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.
Live, Shana Falana pair their sound with projections that make for a notched-up level of performance experience. Though this makes every show that much more taxing for Falana and Amari, they wouldn't have it any other way. Falana explains: "I've always loved two-piece bands because you really are pushed to the limits. ... I like being pushed creatively and being in a two-piece definitely satisfies that."
It's been almost a year since their most recent album, Here Comes the Wave, was released on Team Love Records, and though Falana says that this is the "last round of touring for this record," it's clear that the nine songs on that album still hold a special place in her heart. "I love this record and I feel like it's still unfolding," she says.
As if to prove her point that the band is still exploring the possibilities in Here Comes the Wave's songs, Shana Falana just released a new music video for standout track "Cool Kids." With added visuals, it becomes an even more direct and timely love letter to marginalized folks in increasingly unfriendly times.
"Making the video felt really special because we got to bring to light parts of the song," Falana says. "I wanted to make a song and a video about the courage to be yourself and feeling safe in the world of art. I just want our people to be safe and to be whoever they want to be. And I think it takes so much courage – especially now – to stand out and be yourself and speak your mind."
The Here Comes songs are unfolding onstage in new and unexpected ways. Live performances from recent months have seen the duo tapping into a darker, more primal place; the sound is much more harrowing than on record, with urgent nods toward Medicine, Xmal Deutschland and the Creatures – sounds which are very much in sync with both the season and the mood in the air.
Even though Falana and Amari are both seasoned vets of touring with multiple projects underneath their respective belts – including a stint in a Bulgarian women's choir for Falana – they're still endearingly enthusiastic about touring as an opportunity to take the pulse of the underground. Falana's enthusiasm is palpable: "I'm older – I come from this mid-'90s DIY music scene in San Francisco, and just seeing 20 years later what kids are doing now, it's fascinating to me. I love it!"
In so many ways, autumn is the perfect time for this twosome to hit the road and give the songs on Here Comes the Wave a final send-off. And they're already feeling the vibe for the next record. "We're feeling witchy," says Falana. "I'm a big Dead Can Dance fan. I want the next record to have a dancey Dead Can Dance-meets-Siouxsie and the Banshees vibe." Sign us up.