Fol Chen

One of the many reasons we love living in Los Angeles (fuck off, haters) is that it’s a neverending breeding ground for some pretty bizarre music. Today’s proof of hypothesis: Fol Chen, a six-piece from Highland Park (Jake’s hood, and also home to the infamous Avenues Gang) who combine the apocalyptic surrealism of Philip K. Dick and Steve Erickson with the postmodern dance-funk of Hot Chip and Prince. Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s…um, 2012? 2017? How far forward do we need to set our apocalypse clocks now?

Fol Chen, who keep their identities hidden behind masks, face paint, and quirky aliases like Samuel Bing (Chandler’s art school little brother?) and Sinosa Loa, first surfaced last year with an album called Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made. Sure enough, they returned this year with a sequel, Part II: The New December. Both albums vaguely trace an end-of-days storyline that would do Dick proud, but they’re not above the occasional song about a low-rent hookup at a fleabag motel (the fan-fucking-tastic “Cable TV,” a not-too-distant cousin of Beck’s “Debra”) or the oddball cover (they’ve done everyone from Pink Floyd to Mariah Carey to—no, really—the Gin Blossoms). They also hire old actors to do dramatic reading of their songs and write their press releases totally in character. As former theater geeks ourselves, we appreciate this sort of attention to detail.

The band shot numerous low-budget videos for the songs from John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made. All of them are pretty awesome (especially this one), but this video for “No Wedding Cake” gets our vote as the weirdest. We can’t wait for the next chapter in the Fol Chen saga.


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