Song of the Day: Shana Cleveland and the Sandcastles - Holy Rollers

Local Music, Song of the Day
08/14/2015
Jacob Webb
photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Holy Rollers” by Shana Cleveland and the Sandcastles from the 2015 album Oh Man, Cover The Ground on Suicide Squeeze Records.

Shana Cleveland and the Sandcastles - Holy Rollers (MP3)

Although she's best known as the frontwoman for La Luz, Shana Cleveland's artistic resume extends far beyond that band's output, with textual and visual output complimenting her musical endeavors. The daughter of two musicians, Cleveland has had illustrations featured and The Believer and her writing has been featured in Black Clock, the Columbia Poetry Review, and Court Green. Music, however, has dominated the Michigan-born, Seattle-based musician's time the last few years, specifically touring and recording cycles the beloved Seattle group La Luz. Tellingly, Cleveland's newest solo release, this year's Oh Man, Cover the Ground, was recorded in her house in 2011 before La Luz took off. Assisted by The Sandcastles (a moniker for Cleveland's musical collaborators with no fixed lineup), Oh Man, Cover The Ground is far more languid and relaxed than La Luz's nervy punch, an approach underscored by "Holy Rollers". Cleveland's John Fahey-esque guitar playing dances across the song with a shimmering, gliding tone, and it nearly steals the show during the song. What keeps it from being the sole highlight is how seamlessly all of the song's instrumental parts link up with each other. Not unlike a cut from Riley Walker's Primrose Green, it's easy to listen to "Holy Rollers" and mistake it as a well-executed outtake from a few friends jamming. But that's just not true. Although it's more immediately apparent in La Luz's work, Cleveland's skill as an arrange is top notch, and after a few spins, "Holy Rollers" comes out as one of the most alluring songs Cleveland has recorded to date.

Shana is currently on tour with La Luz, so keep up with her at La Luz's website and her personal website. Below, watch Shana and the Sandcastles play "Holy Rollers" live on KEXP earlier this year.

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