Tag Archives: Review

Dreams of Summer: Coronado’s new EP, Give Up Nothing Vol. 1, reviewed.

24 Jul
Coronado: The Green Period. From L-R: Lisa Lorenz, Amy Morris, Kevin Lee Correia, Carlos Cornado, Luke Boehler.  Photo Credit: MikeBinelli

Coronado’s Green Period. From L-R: Lisa Lorenz, Amy Morris, Kevin Lee Correia, Carlos Cornado, Luke Boehler. Photo Credit: Mike Binelli

Summer is hitting its height, but it may be too early yet to declare 2014’s definitive summer song. Sure, turn on the radio and you can listen to the variety of contenders on autoplay. They may be the good (Chromeo, for one, are enjoying some well-deserved success with “Jealous”), the bad (listen to Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” one more time, I dare you), and the just plain left-field (who would have thought Weird Al would be a no.1 guy in 2014?).

But the song of the summer may also be a product of an unheralded indie pop outfit, one that should be getting its due on the radio waves. That track is “A Line We Never Drew”, the first single off of Coronado’s latest EP, Give Up Nothing Vol 1.

Coronado - Give Up Nothing Vol.1 (2014)

Coronado – Give Up Nothing Vol.1 (2014)

There’s nothing you / can say to me / inside your mind / or in a dream, oh.” With wistful lyrics, a dance-rock rhythm, and fizzled neon guitar in support, “A Line We Never Drew” is the perfect summer song to soundtrack those sunny day drives and fresh restless nights. Vocals from Lisa Lorenz blend the feelings of midyear just right, from the joy of discovering something new, to the wonder if there couldn’t be something more.

The last time we featured Coronado here on our pages, the Toronto quintet were busy performing live and building off their last EP, Remain Calm, which was only released earlier this year (check out our review of that EP as well as our take on their live set at the Piston in April). At the time, our reviewer Jason Scharff stated “If the current formula for Coronado happens to be making a good record and then improving upon it with the followup, I’m more than excited for the next one.

While up to now Coronado has seemingly been the personal project of frontman and guitarist Carlos Coronado (as to be assumed when the band sports your name), Give Up Nothing Vol.1 marks a promising development in the band by pushing the other members to the fore. Lisa gets to “A Line We Never Drew” as her own, while Carlos completes the EP with three strong entries of his own. As heard in their live sets, Coronado’s best asset is their versatility: with Lorenz, Coronado and Amy Morris all able to contribute with their own voices, the result is a dynamic set-piece and their most complete-sounding effort yet.

 

Take the second track, “Burning Bright” (heard above in Coronado’s EP release party video), and you have your indication of Coronado’s desire and ability to get better and better. The song starts out in a manner that one may expect upon watching reruns of Miami Vice on VHS, but grows organically to be more than what could simply be ’80s pastiche. Layered vocals sing: “Don’t crush the fantasy / let’s just make believe it’s just a dream.” An arresting finale rests on a sweeping synth hook complete the track into something that could only be made in 2014. Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories may have brought Chic-style dance rock back to, uh, chic, last year, but the swiggity guitar style is served just as well here and in the exhilarating solo of “Clear To Me”.

EP closer “Congratulations”, which has also been used appropriately as a set ender for Coronado’s live shows, gets the very important task of convincing the listener to hit repeat once it is all over. The track does its job, and beautifully so: all the elements of music that Coronado can do well…well, they go perfectly. A steady, subtle crescendo does the job in bringing the listener over, and it almost seems cruel to end the song (and the EP) on a sudden cut.

Yet it should be so, in want for the next release. Given Coronado’s prolific nature, though, Vol. 2 is probably already in production. Don’t expect to have to wait for long!

You can listen to all four of the tracks off Give Up Nothing Vol.1 on the album’s Bandcamp. Also, don’t forget to check out the new video for “A Line We Never Drew”! Suitably, it takes the watcher for a little night walk all around the Toronto downtown core. Shiny!


Check out Coronado!

SoundCloud.

Bandcamp.

Youtube.

Facebook.

Twitter.


Author: Nathan Christie

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Alysha Brilla’s Guide to Getting Over Breakups

10 Jul
Alysha Brilla.

Alysha Brilla.

Being a female, fronting a band, and writing your own lyrics is still pretty rare in 2014, or at least less common than the male counterpart. Alysha Brilla, Mississauga-born and Kitchener-bred, possesses all of these qualities. Making her further unique is a husky voice with hints of velvet that adds to her natural sexiness. A treasure of the Canadian music scene, you should get to know and cherish her music–and there is no better place to start than her 2013 album In My Head.

I wish I had heard of Alysha’s music ten months ago when I had most needed it, but as we say, better late than never. Upon listening to her for the first time, what struck me right away is that this young lady had managed to put words to feelings that I could only put tears on. So my first listen of In My Head kept me quite focused on myself internally, but it wasn’t long after that I decided to listen to it again. And again. And again.

Wow. Alysha Brilla: my new musical crush. Seriously, what a voice! It must be the way she transmits her emotions, with sincerity and an incredible charm; it hits your heart and gives you goosebumps. Listening to In My Head, it is clear that Alysha is a strong-minded women with a great sense of satire–and I’m not going to weigh my words, I absolutely love her music.

Alysha Brilla - In My Head (2013).

Alysha Brilla – In My Head (2013).

All of these ramblings are to prepare you for the opus that is In My Head, which overflows with tunes telling stories of love and loss, and doubles as a reassuring voice imploring you to stay positive no matter how damn depressed you are! After a dozen successive listens of this album, I felt like I had just read an entire book of mantras. Her music is the energizer you need, especially for those with broken hearts. Perhaps Alysha should take the title of Guru Brilla!

What makes In My Head especially crazy is how each of Alysha’s songs has its own special hook. Take the track “Never Gonna Get Me Back”, where the girl is just casually kicking her ex lover’s ass with cynical lyrics, ruthless frankness and banging musicality. It is this kind of approach that makes Alysha stand out in her craft; because after all, when it comes to getting over pain and sadness, what’s better than transforming them into your own creative, prosperous project?

The entire album keeps resonating in my head and I can’t seem to get enough of her empowering rhythms, spry choruses, and her mixing of string, brass and percussion instruments. In My Head is lively and full of regenerating power, and it makes me feel good! Its intimacy is relatable, and I find myself confidently singing along with the lyrics of songs like “Mark On Me”: “I was lost but now I am found / I am blind but now I see.” And trust me, listening to this album is cheaper and more efficient than therapy.

Let’s face it, most of us have experimented with the “I need two shots of something strong” stage, so I’m here cheering for Alysha’s modern storytelling. There is no way that tracks like “Lifted” or the trumpets in ‘Two Shots” won’t lift listeners’ spirits and encourage them to hit repeat. In “L.A. Hotel Room”, Alysha sings, “Love is bigger than your name on my chest on a tattoo”—and here in Toronto, everyone has at least one tattoo, so her cynicism becomes even more pointed and true.

 

I could go on with every single of the eleven tracks on In My Head, but by this point you’re probably wondering: when did her story start, and where does her talent come from? Well, the apple rarely falls far from the tree, as Alysha is the daughter of two musicians. With a Canadian mother and a Tanzanian father, she has been swaying to a mix of American jazz and reggae ever since early childhood. She grew up in Kitchener, Ontario, where she performed in various festivals during her teenage years, which would explain why she’s so naturally comfortable on stage.

Speaking of which, I strongly recommend that you see Alysha live with her band; she is a real performer by all means, and plays on both piano and guitar. I saw her show at the Royal Ontario Museum and she left me speechless and completely seduced. Not only is her voice spellbinding, but her attitude onstage is dazzling as well. In one amusing instance, she asked the audience to dance the Macarena, as a nostalgic callback to one of her old classmates in the audience (that’s what they used to dance to back in school)!

Another string to Alysha’s bow is her ability to adeptly cover classic artists such as Bob Marley, The Beatles or Ray Charles in the most simple but ravishing way. Her performance of “I’ve Got a Woman” at the ROM was absolutely killer. Just take in her acoustic rendition of “The Look of Love” here:

 

As a songwriter and producer, Brilla is brilliant, with her unique blend of genres making her an atypical musician with an unfathomable range of eclectic tastes. Alysha is a big listener of ‘40s jazz, yet she is also a huge reggae fan and a devotee of soul folk. In my opinion, her pure talent is off the scale.

As Alysha sings, “When you’ll finally realize you let a good thing pass you by, you’ll be hitting yourself in the head.” So don’t let that happen with Alysha Brilla’s In My Head—hurry out and go get this musical gem!

Once you devour that, you’ll probably want to hear more from Alysha–and don’t worry, you will be in luck! She just started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise money for her new album (currently in the works), and a chance to premiere her new music with the BBC in London. Check the campaign out here.  And keep your ears out for the upcoming new single, “Women”!


Check out Alysha Brilla!

Official website.

SoundCloud.

Youtube.

Facebook.

Twitter.

Instagram.

Indiegogo.


Author: Julie Gossart