Fol Chen premiere bizarre new video for The Holograms and announce August residency in LA

08/16 Los Angeles, CA The Echo
08/23 Los Angeles, CA The Echo
08/30 Los Angeles, CA The Echo

Highland Park, CA’s mysterious pop outfit Fol Chen just unveiled the video for their latest single “The Holograms”, a clever song of forgotten names and words which bounces along on one of their new album’s catchiest melodies. The video was directed by Keith Musil (who directed Rainbow Arabia’s “Omar K” and some of the craziest Skittles commercials you’ll ever see). Conceptually, the video is based on a “Stepford Wives” wasteland scenario and stars Isabelle Albuquerque of Hecuba playing most of the cast herself.

The band just announced their residency at the Echo in LA for the month of August, stayed tuned for updates who the special guests will be. Fol Chen will also be on the East Coast for a handful dates with the rising glo-fi/future beatmaker Baths. For a taste of their awesomness live look no further than this KEXP session just recorded HERE.

08/02 Los Angeles, CA The Echo
08/03 New York, NY Mercury Lounge *
08/04 Brooklyn, NY Union Pool *
08/05 Philadelphia, PA Johnny Brenda’s *
08/16 Los Angeles, CA The Echo
08/23 Los Angeles, CA The Echo
08/30 Los Angeles, CA The Echo

* = w/ Baths

For its second album, Highland Park sextet Fol Chen presents Part II: The New December, songs of malaise and miscommunication set to dark pop and glitch-riddled chamber funk. Since the band’s inception, Fol Chen has remained a mysterious entity – its membership disguised by masks and aliases, its lyrics appearing as transmissions from a fictional world. But just as the on-album narrative has congealed in bits and pieces, the group’s real-life story has grown in tangible ways.

Fol Chen’s wildly eclectic 2009 debut, Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made, spawned some healthy praise (from NPR, no less), a remix album (featuring No Kids and Junior Vasquez, among others), a BBC session, and a video collaboration with the Laker Girls. It also paved the way for a pair of uniquely inspired covers: Prince’s “The Beautiful Ones” (recorded for Spin) and Pink Floyd’s “In The Flesh” (for Mojo). Fol Chen’s bent, blackened takes on the pop eccentrics of yore provided fresh context for its own kaleidoscopic songs, and The New December shores up the group’s slippery identity further still. This is Fol Chen’s most focused work – as consistent as it is consuming, as enjoyable as it is unusual.

The plot, steeped in a Bowie-esque sense of puckish melodrama, picks up with the malevolent John Shade vanquished. Unfortunately, the struggle alluded to in Part I has left Fol Chen’s world frayed – covered in ash, plagued by acid rain – and its population dazed. The members of Fol Chen, once a ragtag team of insurgents, are now bureaucrats forced to sit back and watch as the cipher they relied upon to defeat Shade mutates into a virus that eats words indiscriminately. Things unravel as The New December progresses, with Fol Chen enlisting a handful of familiar voices – Angus and Aaron of Liars, L.A. chanteuse Kárin Tatoyan, singer-songwriter Simone White – to help tell the tale.

Tatoyan takes lead on “In Ruins” – whose playful escapism recalls Fol Chen’s earlier hit, “Cable TV” – as an Eastern melody rings out from a vintage Madonna-ish mélange of cut-up funk, fuzz bass and tinkling ivories.

“Sinister fun” – Los Angeles Magazine

“L.A.’s best new band? Probably. Fol Chen’s beguiling, witty synth-pop with guitar, funky keyboards and West Coastian harmonies.” – LA Weekly

“[Fol Chen] has already garnered online buzz with the first single, “Cable TV.” The wildly infectious dance tune begins with a dash of sitar before digital blips and drum machine hand claps jump in, with smooth female vocals. “Won’t you come away with me?” she asks…The result is a record that balances light and dark, and is fresh enough to hold listeners captive.” – NPR

“Eclectic enigmas devise eerie pop conundrums.” – SPIN

“Fol Chen has a tasty way about them with a minty tang reminiscent of Hot Chip, Subtle and other quality contemporary layer lifters and psyche pokers…So hardtack-slippery, so jagged-smooth, so bouncing-still is what Fol Chen has wrought that pinning it down in “reviewer-speak” seems a disservice. It’s catchy as f*** in places and a touch scary in others but it’s never a dull ride.” – Jambase

“The music itself is alternately catchy and dark, following a typical story arc with moments high and low, jubilant and brooding…the result is a disc whose intricate songs fuel both cerebral readings and trips to the dance floor.” – Impose

“The Highland Park-based combo plays deadpan electro-pop that should be all arched eyebrows, but it’s arranged so warmly and invitingly that its precision feels less cold than careful.” – Los Angeles Times

“There’s a little bit of Grizzly Bear/Animal Collective density in their sound, but Fol Chen are poppier, sunnier, befitting a West Coast disposition.” – Brooklyn Vegan

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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