The ethereal psych-pop goddess Shana Falana came down from her upsate mountain throne to play a show organized by LPR at the relatively new East Bushwick basement venue HOLO. She was joined by a slew of excellent local psychedelic talent that made for one long strange trip of a night.
Opening the night was one of my favorite native hallucinatory acts by the name Toyzanne. This rather expansive ensemble is a bit of a local supergroup, comprised of members of The Ying Yangs, Bodega Bay, and Chimes, and even though they had recently lost their drummer, they soldiered on as a quartet nonetheless. They produce a solidly surreal hullabaloo, going from tripped out stream of consciousness ramblings, to wacked out sonic onslaughts, to dillydallying in stone cold grooves. Whatever they are doing, they always produce a party-like atmosphere, and seem to be having a perpetually deliriously partying on stage. As of the last year or so, they have released a couple singles, but they are readying their first ever full album with the British label Luau Records.
Another splendid local tripped-out rocket ship of interstellar overdrivers called Operator Music Band were next, and they blissed out the crowd with a enchanting blend of synth-pop, ’80s dance pop, crunchy industrial rock, and krautrock that bent the borders of gritty experimentalism and glossy fun. There are shades of everything from Stereolab, Broadcast, B-52s, to Talking Heads, but the bohemian party they produce is something wholly unique and outlandish. Dara Hirsch proves to be a compellingly dark, yet playful and boisterous frontwoman and guitarist, as her right-hand man Jared Hiller bares out the walls of analogue sonics to create a truly gripping duality. Their two EPs they released last year Creative Tube Bending and Coördination definitely span the great expanse of deconstructive art and carefree fun, and they are definitely a study worth researching, and a dance worthy of busting a move to.
Keeping up the insanity levels, there was then the art pop group Lip Talk, a project headed up by the mad brilliance of Sarah K. Pedinotti, who also plays keyboards in Okkervil River. Her band started as Railbird in Saratoga, NY, but a few years back she descended down to Brooklyn, and brought all of her best avant-garde showwomanship with her. She oozes classic Kate Bush’s blooming womanhood pirouette and also seems to model Bjork’s tripped-out surreal tempest. The music can be both sweeping and magical as well as dark and nightmarish, and I found it all to be extremely rapturous and consuming. They too have new stuff coming, and I can’t wait to hear what kind of magic they bring to the senses.
Then the formerly dimly lit stage was transformed into a big, bright, and heavenly multimedia hallucination with projected art and video as Shana Falana herself took the stage, where she layering harmonies, guitars, and divine sounds with her main man Mike Amari backing her on drums. Her voice transcends angelic ascension and goes straight into rapturing you up to the heavens as her expansive array of pedals produce ambience that ascend into atmosphere. Her music goes from ambient transcendence, to drone daze, to cool dreamy pop in such a wistful and trancelike way that you start to realize why she’s been on the forefront of modern shoegaze for the last several years. Her laid back San Francisco attitude is still evident, as is the strong Brooklyn side when she moved to NYC a couple decades back, but it’s her present clean mountain living side she’s acquired since moving to Kingston, NY that really saturates her persona now. She played lots of her last album Here Comes the Wave like the epic “Cool Kids” and her mediation on sobriety called “Cloudbeats” as well as stuff from her 2015 masterpiece Set Your Lightning Fire Free like the fuzzy and echoed call to arms called “Go”. She hosts a podcast and radio show (on Radio Kingston) called I Want What She’s Having, and she’s going into the studio to record her 3rd LP in April that should be out by May. It was a great introduction to a new venue for myself, and a delightfully surreal show for all.
Article: Dean Keim