Jan 30, 2013 06:26 AM WV Sound
Keeping a beat in the Mountain State
Donora Brings Fun Indie Pop to West Virginia
Pittsburgh’s Donora isn’t unfamiliar with the Mountain State. For several years, they’ve made the trek to Morgantown for 123 Pleasant Street’s regularly scheduled Mayday! dance parties and have become a local favorite while simultaneously shaping a national identity. Casey Hanner, Donora’s lead vocalist, says she loves Morgantown for its energy and youth. “People are ready to dance, which is perfect for our band,” she says.
Donora is made up of Casey, her brother and drummer Jake, and bass player Jake Churton. The trio performs an uplifting, easy-on-the-ears style of dance/rock-pop that’s driven by memorable hooks. Their songs have been featured in some high-profile projects, including MTV’s Teen Wolf and more recently a commercial for Nationwide Insurance, and the band’s past albums—the self-titled Donora and 2011’s Boyfriends, Girlfriends—continue to hold up.
A new five-song EP, Play Nice, was just released, and Donora plans to hit the road to promote it, playing shows up and down the East Coast with West Virginia University alumni and pop-duo TeamMate. Donora has toured with TeamMate previously and like what the band bring to their shows. The pairing also represents a funny little union between the sometimes rival cities of Pittsburgh and Morgantown. “When we first got together, Jake, our bassist, was wearing a Pitt shirt, and Scott, from TeamMate, had on a WVU shirt,” Casey says laughing. “We started off the tour like that, but Morgantown’s been great to us, so there’s no rivalry as far as I’m concerned.”
As for Donora’s hometown, Casey sees Pittsburgh as a special place that’s recently witnessed a renaissance of sorts in terms of its creative community. “Everyone in Pittsburgh knows Pittsburgh is awesome but doesn’t want everyone else to know it’s awesome,” she says. “We like it to be our secret.”
Donora will perform at 123 Pleasant Street in Morgantown on February 12, 2013, with TeamMate and Best Friends.