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LiveDC: Korallreven @ Black Cat
March 7, 2012 | 3:15PM

All the way from Sweden… Korallreven… or for those (like me) that don’t speak Swedish: “Coral Reefs.” The two piece indie pop/chill wave band is formed by Marcus Joons and Daniel Tjäder of The Radio Dept. and every bit infectious as The Temper Trap, Air, or Phoenix. The Black Cat backstage provided us a passport to what these Swedes have to offer, and they didn’t disappoint.

Opening for the guys was an act a little closer to home: DC native Stout Cortez (aka Justin Hunter Scott). As his Facebook notes, he’s very clear that he’s pop. What we receive is a unique mixing of beats and vocals—pause—he’s somewhat of a DJ that sings, creating a musical space all his own. Word to the wise, keep your eyes and ears on this guy; he was a solid start to what would become a very enchanting night of sound.

Moving a bit more north of our fair city, NYC to be exact, comes Young Magic. This trio of Brooklynites create an atmosphere of psychedelia that drifts into elements of pop, soul, and a bit of hip-hop (I’m almost 100% sure I heard some rapping underneath all those beats). The camaraderie that existed on stage translated into their musicianship—on stage chemistry and musical harmony are what a good band make. With amorous embraces being passed amongst one another on stage, the audience too was able to feel the love off stage. I only wish they had been allotted a longer set, as many others would agree.

After much anticipation, greeted by projected visual art as a backdrop, Korallreven emerged to take the stage. What can be said about their stage presence is a meekness that doesn’t translate as shy, but rather a calm. Their music, like their name, carries a serene feeling—imagine a gentle rainstorm beating against your window. These guys certainly understand the mechanics of forming an impactful music group.

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As we in the audience got swept up in the sonic journey we were being invited upon, Joons’ vocals provided a surety that he wouldn’t leave us stranded. The pop elements of their music attract your heart, inspiring the joy and desire to dance; the chill-wave elements capture your soul and bring you to nirvana. Korallreven commands your attention without the theatrics of the traditional stage performance… there was no convulsing, no forced crowd participation, no BS; just good music. For a monday night show, they served the perfect post-work day release—stress and drama were checked at the door.

Be sure to check out Korallreven’s debut album An Album by Korallreven which is fully available on both iTunes and Spotify. Oh, and for good measure check out our BYT interview with the band; it’s sure to be a delight.

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