You have to give it to L.A. art-pop ensemble Fol Chen: They keep it interesting.
They're building up steam behind their second release for Sufjan Stevens' Asthmatic Kitty label, "Part II: The New December," an ear tickler of glitchy pop and falsettoed funk. They've made two of the coolest music videos we've seen this year, for "In Ruins" and "The Holograms." And they've stuck to their cloying "mystery identities" (frontman Adam Goldman has taken issue with local scribes who mention his real name and not merely his Samuel Bing alter ego).
Tonight their residency at the Echo takes an interesting turn: Their set will sung by 10 people who responded to a Craigslist ad placed by the band. It will be the singers' first appearance with the band.
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This twist comes a week after Fol Chen invited audience members onstage to record live samples for its next album. And next week, it gets even curiouser -- a metal band named Viscera has been invited to perform Fol Chen's music.
Elsewhere: Big, soulful voices abound. Nigerian-German singer Nneka holds forth at the Troubadour, and at the Bootleg Theater, British soul singer Alice Russell teams up with emerging local siren Ruby Friedman and her band.
Also: Abe Vigoda at the Smell; Week 3 of residencies for White Arrows (Spaceland) and Twilight Sleep (Silverlake Lounge); Dead Sara at the Viper Room; Jessica 6 and Cosmic Kids at the RSVP-only It's a School Night at Bardot; and Boyz Skule & the Precious medals at Echo Curio; and DeeDee Foster at the Mint.