Posts Tagged ‘Hardly Art’

Shana Cleveland

An integral part of La Luz’ sound for the past few years, guitarist Shana Cleveland proves her solo vision to be just as potent. Shirking off the shell of the “band,” Shana Cleveland and the Sandcastles, that she’d used last time she struck out on her own, Night of the Worm Moon burrows far further into the darker recesses of pop’s hold on the mind. Elements of surf still infect her songwriting, as would befit any member of La Luz, but this seems to be a pale midnight ride into the waves. It’s one that ends with a dive below the surface. holding your breath until it hurts, then returning to the beach to watch the stars in hope that another is out there feeling just as adrift upon the pangs of loneliness. Themes of isolation, flying saucers, other worlds, solar eclipses, and inner monologues weave between the somnambulant plucks of Cleveland’s songs. The record revels in lulling the listener into a cocoon of calm, but winds up painting their dreams in strange iridescent shades that haunt heavily upon waking.

The fevered pastoral nature of the record places it outside many of her surf and garage contemporaries, finding a queasy balance of bleakness and hope like some of the best members of bygone label Language of Stone. Were it the peak of the psych-folk revival, Cleveland could easily find herself sharing a bill between Orion Rigel Dommisse, Festival, Josephine Foster, and White Magic. She ultimately tugs away from the noose of nostalgia, though, giving the album a thoroughly timeless feeling at its core. Night of the Worm Moon winds up that rare instance of a record that slows time around the listener, sealing the moments spent listening in a billow of haze that’s as narcotic as any substance you’re likely to encounter. Cleveland has long proven a nuanced force in pop, but this album seals her legacy as one of the new era’s most haunting folk voices.


Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Shana Cleveland on Charlie Feathers’ – Tip Top Daddy

I’ve long been a fan of La Luz’ surf-soaked garage pop, and that’s in large part to the contributions to guitarist/singer Shana Cleveland. As she’s built up a body of work apart from the group, first with the Sandcastles and now standing alone with the imminent release of Night of the Worm Moon, she’s proving to be a nuanced and nimble songwriter capable of shaking off the both the garage and surf tags to explore waters well beyond her original launching grounds. I implored Shana to pick out a record for the Hidden Gems series that she though was a true hidden gem, lost to the ages and slipping between the cracks of culture. She’s chosen Norton’s roundup of Charlie Feather’s acoustic obscurities. Check out what brought this record into her life and what impact its had on her personally and artistically.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Shana Cleveland – “Don’t Let Me Sleep”

Shana Cleveland lets out the second single from her upcoming, Night of the Worm Moon, which is quickly becoming one of my favorites of 2019. Much like the previous single, “Don’t Let Me Sleep” languishes in late-night vibes and spectral calm. The song, and album, are a departure from the taut garage pop of her La Luz days, but Cleveland proves that less is more with these affecting and dreamy tunes. The accompnying video is no less dreamy, in fact. Centered on an extraterrestrial concept, the clip is awash in shimmering colors and midnight locales. Its a perfect compliment to Shana’s lullaby pleas. The album is out April 5th, and I highly recommend looking into a copy.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE/

0 Comments

Shana Cleveland – “Face of the Sun”

The La Luz frontwoman already had a formidable catalog behind her when she struck out solo as Shana Cleveland and the Sandcastles back in 2015, but the stripped-down record showed a more lonesome side of her songwriting than ever before. Now, with LL’s best album to date in the rearview of last year, she aims for a solo stab once again, dropping the Sandcastles crutch and embracing a more fully formed solo persona. Her solo works tend to be calmer and more pastoral than the dark current of surf that pervades La Luz, but on “Face of the Sun” she combines both forces into a noir ballad tinged with seaside air and regret. The moonlight slide of guitar that winds its way through the track shifts seamlessly between tropical and country, honing in on a lost ‘60s charm that she only ramps up with her Laurel Canyon delivery. As an added bonus (for me at least) the track comes with an animated version of the cover done by Indonesian psychedicist Ardneks.

The album is out April 5th from Hardly Art.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Dude York – “Moon”

Dude York were one of my greatest surprises of 2017. Once over the hurdle of the name the band reveals themselves to be consummate purveyors of ‘90s pop – hook magnets doused in amp fuzz and a sugar rush sheen. Though I’m a little sad to see some of the overt Britpop bleed out of their latest single, it’s latched onto ‘90s power pop in the best ways – towering, buzzing, and pointing fingers at their lyrical target like a loaded gun. “Moon” sees the band feeling more confident than ever, pushing this song close to anthemic (it could maybe stand even just a nudge further) and feeling all the better for it. Like Aussie poppers Bloods, they’re embracing the geyser that wells up like a caffeine rush in the brain and letting the top blow with glee. Hoping this means an album of amped up fun is on the way, but definitely reveling in every minute of “Moon” on its own merits.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Dude York

Despite the undeniable inevitability that they were pups during its actual occurrence, the members of Dude York are savants for the ’90s. True to form, that’s the way the winds of influence have begun to blow, the kids are cribbing my adolescence and I hate to admit, it’s kinda working on me. The songs on Sincerely are built on a trifecta of bands tied by a qualifying “Super” – shades of Supergrass, Superdrag and Super Furry Animals all bound throughout; each imparting their own sense of distorted, crunch-crusted power pop. The band breezes through a yard littered with the slick pieces of Matthew Sweet’s outsized hooks, cribbing more than a few for their own use. They even snag an unshakeable likeness to Spacehog at one time or another.

Now, the ’90s being a time of radio pop shots and one-offs that pulled bands into the spotlight and dumped them down to a few devotees, these anchor points might seem like a well-worn wast of time. They’d be chalked up as an homage paid to bands people dump in the dollar bin of their memories. But for those of us that got the hook of something better from late night radio waves embracing an new alternative, the crunch of distorted hooks feels like coming home. Between the forgettable punch of Eddie Vedder wannabes there were some true gems that funneled restless energy into spring-loaded pop hits.

This is what Dude York captures, on Sincerely. Along with the production team of John Goodmanson (Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill) and Cody Votolato, the band have packed up all the right pieces into a tight compilation built for ’90s kids who were too invested in Britpop for their own good. The kids with an NME subscription that caught confused glances in Midwestern lunch rooms. They’ve stacked the hooks high and glossed it all down to a tight sheen. And just like sense memory, this feels good in the headphones, a comfort food crunch that’s part after school snack and part drinking buddy. It may not be breaking any new ground, but it’s digging up the time capsule right.





Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Jacuzzi Boys – “Boys Like Blood”

Just can’t help myself, whenever there’s a new Jacuzzi Boys on the horizon, the excitement gets a bit palpable. After a solid self-released EP, the band returns with a proper full length for their own Mag Mag imprint and its shifting them away from the garage grit of their past, through the power-pop neon of Happy Damage and into a nineties inflected grunge pop that’s roping in a “Cannonball” groove and Matthew Sweet towers of guitar. They’ve always had those more polished instincts roiling under their past releases but it seems with this one they’re fully going for it. Its often a mixed blessing when bands go in for the pop sheen. It can go too far and feel like a plastic version of what you always loved about them, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here at all. Its big and bright and bold, but with a fuzzed out love of ’90s thickness and a chorus that sticks it all the right brain crags. Can’t wait for more of this one in October.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments