Shana Falana plays Mickey's Tavern 4/16
"Beautifully layered harmonies and droned out drums drive Shana Falana's upcoming shoegaze-y record." - Noisey
"the most entrancing modern psychedelic pop now being made" - Chronogram
It's been a busy couple of years since New York's Shana Falana went solo, self-releasing 2011's In The Light EP. The veteran dream pop artist has toured all over the US and Europe. She's released two Bandcamp-only collections of lo-fi works, Channel and Velvet Pop, as well as a cassette-only document of her early-career music, Shana Falana Sings Herself To Sleep, which raised over $10k for the Euro Tour. She frequently throws new song ideas onto her Soundcloud, often recorded directly to her phone. But for all her globetrotting, archiving, and micro-releasing, this is the moment we've been waiting for: Set Your Lightning Fire Free.
A lightning fire is exactly what it sounds like, the earth at odds with itself, burning itself to the ground and starting from scratch. On this, her debut LP, Shana Falana makes a point of breaking her own rules. "I've always kept the different sides of my music separate. The ambient ballads, the fuzzed out stuff, they all needed to exist as their own statements," says Falana. "I would have two or three bands at one time: a sludge rock band; a Bulgarian women's choir; a pretty, dreamy organ and guitar duo. This is the first record where I've combined all of that, sometimes in the course of one song."
Rather than spending months in the studio, laboring over arrangements and fussing over takes, Falana ripped out SYLFF in just over a week. The songs were already compact and fully realized from years of touring. Recorded at ISOKON studios in upstate New York with producer Dan Goodwin (Devo, Kaki King), SYLFF's working mantra was a) get the idea down b) move on c) don't look back. Shana chose to record the vocals herself alone in various locations, everywhere from her bathroom to a little girl's bedroom. And for the first time, Shana wrote and performed her own lead guitar parts.
The result is a record of stark confidence. Muscular guitar riffs and thundering drums prevail, while Shana's two decades of songwriting and performing lend authority and emotion to one or two word refrains like "Gone," "Go," and "There's a Way." "Anything," with its Bollywood strings and industrial groove, climaxes with repeated shouts of "No, you didn't take anything from me!" in a way that would make James Murphy sweat. Lead single "Heavenstay" takes the lilting "higher, higher, higher" refrain of In The Light's "Light The Fire" and absolutely soars with the most explosive chorus of the LP. Day-Glo guitars are smeared across this record, along with Falana's veritable army of vocals stacked and vibrating with her eastern European influences.
The other noticeable difference is the addition of steady drummer and creative companion, Mike Amari. The two met at a garden party Shana was playing, bonding over a love for Bauhaus. A few weeks later they were on their first date at a Bright Eyes concert (which Nate from Team Love invited them to), and soon after they were setting up to play together for the first time in an abandoned theater in Kingston, NY. Mike's minimalistic and tribal approach to drumming was a perfect fit with Shana's droning dream pop, and within six months they were heading out on their first national tour.
Her debut full-length album set to release on April 7th on Team Love Records.