New York psych-rocker Shana Falana has announced a brand new release, Shana Falana Sings Herself to Sleep…. In an interesting twist on the traditional crowd-funding model, the release is only available through an Indiegogo campaign, the proceeds of which will go toward a European tour slated for May 2014.
Offered only as a download and limited edition red cassette, the release is a living document of the mid-1990’s San Francisco music scene that birthed Shana. Its contents have been painstakingly digitized and compiled from dozens of tapes into a 60-minute suite that partakes of the lo-fi crunch of its era (think Daniel Johnston, early Beck). The collage of demos, field recordings and early studio cuts are tied together by Shana’s ‘audio diaries,’ which were often recorded on her handheld tape recorder while taking a bath, listening to Native American music. The music itself is eclectic; Shana tears through 90s grunge with Thundersuite (a two piece with Jen Shagawat of Shellshag), two tracks produced by Kelley Stoltz (Sub Pop, Third Man Records) have his signature fuzz and jangle, and the Bulgarian women’s choir Shana organized, known as Handmaiden America, hints at the vocal layering she is synonymous with now.
In 2003 Shana relocated to New York City “to be closer to Europe.” As she explains in the campaign video, the necessary promotional pieces (press, radio, booking agent) have been put into place for her and drummer Michael Amari to make the trip overseas. Now all they need is the funding. That’s where the tape comes in: “If someone is generous enough to support my project, I feel I should give them something really personal back in return, something that I’ve never shared before. That’s why the tape is the reward.”
With roughly 36 tracks, SFSHTS... is dense, fast paced, and sprawling; it plays to the golden-age of San Fran’s DIY culture, where rock operas and rock shows were somewhat indistinguishable, and bands didn’t take themselves too seriously. Indie heavyweights like Anton Newcombe (Brian Jonestown Massacre), Kyp Malone (TV on the Radio) and John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees) developed their respective sounds in that same nurturing environment, and as a testament to the fertility of that time and place, nearly all of the major players of that scene are still making music, still weird and still great.
As a reward in her campaign, Shana will be offering up ten of her favorite gowns from tours past, with a $350 contribution (however, prices may vary on selected garments. Please email email@example.com for additional information, price quotes and detail pictures.)
Shana took the time to explain what made each of these pieces fuel her creative fire:
Snow White Cheerleader
"The cheerleader dress is one of my oldest. It was apart of an entire wardrobe of marching band gear we found in San Fransisco in 1997. I was a part of an artist collective called the Castle Kids and we used to wear these outfits to perform in around town, it's been to burning man twice (1998+1999) and I have performed in it a lot over the years. It's actually hard to part with this old friend. It's always fit me too no matter what size I've been, it's flexible and vibrant.
Here I am (in it) for one of our press pictures we took last year, this photo was used a lot in magazines and articles all over the country. "
Sequin Vest and Shorts
"Orange Hotpants....well, what can I say, these are totally original because I made them. I used to sew a lot back in the day, and I had fun working with all sorts of fringe. I'd sew it onto bathing suits and hotpants, these are all I have left of my collection. They were my favorite ones because of the sequined purple, and silver and turquoise fringe, and of course the metallic orange pant. Front to back they are different, and I have always managed to find a way to work these into a costume- if your dress is too short? Why not throw on some hotpants underneath! The tassels of the fringe hang down below the hemline and add a little mystery to the outfit."
Fall Orange "Fairie" Dress
"I used to perform in a Bulgarian Women's Choir in San Fransisco from 1995-2000. We would wear all sorts of long gowns and this one was always my first choice. It's definatley a little worn, and I also altered the back so that it would fit a deeper chest line (I used to do that alot to dresses that I found that were too tight.) This dress is incredibly feminine and flowy, and so light. Definately a score at the thrift store the day I found it! I remember I lent this dress to a friend of mine, and I had to track it down to get it back, couldn't just let it go, until now!"
Pink Princess Taffeta Dress
"Pink Princess Taffeta dress is new new new!!! One of my dearest friends bought it for me for a birthday present. I wore it recently for another photo shoot we did for Chronogram Magazine. It didn't make the cover but I still think the dress and photo came out great."
Gunne Sax Taffeta
From her psychedelic tunes full of depth and soul, to the tassels on her homemade hotpants, Shana Falana is a bold being that sprinkles her artistic endeavors with the grace of a veteran performer.
Want to be a part of her world? Contribute to her Indiegogo campaign, get some swag and help Shana on her pilgrimage!