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Live Review: The Coronas with Rachel Levitin at DC9, Washington, DC – 12th November 2017

 
By on Thursday, 16th November 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

As mentioned in my review on Monday of the Sherlocks gig there last week, DC9 has really come up in the world. It was previously one of my favourite places to see bands in Washington but after seeing The Coronas play there on Sunday night, I think DC9 has won the top prize. A near sold out show for the Irish rockers made for a rowdy but extremely fun and interactive show, as you will read below.

The opener for the night was local singer/songwriter Rachel Levitin, who was joined by Alex Touzinsky on fiddle. Whether it was planned or not, as soon as I saw the fiddle come out during the soundcheck, I couldn’t help thinking this was an act perfect to open for an Irish band, am I right? Though the bespectacled artist – and her adorable acoustic guitar, I might add – might be small in stature, Levitin makes up for it in sass. She seems equally at home between blues-inflected and more traditional singer/songwriter-y pop numbers.

Rachel Levitin

She explained that the story told in ‘Get Back Up’, her most recent single, was based on a real-life experience of walking and then falling on her face, which she then turned into an inspirational song. The recorded version of this song will remind you of angsty guitar rock/pop from the ‘90s. ‘Lucky Penny Blues’, which she noted was her grandfather’s favourite among all of her music so far, is on the sultrier side of things, showcasing her strong voice. No tentativeness here. Will some independent label please snap her up? Simon Raymonde, are you listening?

The Coronas

The Coronas are rather special to me, because I ‘found’ them and not because someone was pitching them to me. I had been trawling for new music to listen to from Ireland and impressed with ‘Tony Was an Ex-Con’ smoky ballad ‘Someone Else’s Hands’, I decided to write a Bands to Watch feature on them. This was back in November 2010, after they’d already released 2 albums. It probably also helped loads that my heart had just gotten stomped on by a two-timing musician and Danny O’Reilly’s melancholic thing was just the right thing for me to listen to while I bawled my eyes out. Genre-wise, The Coronas are a rock band primarily, but they also do the rock/pop mélange quite well too. We’ve written a fair bit on them since my discovery of them. I am honestly baffled why they aren’t as massive in the UK as they are in Ireland, where they regularly sell out large venues.

Given their track record back in Eire, it’s an exceptional treat to see them play in an intimate, 200-capacity venue. Judging from the booming accents lubricated by alcohol around me, I got the impression that quite a few fans came over from Ireland for this show. Impeccable thinking. Us Washingtonians hadn’t seen the Coronas in town in 6 years, at which time we were treated to a brand new, disco beat-led, yet to be titled song that turned into ‘Addicted to Progress’ on 2011’s ‘Closer to You’. Hearing it on this night, recalling when O’Reilly asked us for help to name it at the now long gone Red Palace on a cold March night in 2011, then thinking about their incredible ‘progress’ over the years in Ireland couldn’t have been sweeter.

The Coronas

Earlier this year, the Dublin quartet released their fifth album, ‘Trust the Wire’, so the set list was heavy with tunes from the LP. This included opening track ‘We Couldn’t Fake It’ and ‘A Bit Withdrawn’, explained by O’Reilly as that sweet spot you have with a partner where you can be sat with them and nothing has to be said between you two because it’s all understood. In case anyone forgot where the Coronas were from, O’Reilly jumped into the crowd with his acoustic guitar to lead a bare version of ‘Heroes and Ghosts’ to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their debut release, going into full Irish language mode on one of the verses. This surely must have wowed the youngest audience members, two boys under the age of 10 who were brought along to the show by their mother.

Then they were back to older favourites for the encore, which like nearly every song they played that evening in Washington, were met with raucous cheers. The crowd sung along to ‘San Diego Song’ and ‘Just Like That’ with gusto, at times allowing O’Reilly and band to take a breather, listening to the words being shouted back at them. It was one of many beautiful moments at this show. Yes, I know, some people just adore the 9:30 Club. But for my money, I’d rather come to DC9 and have an experience like this that won’t be duplicated anywhere else.

The Coronas

The Coronas have two more shows in North America (Friday at the Echo in Los Angeles and Saturday at Brick and Mortar in San Francisco) before they head down under for a series of club shows. They return to Dublin the first week of December for three shows at the Olympia, on the 5th, 7th and 10th of December.

After the cut: The Coronas’ set list.
Continue reading Live Review: The Coronas with Rachel Levitin at DC9, Washington, DC – 12th November 2017

 

Album Review: The Coronas – Trust the Wire

 
By on Thursday, 22nd June 2017 at 12:00 pm
 

The Coronas Trust the Wire album coverThe Coronas are back with their impressive fifth studio album ‘Trust the Wire’. After four previous albums, and a decade together as a band, The Coronas have made huge strides from their days at University College Dublin. A short stint on the major label Island Records, 4 years on and off touring and topping the bill at this year’s Sea Sessions in Bundoran. ‘Trust the Wire’ sees the band taking an interesting approach to their writing. Self-described as a “mature, atmospheric and understated sound”, the album shows more control within the slow building, reserved songs, whilst touching on ‘70s tinged electronic rock, sunshine soaked songs and of course a hint at the band’s indie folk roots.

There’s no better way to introduce fans to the band’s progression than album opener and first single ‘We Couldn’t Fake It’. So far from the band’s already established indie pop sound, a heavy use of electronic instruments seems a bit of a risky move in beginning the album with. However, it’s executed brilliantly, as the pulsating sound of the electric drum kit instantly draws attention before the beautiful amalgamation of swirling synths combined with the sharp texture of guitars captures a subtle nostalgia of old Coronas, as well as the excitement of their new direction. The single sets the mood for the album, which in a nutshell is about self-belief and trusting your instincts.

’A Bit Withdrawn’ continues the focus on electronic features. A simple drumbeat carries the song, creating space for the reverb-soaked accompaniment from the rest of the band. The introduction of a vocoder takes the track to a whole new level, its very careful use adding an ambient, dreamlike level to the track has never heard in The Coronas’ music before. Sandwiched between these two progressive tracks is a rousing, festival ready, summer anthem. ‘Real Feel’ contrasts brilliantly by producing a light-hearted, bouncy but driving, indie pop hit reminiscent of their earlier releases. In just the first three tracks, The Coronas prove how versatile they can be, by proving their newfound confidence in their musical maturity.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9JqtIiKsMA[/youtube]

‘Give Me a Minute’ marks the midpoint of the album, a heartfelt song about singer O’Reilly feeling anti-social after some live shows. Although some of the lyrics might be misconstrued as an ode to a lover, the lyrics actually speak from a moment of vulnerability and introversion. The song is constructed on a slow build, which again feels unfamiliar for The Coronas and their back catalogue of big indie anthems. However, no matter what sound the band is aiming for, O’Reilly proves he can always deliver a punchy, hook-ridden vocal melody with a stunning tone.

LP ballad closer ‘Look at All the Lovers’ was inspired by O’Reilly feeling envious of important couples in his life, namely his parents and bassist Graham Knox and his wife. The track begins with the smooth sound of an electric piano and features double-tracked vocals, which could be symbolic of O’Reilly’s thoughts. The slow build structure of the song allows for the gradual progression into a full sound, allowing the rest of the band to join in very subtly to support O’Reilly, maybe in more than one way. A self-indulgent end to the album and a little unlikely when it comes to closing a Coronas album, but if we take their word for it, to “trust the wire and do it blind” it was definitely the right choice.

‘Trust the Wire’, oozes strength and emotion from start to finish. Brimming with self-belief and honesty, it preaches a message of hope from a place of despair, felt through the lyrics and the band’s attention to detail within its delicate, intricate arrangements. It’s safe to say The Coronas are back, with a sound fizzing with ambition, with a subtle yet stately grandeur.

8.5/10

‘Trust the Wire’ is available now in Ireland from the band’s own label So Far So Good; its UK release will be tomorrow, Friday, the 23rd of June. If you would like to catch the Coronas live either during a short list of Irish summer dates or their European Autumn tour, go here. To read more of our past coverage on The Coronas here on TGTF, follow this link.

 

Video of the Moment #1955: The Coronas

 
By on Thursday, 12th November 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

London via Dublin band The Coronas have a new promo video out this week for their new single and title track of their current album ‘The Long Way’, which was released back in March on Island Records. (Read my review of their first major label LP here.) The video’s story itself seems pretty anti-climactic to me, though from what I can tell from the comments on Facebook about it, this black and white promo was filmed in a recognisable part of Cork in Ireland, so it’s nice to know that although the band have uprooted to the big smoke, their hearts are still back in the Emerald Isle and want to continue their connections to their homeland. Revel in the anthemic song while watching the video below.

The Coronas are currently in the midst of a UK tour; all the details are listed here. For all of TGTF’s coverage on The Coronas, go here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26xwr7j0tsw[/youtube]

 

The Coronas / November 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 22nd July 2015 at 9:00 am
 

The Coronas have announced a full list of autumn tour dates around their previously scheduled show at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire this November.  The November tour is the Irish band’s second headline run in the UK this year, following a spring tour that supported the March release of their Island Records debut LP ‘The Long Way’.  Below the tour date listing, you can find the video for album track ‘How This Goes’.

Tickets for the following shows go on sale this Friday, the 24th of July, at 9 AM.  To read all of our extensive past coverage of The Coronas, head right back this way.

Monday 2nd November 2015 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Tuesday 3rd November 2015 – Liverpool Arts Club
Wednesday 4th November 2015 – Sheffield Plug
Thursday 5th November 2015 – Glasgow Oran Mor
Saturday 7th November 2015 – Birmingham Rainbow
Monday 9th November 2015 – Manchester Sound Control
Tuesday 10th November 2015 – Bristol Fleece
Thursday 12th November 2015 – Brighton Patterns
Friday 13th November 2015 – London Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Sunday 15th November 2015 – Norwich Waterfront Studio
Monday 16th November 2015 – Oxford Bullingdon

[youtube]https://youtu.be/d6PPLu787uw[/youtube]

 

Album Review: The Coronas – The Long Way

 
By on Wednesday, 4th March 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Last year when lead singer of the Coronas Danny O’Reilly was explaining to RTE 2fm presenter Rick O’Shea how they never thought they would make it out of Ireland, I realised I had never really considered how bands outside America or the UK might feel like they’ve not reached their full potential or even somehow failed if they never are able to bring their music outside of their country’s borders. Having sold out countless venues at home and having already released three studio albums on their own label 3ú Records at home in Ireland, you can now certainly say the Coronas have made it out: last summer they inked a deal with UK heavyweight Island Records and if a physical gesture of their commitment was needed, the band also pulled up roots, now calling London home. I can’t help but think the name of their first album for Island, ‘The Long Way’, is a wry smile and nod to the years of graft and the lengthy journey they needed to take to get them where they are today.

While the album’s songs were written well before their signing to Island, some credit must be given to producer Eliot James, who also worked on Two Door Cinema Club‘s monster debut ‘Tourist History’ and Kaiser Chiefs‘ ‘Off With Their Heads’. Further, as you would rightly expect with the backing of a major label, the Coronas sound is much bigger and grander this time around than their last album, 2011’s ‘Closer to You’. The new LP begins confidently with heavy hitter ‘All the Others’, which peaked at #3 on the Irish Singles Chart when it was released there last May, the band’s highest charting single to date. It’s followed by the brash single ‘Just Like That’; its emotional lines “I’m not saying I want you back unless you say it first / ’cause I’ve said things just like that only to end up getting hurt” are so incredibly catchy, the desperate sadness of the words is masked. Almost. You also can’t help but chuckle at the hoovers in love in its accompanying promo; who knew the secret lives of our cleaning machines were so complicated?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSRVDMO0Bmg[/youtube]

‘The Long Way’ is not a complete downer. However, one can’t really escape the feeling that some of the more upbeat numbers are a bit forced. ‘How This Goes’ sounds like a cardio workout at a music festival near you this summer, played at rapid speed and replete with echoing whoa-ohs. ‘Get Loose’ recalls the happy-go-lucky style of Jason Mraz, its bouncy rhythm certain to put a smile on your face, if not change your world. Is this what happens to a band after they sign their life away to a major? I try not to think about Maroon 5’s transformation after the ‘Harder to Breathe’ era.

Somewhat ironically, it’s the tracks that see the Coronas returning home, to the feeling they created on their first three homespun albums that feel the most genuine, as if you’re looking right into their hearts. ‘What a Love’ smartly utilises understated instrumentation to highlight O’Reilly’s warm vocals, which lift and open up in the bridge, as he encourages all to “choose the kind [of love] that gets you safe / someone to share the blame, but share the great…yeah it should inspire you”. ‘At the Same Time’ is my vote for clear standout, chronicling a painful breakup where “we both walked out from the same fight / but I never thought we’d give up at the same time”. While there is comfort to be found in the pop melody, with joyful piano and synths moving the song forward as if in parallel to be sympathetic to the protagonist’s need to move forward with his life, there’s no denying the underlying hurt (most likely the breakup of O’Reilly’s relationship with Irish tv presenter Laura Whitmore).

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oftrUU5iRuI[/youtube]

When Kodaline first appeared on the scene in 2012, a lot of critics were saying they’d be the Irish Coldplay, but Kodaline’s mates the Coronas could very well be next in line to the piano stadium rock/pop throne. Another heartwrenching standout ‘If I Gave to Someone Else’ is a worthy competitor to ‘All I Want’ as O’Reilly asks miserably, “if I gave myself to someone else / would it hurt just a little less?” as Dave McPhillips’ bright guitar line throughout lightens the tune up considerably. With its melancholic moments, ‘The Long Way’ can be a tough listen, but the reward is in hearing the beginning stages of a band well on their way to becoming international stars.

7.5/10

‘The Long Way Home’ is out next Monday, the 9th of March, on Island Records. Catch the Coronas on their 2-week UK tour that begins on the 20th of March in Leeds.

 

The Coronas / March and April 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 25th November 2014 at 8:00 am
 

Irish quartet The Coronas have announced a March tour of the UK in support of their upcoming new album ‘The Long Way’, out this week on Island Records. A lengthier follow-up to their sold out October tour, this set of live dates includes shows at Birmingham’s Academy 3 and Manchester’s Deaf Institute before the final date at Koko in London on the 1st of April. Tickets for the following shows will be available starting on this Friday, the 28th of November, at 9 AM.

TGTF knew the Coronas way back when, and you can read all of our previous coverage on them here.

Friday 20th March 2015 – Leeds Wardrobe
Saturday 21st March 2015 – Newcastle Academy 2
Sunday 22nd March 2015 – Aberdeen Garage
Monday 23rd March 2015 – Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
Wednesday 25th March 2015 – Birmingham Academy 3
Thursday 26th March 2015 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Friday 27th March 2015 – Nottingham Bodega
Saturday 28th March 2015 – Bristol Thekla
Monday 30th March 2015 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Tuesday 31st March 2015 – Brighton Komedia
Wednesday 1st April 2015 – London Koko

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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