Whether brooding or blissful, the darkly kaleidoscopic songs of Shana Falana merge elements of psychedelia, punk, and shoegaze. After coming up in the experimental pop scenes of San Francisco in the ’90s and Brooklyn in the 2000s, Falana issued a series of solo EPs in the early 2010s, making her full-length debut with Set Your Lightning Fire Free in 2015. Her third album, the druggier Darkest Light, arrived in 2019.
Falana was raised in the Bay Area by a mother who wrote songs and played in cover bands. Her father was a fan of jazz and new age/electronic musicians, while her mother exposed her to more folk-oriented icons. She started writing and recording her own songs in the ’90s, but only released her first official solo EPs, Channel and Velvet Pop, in 2011 after relocating to Brooklyn and then settling in Kingston, New York. A third EP, In the Light, followed a year later.
After signing with Team Love Records, Falana returned with her first album, Set Your Lightning Fire Free, in 2015. Operating as a duo at the time with partner and drummer Mike Amari but under her name, they embarked on a lengthy tour of the U.S. Falana brought back producer D. James Goodwin for Here Comes the Wave, which saw release in 2016.
Moving to Arrowhawk Records, Falana returned with her third full-length, Darkest Light, in 2019. Her third straight album with Goodwin and Amari, it included a cover of Depeche Mode‘s “Stripped,” a song she was known to perform live.
“New York duo Shana Falana – the eponymous tandem of guitarist-singer Falana and drummer Mike Amari – are a fearsome pairing of soaring, dizzying, sound and vision, whipping up an immersive storm that belies the economy of band personnel. Self-characterized as “dark pop,” Shana Falana hybridizes shoegaze drift, post-punk despair and pop savvy into a shimmering whole greater than the component parts of musical influence.” (Orlando Weekly)
“Shana Falana’s music is a summer storm. It’s dark and heavy, but ultimately reveals itself to a brightness that leaves you feeling optimistic.” (BandsInTown)
“Psychedelic dream pop dashed on the rocks of goth defiance.” (Stereogum)