Tag Archives: Shana Falana

Our favorite albums of 2015 (part 7)

Earlier this week, I started the countdown of my favorite albums of 2015. It’s been a fantastic year, with a lot of new and exciting stuff. A lot of debut records are on the list, and a lot of old favorites are on the list. Because it’s been such a quality year, I included 50 albums in the countdown, and I also included 25 honorable mentions.

You can see the list of honorable mentions here

So far, the countdown from 50 to 21 looks like this:

50)Lower Dens — Escape From Evil
49)Girl Band — Holding Hands With Jamie
48)Creepoid — Cemetery Highrise Slum
47)Thayer Sarrano — Shaky
46)Rachel Grimes — The Clearing
45)Stolen Jars — Kept
44)Hey Anna — Run Koko
43)Speedy Ortiz — Foil Deer
42)Marriages — Salome
41)Haiku Salut — Etch and Etch Deep
40)The Harrow — Silhouettes
39)Casket Girls — The Piano Album
38)Spectres — Dying
37)Eternal Summers — Gold and Stone
36)Esmerine — Lost Voices
35)Diverting Duo — Desire
34)Viet Cong — Viet Cong
33)astrobrite — Deluxer
32)Noveller — Fantastic Planet
31)Godspeed You! Black Emperor — Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
30)Long Beard — Sleepwalker
29)Hamsas XIII — Encompass
28)Westkust — Last Forever
27)Hop Along — Painted Shut
26)Lanterns On The Lake — Beings
25)Violent Mae — Kid
24)The Black Ryder — The Door Behind The Door
23)Moon King — Secret Life
22)The Soft Moon — Deeper
21)Trementina — Almost Reach the Sun

Today, we’ll continue the countdown on from 20 to 16. Remember to click on album art to get to where you can buy that album.

Beach House — Thank Your Lucky Stars

20)Beach House — Thank Your Lucky Stars
This is the sixth album from the Baltimore dream pop duo and their second of two albums in 2015. This second album was a bit of a surprise, even to big fans. They announced its release via Twitter, then released it nine days later. It’s made up entirely of stuff that was written and recorded during the Depression Cherry sessions, but they insist that this is not a “companion album”. They also wanted to be clear that these are not b-sides or throwaways. And they’re certainly not. I love this album, but I love the stuff from Depression Cherry even more. You’ll see that later in the countdown.

No Joy — More Faithful

19)No Joy — More Faithful
This is the third album by the Montréal doomgaze/dream-punk quartet. I liked their 2013 sophomore album a lot, and I like this one even more. They’re a much more sophisticated, much more technically proficient, and much more focused on production values than they were even two years ago. As soon as More Faithful came out in June, I knew that it would end up in my top 20.

Torres — Sprinter

18)Torres — Sprinter
This is the second album by the indie folk/indie rock band that’s fronted by Mackenzie Scott. She spent most of her life in Georgia and in Tennessee, and now the band is set up in Brooklyn. You may remember that her debut album Torres was my second favorite album of 2013, behind only m b v. That year, I also saw Torres at the Hopscotch Music Festival, and was totally floored by her day party performance. Unfortunately, I had a conflict that prevented me from going to the nighttime show, but it was incredible. I had very high expectations for this album, and when I heard “New Skin” well in advance of the May album release, I was overwhelmed with excitement. The fact that this comes in at 18 doesn’t mean that I was disappointed. I was quite pleased, and it still plays a lot around my house. A lot of people say that Torres reminds them of Sharon Van Etten. I say that Torres has, in a short period of time, gotten better than Sharon Van Etten.

Mount Eerie — Sauna

17)Mount Eerie — Sauna
This is the seventh album by the Washington state based slowcore/indie folk/drone veteran Phil Elverum. He’s been recording as Mount Eerie since 2003, and by most accounts, this is the biggest and broadest thing he’s done. He says that the album was inspired by Vikings and zen and the national character of Finland. Right out of the gate, the album starts with a ten-minute song that’s really droney and open and peaceful. It sets the tone and the headspace for a great listening party. If you’re patient and calm, it’s a beautiful album from start to finish.

Shana Falana — Set Your Lightning Fire Free

16)Shana Falana — Set Your Lightning Fire Free
This is the debut album by the dream pop/shoegaze duo from Kingston, New York. The band is fronted by multi-instrumentalist Shana Falana. According to the story, she met this guy Michael Amari (drums) at a garden party, they started talking about Bauhaus, and they started this band together. The story also goes that this album was written in a very short span of time and recorded without studio equipment using the motto “do it once and don’t look back”. If this is true, I shudder to think how good their next record might be if they spend a lot of time in the studio. I’ve played this record a ton of times, but I unfortunately missed my chance to see them when they played near me.

That’s it for now. Tomorrow, I hope to get another post up, which will get us down to number 11, I’ll be taking Monday off so I can travel back home.

04.07.2015 — “Heavenstay” by Shana Falana

Shana Falana

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Heavenstay” by Shana Falana (2015, from the album Set Your Lightning Fire Free).

Shana Falana is an experimental dream pop/shoegaze/psychedelic band from Kingston, New York. The front of the band is Shana Falana, who spent the last several years living in Brooklyn and playing in lots of widely varying bands. She says that she liked to keep things lively by being in “a sludge rock band, a Bulgarian women’s choir, and a dreamy organ and guitar duo”. She recorded and self-released a bunch of stuff in her bedroom on which she played a bunch of instruments. Her main thing, though, is the guitar. She recently teamed up with drummer Michael Amari after the two met at a garden party and bonded over their mutual love for Bauhaus. Because they’re the sophisticated kind of goth kids.

The Shana Falana band recently signed to Team Love Records, which is based in the tiny town of New Paltz, New York. That’s a town that I’d never heard of until about three months ago. This year, I’ve featured Diet Cig and Quarterbacks, who are both from New Paltz, and now this. Team Love proudly released the Shana Falana “debut” record Set Your Lightning Fire Free today after receiving loads of advance praise for the album.

She decided to do everything quickly The story is that she spent only about one week in the studio recording the music. She operated under the principle of “get it done and don’t look back”. She recorded the vocals herself in various non-studio locations.

However she/they got it done, the result is fantastic. There’s a lot of shimmering 1990s-style dream pop goodness combined with some toughness and confidence. It’s got brains, brawn, and beauty. There’s something about Shana’s voice that’s reminiscent of something 90s, but I can’t put a finger on it yet. It’s kinda driving me crazy. In a good way.

“Heavenstay” by Shana Falana

Falana’s vocals are really airy but strong. With all the delay and reverb and everything else that’s done to the vocal track, it’s like a lot of the stuff that I played on college radio back in the 90s. Those were the golden years. The guitar and bass are nice and chunky, and there are lots of layers to what’s going on with the drumming. I really like everything about this. No nonsense. Just a solid song.

The album is available on vinyl or digital download from the Team Love web shop here. Personally, I had a stroke of bad luck with the download that I purchased, but I trust that Team Love will remedy the situation. eMusic doesn’t have this, but Amazon does. That’s a safe, reliable alternate.

As an aside, the artwork for this album reminds me a lot of something that I would expect to see inside a Neutral Milk Hotel album liner notes.

You can also download all of Shana’s previous releases via her bandcamp page by naming your price.

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