Shana Cleveland is a Seattle-based singer, songwriter, and guitarist known both for her work with noir surf group La Luz and her folk-oriented project Shana Cleveland & the Sandcastles. While vintage surf and instrumental rock styles inform Cleveland's music with La Luz, her work outside the group is decidedly different. Her acoustic guitar style recalls artists such as John Fahey and Robbie Basho, who fused "American Primitive" traditionalism with an adventurous melodic sense, and on her 2015 album Oh Man, Cover the Ground (credited to Shana Cleveland & the Sandcastles) and 2019's Night of the Worm Moon, the cool but emphatic approach of her picking was matched by low-key, dynamic instrumental accompaniment.
A native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Cleveland relocated to Los Angeles where she began developing the intricate, John Fahey-inspired fingerpicked guitar style she would later employ in her solo work fronting the Sandcastles. Although that project began in 2009, her subsequent move to Seattle and the formation of the all-female rock band La Luz in 2012 demanded the bulk of her artistic focus. Influenced by classic '60s girl groups, doo wop, surf, and garage music, they released their debut album It's Alive in 2013. Prior to La Luz's formation, Cleveland recorded Oh Man, Cover the Ground, her laid-back indie folk debut with the Sandcastles in 2011, which would remain unreleased until 2015 when Seattle-based indie Suicide Squeeze Records issued the album. La Luz kept Cleveland busy, as they toured frequently and released Weirdo Shrine in 2015 and Floating Features in 2018. But she continued to work on her solo projects, and issued Night of the Worm Moon through the Sub Pop-distributed Hardly Art label in 2019, which took on a sound and approach much like her album with the Sandcastles. Cleveland is also a visual artist and in 2012 painted a set of 37 trading cards for folk label Tompkins Square called "Obscure Giants of Acoustic Guitar." ~ Timothy Monger & Mark Deming