Coals is a Polish duo who draw from dream-pop, electronica, and folk music to create their signature sound. Comprised of vocalist and lyricist Katarzyna Kowalczyk and composer, keyboardist, guitarist and producer Łukasz Rozmysłowski. The duo were born in 1994 and 1995, respectively.

The band, whose name inspired by their birthplace, the coal mining region of Silesia, was established in 2014 when Kowalczyk contacted Rozmysłowski (then under the stage name Coast Range) to collaborate on just one song. The collaboration then expanded and, within a year, the duo were performing at music festivals domestically and abroad. Much of Coals’ early success came from home-recorded songs distributed on the Internet. Their music, which teeters between the mainstream and something far darker, was inspired by artists such as Spooky Black, Ben Howard, Slowdive and Sigur Rós, and Miley Cyrus.

Coals began performing live in October 2014, and by the spring of 2015 they started appearing at festivals: Alter Fest in Mysłowice, Spring Break in Poznań, Open’er Festival in Gdynia, OFF Festival in Katowice, and Soundrive in Gdańsk. In September 2015 they made their foreign debut at Fantoche Festival in Baden, Switzerland and one year later they went to Positivus Festival in Latvia. They also took part in a session for the Seattle radio KEXP.

In early 2017 the duo released “Lato2002” (“Summer2002”), a song dedicated to their grandparents. Sung entirely in Polish, it draws upon nostalgia while invoking symbols of youth in communist Poland.

 

Coals, “Lato2002”:

Mamy lato 2002
układam mozaiki z kapsli po piwie
na koszuli okruchy po Leysach
nucę refreny z kaset Ich Troje
szalone tańce
twarze w brokacie
jak w klipach ze stacji MTV
złote pety
złote biznesy
w tych złotych piaskach są zakopane

mamy lato 2002
moczę palce
w nylonowej wannie
przy tapecie
w koralową rafę
matki barbie
w ortalionie
w harlequiny wczytane
zawsze dwa browary w dłoni
i nowy narzeczony
i nowy narzeczony
w czarnym dresie
od wujka z Chicago
w czarnym dresie
od wujka z Chicago

 

Coals’ 2014 English-language hit, “Weightless”:

I’m looking for weightless moments
with no stabbing of the heart

this is the end of tightened throats
mutual cries and screams
I’m sitting on this bench where years ago
we imagined how we’d live
when fun gives way to common sense

I’m looking for weightless moments
with no stabbing of the heart

Katheryn Weaver is a student of rhetoric and history at the University of Texas, Austin. Her primary areas of investigation include revolution and the rhetorical justification of violence against individuals, state, and society. She is currently studying Russian as a Second Language with SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship.