metal guitars, this Philadelphia via Brooklyn band recalls and era gone by.
Parallels can be drawn to the '90s rock scene not just through Hunters' hard hitting music, which includes the deep cutting track "Narcissist" and the combat boots of singer Izzy Almeida, but like the great alt-rock band Sonic Youth before them, Almeida and her fellow Hunters frontman Derek Watson have been in a relationship for several years.
"I feel like it's so natural to us - I don't think it affects that much," Almeida said. "We were friends first, so we really had a relationship established and we were in a band before we were dating. So, I don't think it changed much."
Though Almeida noted that the relationship is natural, it helps to add to the punky love flavor that Hunters has developed. Pulling from a range of influences from metal to grunge and riot grrrl, Hunters' sound is distinctively modern and a throwback. Take the jangling guitars of "Undone" or the winding melodies of "She's So" or even the rough edges of "Narcissist" and forget you're in 2014... you could be transported to any decade.
Despite the transcendence of Hunters' music, Almeida insisted that Hunters is never going for one "thing" and just, once again, decided to do what feels natural.
"I love Bikini Kill and all that stuff. But, I don't think we ever decided what we wanted to sound like. I think we just started playing music together actually because we were really into metal at the time. We just started going to a bunch of shows, but when we were playing we were never trying to sound specifically like something, we were just jamming and writing songs," she said. "I feel like all your influences that you have come from everywhere, even if you're not conscious of it, just because it's stuff that you like."
Despite a solid 10-track debut album, Hunters, and plenty of buzz surrounding them, Hunters decided to do the opposite move of emerging bands and left New York City. Citing high rent prices in the increasingly pricey New York, Hunters packed their bags and moved to Philadelphia... and they couldn't be happier about the decision.
"At the time we were touring so much and it was really hard to find people to take your apartment and then having people sublet all the time. New York was just too expensive to keep an apartment when you're never home. And, we have a bunch of friends who live in Philly and Derek is from Philly and it was way cheaper to move," Almeida said. "I also just like having different experiences. I don't want to stay in the same place for too long. So, it's cool just to change a little bit."
But the band's wanderlust isn't over. Almeida and co. are now planning to move to the West Coast.
"Now I think we're planning on moving to L.A. at the beginning of next year," she said. "I just like the weather. I used to live there. I just like changes. I think it's important to see different things and be inspired by different situations."
Almeida and the rest of Hunters are likely to take that new inspiration and turn it into a second album, which the band is hoping to release before summer 2015. The band has been posting demos online and testing out new live music, but the sophomore effort is still in the development stage, and Hunters isn't looking to just release a Hunters Pt. 2.
"We're experimenting with a couple of different things, we definitely don't want to do the same album. It's cool being in a band and trying different things but we're still working on stuff," she said.
Hunters will be playing the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City on Friday, Oct. 24, at midnight at Baby's All Right in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The band's debut album Hunters is out now.