Coral Moons
Photo: Tatiana Ariola / Courtesy of 1888 Media

Carly Kraft Is Off and Running As Coral Moons Shine on ‘Fieldcrest’ (premiere + interview)

As the frontwoman of Boston’s Coral Moons, Carly Kraft fires an opening salvo on the indie-rock quartet’s LP debut with “I Feel Alive”, a rock-hard statement for the pandemic era.

Fieldcrest
Coral Moons
Independent
6 August 2021

Getting Moons Struck 

Kraft’s artistic internship included attending shows on most nights in Boston and taking “a leap into the music world with literally zero experience at 22.”

Coral Moons’ new shining light was inspired by local musicians such as Stains of a Sunflower (led by Natalie Renée) and blues singer Julie Rhodes, who “commands a stage like no other and belts her soul throughout a room,” proclaims Kraft. “Lots of incredible female-fronted talent coming out of Boston.”

Kraft also was impressed with Hudson Valley native (and Boston favorite) Aubrey Haddard, recalling how “she effortlessly played her guitar on stage, and I was so inspired and still am every time I get to see her perform.” 

Choosing a name for their new band was easy after Kraft and Bartlett made their “bucket-list hike” during a three-day backpacking trip into the Grand Canyon’s Havasupai Indian Reservation. 

“There was a waterfall there called Mooney Falls, and I’ve always been a lover of the moon and its forces,” Kraft contends. “My nickname is Coral as well, and I love the way it sounded smooshed together. We picked plural moons because we wanted to sound like a collective band instead of a stage name for one person, aka me.”

Coral Moons officially introduced themselves to a live audience at O’Brien’s Pub in Boston on 11 December 2018, according to Bandsintown. They began recording their first five-song EP — Quarter Life Crisis — the following January, and that July released their debut single called “Fall in Love”. 

As a 2020 Boston Music Awards’ alt-indie artist of the year nominee and on the rise throughout the Northeast after selling out local clubs like Lizard Lounge, Coral Moons managed to avoid being fully eclipsed by the pandemic. 

Approaching Fieldcrest Day 

Talk about persistence. There were three recording sessions in 2020 for Fieldcrest at Great North Sound Society in Parsonsfield, Maine, the first during the second week of March as the nation was shutting down with the rest of the world. Coral Moons returned to producer Sam Kassirer’s studio in late summer, then early fall. 

“It was retreat style, so we were strictly quarantining for two weeks at a time before we went to the studio, which kept us sane during such uncertain times,” Kraft remembers. 

Now fully vaccinated after a year filled with lockdowns, cancellations, and anxiety, Kraft and Coral Moons get to strut their stuff while touring behind Fieldcrest. A list of eastern US dates includes a record release show at Boston’s Aeronaut Allston on 6 August, which should also double as Kraft’s 26th birthday celebration. Two days later, they perform early at the Levitate Music Festival in Marshfield, Massachusetts, on a bill that features Billy Strings and Trevor Hall. 

On Fieldcrest, its title taken from the street in suburban Webster where Kraft grew up (with a scrapbook-worthy, nostalgic photo of Carly’s Aunt Melanie comprising the album cover, looking like her present-day niece), they were pleased to work again with Kassirer, the  Boston-area native who produced and mixed Quarter Life Crisis

Called “incredible” by Kraft, he also has production credits for previous prestige projects such as Lake Street Dive’s Bad Self Portraits, the Steel Wheels’ Over the Trees and Wild As We Came Here, and three albums by Josh Ritter, most recently 2013’s The Beast in Its Tracks.

Playing keyboards on the many albums he produces and when touring with Ritter, that’s “how great of a musician [Kassirer] is,” Kraft praises. “Sam challenges our normal ways of thinking and pushes us to be intentional about every detail while also balancing the emotion behind every song. He pushes us in ways we didn’t know we want to go and all the while staying positive and having a blast.” 

Coral Moons

Much like Lake Street Dive and versatile lead singer Rachael Price, Kraft and Co. blend breezy vocals with ’80s-style synths and ’90s-era heavier metal licks to serve up a musical smorgasbord. Their selections range from hot, horn-blowing jazz (“Winnebago” goes the extra mile) and power-pop (“Tell Me to Run” is a real go-getter) to silky, smooth, sexy soul (“Like We Used To” is Kraft’s failed dance with romance) and bluesy beauties (the mid-tempo magnificence of “Under Control” will leave you panting for more). 

Having the ability to brilliantly touch on the various styles is a major achievement for the new kid on Boston’s jam-packed block of budding rock stars. Writing all nine songs (sharing five cowrites with Bartlett, including “Beach Song” and “Tell Me To Run” with Kassirer), Kraft gets extremely personal on album closer “Fieldcrest”. 

“It’s a love song for the past and it describes my whole childhood in a few distinct moments that I remember,” Kraft writes in a recent track-by-track description, while also divulging, “All these songs are about moving on and leaving something behind whether it’s toxic relationships, places, and people that no longer serve you.” 

Asked for the interview about that last statement, and if there’s anything about those past intentions she would change, Kraft reflects, “There are always going to be things you need to move on from that no longer serve you, and that’s just a part of life. 

“I’ve personally learned to embrace that as I go, which I think is the difference between our first EP and this record. The first EP was about having a lot of regrets, especially when it comes to not doing music earlier, and this new record is really about embracing each moment as a learning experience rather than having those feelings of regret.” 

Set free to hug the ones they love, Kraft and Coral Moons just might be bound for glory, ready to bask in the glow of many starry, starry nights. 

TOUR DATES

Aug. 6 – Boston @ AERONAUT Allston (Zone 3) [Record release show]
Aug. 8 – Marshfield, MA @ Levitate Music Fest, Marshfield Fairgrounds (1:30-2:30 PopMatters)
Aug. 11 – Newmarket, NH @ Stone Church (Dead Archer)
Aug. 13 – Norwood, MA @ Extended Play Sessions at Fallout Shelter
Aug. 14 – Somerville, MA @ House Show
Aug. 19 – Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar
Aug. 20 – New York @ Bowery Electric
Aug. 21 – Wakefield, RI @ Ocean Mist (w/ Ripe)
Sept. 11 – West Stockbridge, MA @ The Foundry

PopMatters