Tag: Shana Falana

New Video: Shana Falana Releases a Dazzlingly Gorgeous Visual for “Come and Find Me”

Over the past few years, I’ve written and photographed the California-born, Upstate New York-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and JOVM mainstay Shana Falana. And as you may recall, Falana can trace the origins of her music career to her involvement in San Francisco‘s D.I.Y. scene in the 90s, where she also had a stint in a local Bulgarian women’s choir. In the early 00s, she had relocated to New York. And as the story goes, by 2006 Falana had been struggling through drug addiction and financial woes, when she lost part of an index finger in a work-related accident.

Under most normal circumstances, the accident would be considered extremely unlucky and tragic; however, Falana received settlement money, which provided a much-needed period of financial stability — and it also allowed her to get sober and find a new focus in her life and music. Her sophomore album, last year’s Here Comes the Wave was conceptualized and written during two disparate parts of her life — while she was struggling with drug addiction and desperately trying to get sober ad the subsequent years of sobriety. Understandably, much of that album’s material was rewritten and revised with the growing sense of perspective and awareness that comes as you’ve gotten older and a bit a wiser. Thematically, that album touched upon transformation as as a result of emotional and spiritual turmoil; the necessary inner strength, resolve and perseverance to overcome difficulties; the eventual acceptance of aging, time passing and of one’s own impending mortality.

Slated for an October 25, 2019 release through Arrowhawk Records, Falana’s third album Darkest Light has been playfully described by its creator as “druggy music by sober people” but at its core, the album is naturally full of mystery, contract and paradox. The Kingston, New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist has worked deep in her own niche in the psych rock, shoegaze and ethereal punk worlds and on the forthcoming album reportedly finds her converting weird, magical and occasionally nasty energy into  authentic messages of personal empowerment, rebirth and redemption. “I’ve been around a while,” Falana says. “I was an addict. I worked on the fringe of the sex industry in New York City for two years. I know that even in the darkest lives, everyone still has their light. People still shine. Darkest Light is an album of mantras.”

The album finds Falana continuing her ongoing collaboration with drummer Mike Amari and producer D. James Goodwin, who has worked with the likes of Kevin Morby, Wand, Heather Woods Broderick and others. Reportedly, the trio build manage to construct a sound that at points is stormy, heavy and harrowing and at other points delicate without overwhelming Falana’s delicate and vocals.  Interestingly, the album’s first single is the sparse and hauntingly gorgeous “Come and Find Me.” Centered around Falana’s delicate vocals and strummed guitar, the song expresses a plaintive and aching longing, making it arguably one of the most heartbreaking songs of her growing catalog. 

“This is the only song on the record that is not ‘new,'” Falana says of the new single. “I wrote it while still living in BK over a decade ago, and at the time (not yet sober) I thought I was waiting for my love, my prince, my savior to come to me. But since then I’ve realized it was a plea to myself. It took me years to get to a place where I felt I could put this song out, and perform it regularly. It’s from the deepest, quietest part of my heart. When we decided to put this on the record I knew it needed to be the first single . . . so it could stand on its own for a while.” The song does what we all do at some point, as we get older — look back at our past selves with a mix of shame, pity and empathy for all the things we somehow didn’t know, all the things we lost, but with the innate understanding that we wouldn’t be who we are now without those younger and more foolish selves. 

Directed and shot by D. James Goodwin, the recently released video is a an appropriately stark and intimate visual featuring Falana, neck deep in water, with a small bit of light on her face, reflected back into the water. It’s a dazzlingly gorgeous visual for a gorgeous and heartfelt song. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Shana Falana Releases a Lovingly Straightforward Cover of Depeche Mode’s “Stripped”

I’ve written and photographed the California-born, Upstate New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist and JOVM mainstay Shana Falana quite a bit over the past few years — and as you may recall Falana can trace the origins of her music career to being a member of  San Francisco‘s D.I.Y. scene that included a stint in a local Bulgarian women’s choir. By 2006, she had been in New York for some time, and was struggling through drug addiction and financial woes, when she lost part of an index finger in a work-related accident.

Under most normal circumstances, the accident for most people would be considered extremely unlucky and tragic; however, the settlement money Falana received provided a much-needed period of financial stability and a desperately needed period in which she could get sober and find a new focus in her life and music. Her sophomore album, Here Comes the Wave was conceptualized and written during two different parts of Falana’s life — one part while she was struggling with drug addition and desperately trying to get sober and the subsequent years of sobriety. Naturally, the album’s material was rewritten and revised with the growing sense of perspective and awareness that comes when you’ve gotten older and perhaps even a bit wiser than what you once were before. Along with that, the album thematically touches upon transformation as a result of emotional and spiritual turmoil; the necessary inner strength, resolve and perseverance to overcome difficulties; the eventual acceptance of aging, time passing and of one’s own impending mortality.

A couple of years have passed since I’ve last written about the California-born, Upstate New York-based JOVM mainstay and as it turns out, Falana and her longtime collaborator and drummer Mike Amari have been busy working on the highly-anticipated follow-up to her critically applauded sophomore album — and it included a lovingly straightforward yet subtly atmospheric cover of Depeche Mode‘s “Stripped,” which retains the original’s plaintive and swooning romanticism. Directed by longtime collaborator Bon Jane, the accompanying video is centered around an extremely stripped down concept — the viewer sees Falana in a wardrobe and makeup by Anna Hafner signing the song in front of a projection screen with superimposed images of herself, which further emphasizes the song’s plaintive need.

 

Born into a family of artists and musicians, the Denton, TX-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Claire Morales began to play music and make visual art at a very young age. Family gatherings were frequently interrupted by a three year-old Morales insisting on singing a mix of Beatles and Disney songs on a makeshift, fireplace stage. The Denton, TX-based singer/songwriter and guitarist began playing her first solo shows as a middle school at local coffee shops, armed with her father’s 1960s Gibson and an arresting voice that has had many well-meaning people throughout  at her life would deal “more powerful than I thought it would be, looking you.”

Morales’ 2015 full-length debut Amaranthine saw her work translation from folksy and rootsy solo singer/songwriter to fully fleshed out band with at sound that many have described as melodic, hazy, 70s inspired rock centered around a nostalgic meditation on childhood — from the perspective of someone, in the early throes of adulthood. However, All That Wanting, Morales’ sophomore effort, is the much-anticipated follow-up to her debut, and the album, which is slated for a June 29, 2018 release reportedly explores the vast freedom, possibility and existential terror of young, adult life; in fact, the album revolves around the human tendency to endlessly crave more, asking how we can stave off and tame that feeling and instead take in the beauty before you. Desire is ultimately viewed as a mythic force capable of compelling one forward or consuming one wholly.

Recorded by Matt Pence and Jeremy Buller at the Denton-based Echo Lab, Morales and her backing band of Alex Hastings, Ryan Williams and Russ Connell spent six days recording the album’s ten tracks mostly live together in the studio’s cavernous main room, which gives the album and its material the raw energy of a group of musicians who have collaborated together for a long time, and hinges on mutual respect and open communication between everyone involved. The album finds Morales and company fearlessly and fluidly passing through a vast sonic palette including intense dramatic moments, shoegazer-like psychedelia, profound introspection, rumbling unease and cathartic release.

All That Wanting‘s latests ingle, the album title track “All That Wanting” centers around fuzzy, pedal effected guitar chords, a propulsive rhythm section, a soaring, arena rock friendly hook, Morales’ powerhouse vocals and a trembling, unfulfilled longing that sonically and thematically reminds me quite a bit of PJ Harvey and Shana Falana, complete with a distinctly feminine strength and resiliency.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Shana Falana Releases Vivid and Surreal Visuals for “Cool Kids” That Focus on Acceptance and Inclusion

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for the better part of the past year or so, you’d be familiar with JOVM mainstay Shana Falana, and as you may recall, Falana is a California-born, Upstate New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who can trace the origins of her musical career to  San Francisco‘s D.I.Y. scene, as well as a stint in a local, Bulgarian women’s choir. By 2006, Falana had been in New York for some time and was struggling through drug addiction and financial woes, when she lost part of an index finger in a work-related accident. And under most normal circumstances, the accident for most people would be considered either extremely unlucky and perhaps even tragic; however, the settlement money she received provided a much-needed period of financial stability and a desperately-needed period in which she could get sober and find a new focus in her life and music. You’ll also recall that, her sophomore effort, Here Comes the Wave, which was one of my favorite albums released last year, was conceptualized and written during two different parts of Falana’s life — while she was struggling with drug addiction and trying to get sober, and in the subsequent years that have followed in sobriety. Naturally, the material at points was rewritten, revised and refined with the growing sense of perspective and awareness that comes when you’ve gotten older and hopefully much wiser than what you were. As a result, the material winds up being centered around a universal duality — in this case, how its creator once thought, felt and once was and how its creator now thinks, feels and is. But along with that, the material focuses on transformation as a result of emotional turmoil, the inner strength and resolve to overcome difficulties, the acceptance of time-passing, aging and one’s own impending mortality., as well as the death of her father. 

Falana’s sophomore effort found her continuing her collaborating with producer D. James Goodwin, best known for his work with Bob Weir, Whitney and Kevin Morby and with her long-time partner, collaborator and drummer Mike Amari, with Goodwin and Amari playing much larger roles on the album, as the trio of collaborators boldly went for much more audacious sounds, more heightened moments and an emotional vulnerability — while remaining relentlessly and infectiously upbeat and positive. And in a subtle fashion, the material suggests as TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe said during last month’s Meadows Festival, “Everything turns out okay in the end. If it isn’t okay now, well clearly, it isn’t the end yet.” 

Waves’ latest single “Cool Kids” while being decidedly among the album’s most shoegazer-inspired tracks manages to be simultaneously meditative and anthemic, as it possesses some enormous and rousing hooks, propulsive drumming and a shit ton of distortion with looped vocals and unsurprisingly, the song has an overwhelming positive message. As Falana explains in press notes, “The song, which I wrote last year, is about embracing yourself and letting go of judgements against others.” As she adds, “Like most of my work, it meditates on one tone, one note, attempting to create a space where people can relax, and dream.”

Interestingly, the recently released Bon Jane-produced video is a mischievous mix of 70s hair product commercials and workout video, as it features a diverse array of people blow-drying their hair in slow motion while on stationary bikes. There’s also a lot of rainbow flag waiving — and of course, Falana herself is seen sporting felt hearts, the same ones that she’s been sewing onto people’s clothing and passing out at her shows. “I’ve been sewing felt hearts onto people’s clothing and asking them to make a pledge to be more vulnerable, empathetic, and to actively take care of others in their communities,” Falana says in press notes. (Of course, the video makes me wish I still had hair; but that’s another issue.) 

In terms of the video, Falana says “This is about as political as I get. This year has forced so many of us to re-proclaim the basics of human rights and decency. It’s been heartbreaking to see so many friends in my local community, who have been under attack and marginalized further, and so how could that not be on my mind when making a video for ‘Cool Kids’?

“When Bon Jane, who brilliantly shot and directed this, and I got together, we both loved the idea of presenting that dreamy, meditative state through people blow drying their hair in slow motion. This video is about re-affirming my belief in the future. During the shoot, we kept calling the group o people on bikes an ‘Army of Love,’ because that’s what we’re doing. Going to war for love.”