February 17th, 2014 , by John Beeler
“Rhythm of Devotion” is out on Soundcloud. A lyrics video for ”Alcohol,” another new single, is up for listening on Soundcloud.
Sisyphus will be on on March 19th, 2014.
August 3rd, 2013 , by John Beeler
In March, Fol Chen released their third LP, The False Alarms—pure pop on the surface, witty and appealing, but all the more satisfying for the dark and uncanny sensibility lurking just beneath. Now, Keith Musil has released a video, accompanying the album’s title track, that acutely captures the wry and ambiguous tone of Fol Chen’s eerie pop project.
Almost like a horror movie, Musil’s “The False Alarms” starts out at a spooky teenaged slumber party, but when a game of “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board” takes an unexpected turn, it’s not quite clear whether the audience should be frightened or elated. When the main character, played by Fol Chen vocalist Sinosa, rises from the floor, has she become liberated from gravity, or trapped in the air? Is she suspended by dark forces beyond her control, or is she levitating under her own power? The video, and Sinosa’s unsettingly serene performance, refuse to give us any simple answers.
June 19th, 2013 , by John Beeler
Chris Schlarb wanted his new video, “Seventh House,” to be more than a commercial for the record.
“The idea of making a video for promotional purposes only doesn’t hold any interest for me,” Schlarb says. Instead, he enlisted director Sahale Jensen to create a short film that would expand on the themes of the song and of the intricately constructed full-length album, Psychic Temple II.j
In keeping with his role firmly at the helm of the Psychic Temple project, Schlarb was closely involved with the conception of the video, starting with the choice of Jensen for the director’s chair. “I came across a video that Sahale did for Aaron Roche and was intrigued by her work. We kept in touch over the years,” says Schlarb, “and she was the first person I thought of for this project.”
What followed was an involved discussion of the song and its lyrical imagery, over a series of lengthy telephone conversations. “We met and collaborated virtually,” says Jensen, “but never have actually met in person!”
The video takes the mystical and astrological imagery of the song and makes them unsettlingly literal. “Pisces in the Seventh House,” chants the song’s eerie vocal, and the Seventh House becomes a seemingly ordinary suburban home. The duality represented by the Pisces, explains Jensen, becomes the main character and a sinister doppelgänger, both played by first-time film actress Annea Umayam.
“We shot north of Seattle in a small town called Sedro-Wolley,” Jensen says, “at my grandparents’ house. I knew the look of their homey and comfortable house could help sell the disturbing juxtaposition when something more sinister decides to show up. We shot over a two day period with a very small four man crew.”
The result is a video that combines a very simple look with disorientingly cryptic content. Schlarb points to the gaps and omissions in the films of Roman Polanski and Alfred Hitchcock, but also to the negative space built into his own music. “Don’t give everything,” he says. “Leave some mystery.”
Ultimately, says Schlarb, “I am very proud of the work and love that went into this video. It was an honor for me to work on it with Sahale and her crew.”
April 13th, 2013 , by John Beeler
March 5th, 2013 , by John Beeler
SPIN has debuted a brand new video from Fol Chen. In the video for “200 Words” astronauts launch into space, only to fall back down again. Aaron Ohlmann directed the video, which features vocalist and keyboardist Sinosa Loa of Fol Chen.
View some photos from the shoot here.
“200 Words” is the first single from The False Alarms, which comes out March 19th and is available for preorder now.
November 20th, 2012 , by John Beeler
Later this week, Sufjan Stevens begins his tour for Silver & Gold starts this week. If you’re going, there’s some homework. Listen to and memorize these songs, and then watch a few videos featuring Sheila Saptuo, who’s opening for Sufjan. The videos, directed and produced by Jeff Shoop, Rosie Thomas, and Deborah Johnson are featured on Pitchfork today. Click here to view all of them.
November 13th, 2012 , by John Beeler
Silver & Gold, the 5-EP compilation of Christmas music by Sufjan Stevens, is out now.
Continuing where Sufjan’s 2006 Songs for Christmas ended, Silver & Gold includes volumes 6 through 10. The CD boxset includes stickers, temporary tattoos, a paper ornament, song lyrics and chord charts, liner notes and essays, and of course five Christmas EPs.
Look to the right for purchasing options.
On Friday, Sufjan released a video of “Justice Delivers Its Death,” which you can view below, and today we’re releasing “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” as directed and produced by the Craig Brothers. Keep your eye on this YouTube playlist for more Silver & Gold related videos.