It didn't quite occur to me until I heard it: Shana Cleveland's voice sounds made for acoustic music. Formerly a Seattleite, the singer-guitarist took off to California in 2016 along with La Luz, the band she fronts. Last year, La Luz released Floating Features, which bent the band's mesmeric, reverb-splashed surf to its sunnier climes.
Now, Cleveland is releasing a solo album, Night of the Worm Moon, which comes out April 5. Much of what she does in La Luz carries over: the sleepwalker surrealism; the lyrics that unearth the subliminal intimations in B-movie imagery; the haunting, gossamer vocals. Cleveland's voice has always provided a contrast to La Luz's beach jitters, but here it becomes a complement to the music's sci-fi folk: arpeggiated acoustic guitars, strings, pedal steel (especially prominent on the Western-tinged "Face of the Sun"), and lyrics fixated on the night sky and whatever weirdness might be brewing in it. Night of the Worm Moon, aptly, was recorded during the 2017 solar eclipse. The video for album opener "Don't Let Me Sleep" finds Cleveland, in vintage space gear, wandering an alien desert, complete with UFOs.
April 10, Fremont Abbey, $13