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Posted February 2, 2007 by Mike Mineo in Features
 
 

The Katie Todd Band

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An artist’s second release is often a good indication of things to come. Will they learn from past mistakes? How will the pressure be handled? Though Katie Todd is still far from being a household name, she faces the same questions as the rich and famous with the Katie Todd Band‘s second album, Make Some Time For Wasting. Musical influences and scholars were never an issue for Todd, as she shared the stage with a variety of acts, from veteran performers such as Patti Labelle and 10,000 Maniacs to rising pop stars such as Jewel. All have been thoroughly impressed by Todd’s rich style of songwriting. Originally from Milwaukee, Todd gives the impression of a very personable woman, despite her enormous talent. Being a fan of Thai food and cult 80s movies such as Sixteen Candles and The Goonies, she also displays some of her childhood photos on her web site. I really enjoy when artists are this personable with the fans who adore them. While a mysterious aroma often provides for a nice musical touch, some artists do better with a friendlier and more open minded disposition. I believe this fits Todd’s image very well.. Though she grew up in Minneapolis, Todd now resides in Chicago with her band, officially being a staple of the thriving independent Chicago music scene. Todd is the vocalist and keyboardist in the band, with Travis Dow on guitar, Evan Cantor on bass, and Mark Cameron on drums. In 2002, their debut album Changing Faces saw enormous critical acclaim from a variety of Chicago-based publications, such as WXRT Radio, who called it “the best independent release of the year”. After releasing a live album which was aptly titled Live the following year, the band went on a bit of a writing hiatus while continuing to tour, eventually headlining at Lollapalooza 2006. After three years, Katie Todd and company finally released their second album of new material, with Make Some Time For Wasting being released locally in 2005. Though Changing Faces was released with measurable success, Make Some Time For Wasting already found more critical and commerical appeal, earning over 200,000 downloads on iTunes off the success of their leading single “Face Down”, even claiming the spot of iTunes’ “Artist of the Week” a few months ago. The album is finally seeing a well-deserved universal release this year.

It seems that Make Some Time For Wasting was built off of pure momentum. Todd’s patience was key in waiting five years to produce a second album. While listening to the album, it is extremely clear that Todd crafted these songs carefully and precisely with a desirable passion. Though Todd could blend right in with talented keyboard seamstresses such as Regina Spektor, Nellie McKay, and Norah Jones, she is certainly more rock-oriented than her peers, an enjoyable aspect that can be largely credited to her backing band. This is not to say she’s lacking diversity, because Make Some Time For Wasting is filled with a variety of genre-related influences and musical diversification. The obvious choice for her single was the opening track “Face Down”, so it will most likely provide the most immediate appeal to new listeners of Todd. It’s a good choice for an opening song as well, displaying Todd’s talents in a very enjoyable form. Displaying a full range of percussion and guitar, Todd’s dexterous vocals glide easily over the guitar-led alternative elements and her impressive keyboard playing. Her voice has that indescribable late night feel. Whether it’s the slight reverb or the brooding lyrics, her impressive range is equivilant to the amount of enjoyment this righteous song will serve most people. Despite the enjoyment of her catchy alternative songs, I was most impressed by “Figure It Out”, a beautiful ballad led by Todd’s keyboard, alluring strings, and a passive guitar in the background. The song starts out with a simple keyboard, later complemented by a collection of very effective strings. After some additional rhythmic additions, a devastatingly haunting chorus is emotionally belted out by Todd, softly noting that “this is a final call, my lips are sealed and all, you’re gonna find it on your own”. The chorus sees all the instruments coming together, with . “In And Around” is a clever and infectious pop song, lifted by another impressive chorus. “Your actions are contagious, we’re all susceptible,” Todd maintains her focus on the song’s content, being that the fear to take chances is nothing more than a natural human flaw. Flaws are something that is contained very little in Make Some Time For Wasting. It’s an extremely impressive album that I found to be thoroughly enjoyable. Though it was released two years ago, there has been little circulation concerning it, so I figured it would be a good time to get the word out considering the album’s recent reissue.

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Katie Todd Band – Figure It Out

[audio:https://obscuresound.com/mp3/katie-figure.mp3]

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Katie Todd Band – Face Down

[audio:https://obscuresound.com/mp3/katie-face.mp3]

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Katie Todd Band – In And Around

[audio:https://obscuresound.com/mp3/katie-in.mp3]

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Mike Mineo

 
I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound. I used to write for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine. Send your music to [email protected].