Fol Chen at the Granada Theater[disambiguation needed] in 2010.
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Years active||Since 2009|
|Labels||Asthmatic Kitty Records|
Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made and Part II: The New December (2009–2012)
The band "maintained utmost secrecy from the start", working under aliases and disguising their faces during recorded shows, including KCRW radio's Morning Becomes Eclectic program and the 2009 South by Southwest festival.
The cover art for their first album, Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made, release in 2009, features silhouettes, and music videos replace band members with actors and animation, such as the video of the song "No Wedding Cake" where band members appear as animals.
In 2010, the band released Part II: The New December, described by the Los Angeles Times as "screwball pastiche pop [that] sounds like an algebra problem but feels like a come-on." Sinosa Loa joined the group at this time as keyboardist and vocalist, although the band favored group vocals and shared lead duties among most members. They toured throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe with other American bands, including dance-punk Liars, dance-punk !!!, and indie-rock The Apples in Stereo.
During a month-long residency at The Echo nightclub in Los Angeles, the band featured different shows each night – one show invited guest singers found via Craigslist to perform with the band as a sort of live karaoke; another night saw metal band Viscera playing exclusively Fol Chen covers.
In November 2010, Samuel Bing and Loa traveled to Saint Petersburg, Russia, to perform two long-form, constructivist-inspired reworkings of the two studio albums, followed by a workshop and recording session where they invited local musicians (and curious non-musicians) to join them in building a new Fol Chen song.
On July 28, 2011, the pair also held a workshop produced with the arts organization Machine Project at the Walker Art Center, a contemporary-art center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to introduce the Fol Chen Verbal Algorithm Composer-Free Song Generator. The project allowed museum visitors to record their experience with a piece of art and have it converted into a song that they could take home.
The band collaborated with Monome, a computer-manufacturing company, in late 2011 to make the Tetrafol, a motion-sensitive pyramidal sound device.[clarification needed] The Tetrafol came pre-loaded with Fol Chen samples but allowed users to apply their own sounds. The band released two singles made with the device and sold a limited run of 100 units.
The False Alarms (2013)
The band's third album was released March 19, 2013, on the Asthmatic Kitty label. The music is in a style the band calls "Opera-House", which they describe as "beat-driven electronica with grand, operatic gestures and lyrically-dense storytelling." In a departure from their previous use of multiple lead singers, Loa performs all ten tracks.
- Samuel Bing
- The Booksman
- Garrett Henritz
- Sinosa Loa
- Patrik-Ian Polk
- Julian Wass
- Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune's Made (2009)
- Part II: The New December (2010)
- The False Alarms (2013)
Covers, remixes and collaborations
- The Longer U Wait remix digital release (Asthmatic Kitty, 2009)
- 2009: "The Beautiful Ones" cover on the Prince tribute album Purplish Rain
- 2009: "In the Flesh" cover on the Pink Floyd tribute album The Wall Re-Built
- 2011: "I Walked" (Sufjan Stevens cover)
- 2012: "Implants and Yankee Candles" with Kitty Pryde
- soundtrack[clarification needed] for the Canadian-American romantic comedy-drama film Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom (2008), directed by Patrik-Ian Polk
- soundtrack[clarification needed] for the short documentary film Beauty CuLTure, directed by Lauren Greenfield
- an instrumental version of the band's song "In Ruins" was featured in the episode "Unfriendly Chat" (2010) of the American police-procedural television series CSI: NY and was also featured in the episode "Gentle Puppies" (2010) of the American dark-comedy drama television series Weeds
- Vallejos, Tamara (December 1, 2008). "Fol Chen: 'No Wedding Cake'". NPR Music. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- Staff (undated). "Fol Chen". Asthmatic Kitty Records. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- Leahey, Andrew (undated). "Fol Chen – Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- [dead link]. KCRW.
- Phillips, Amy (March 19, 2009). "SXSW Wed: The Decemberists, Jarvis Cocker, Human Highway, Fol Chen, Ladyhawke". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- Brown, August (July 7, 2010). "Live Review: Fol Chen and Baths at the Echo". Pop & Hiss (blog of the Los Angeles Times). Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- Youssef, Andrew (August 17, 2010). "Fol Chen, Crocodiles, Light Pollution, Robotanists @ Echo, Los Angeles 08/16/10". Stereogum (blog). Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- Staff (undated). "One Night Only: Viscera Covers Fol Chen". Terrorbird Media. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- Chernov, Sergey (November 19, 2010). "Chernov's Choice". The St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- Staff (undate). "The Fol Chen Verbal Algorithm Composer-Free Song Generator". Walker Art Center. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- Watercutter, Angela (November 21, 2011). "The Tetrafol Is a Crazy, Motion-Sensitive Musical Pyramid from Fol Chen". Wired. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- Breihan, Tom (January 10, 2013). "Fol Chen – '200 Words' (Stereogum Premiere)". Stereogum (blog). Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- Hughes, Josiah (January 14, 2013). "Fol Chen Return with 'The False Alarms,' Announce North American Tour". Exclaim!. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- Kevin (January 10, 2013). "Download: Fol Chen, '200 Words'". buzzbands.la. Retrieved February 10, 2013.