As you drive aimlessly and helplessly through the grimy lower portions of known Los Angeles, you may find yourself lost on the most eastern part of Beverly boulevard. In a neighborhood known colloquially as Hi-Fi (Historic Filipinotown), this stretch of road is a far...

Spring 2012 marked the second time I interviewed Brooklyn indie/electronic cross-over musicians Bear In Heaven. Though two years had passed, the main underlying tendency of the interview was the same: staying on topic was damn near impossible. Stand in a room with them for ten minutes, and you'll realize that the trio, consisting of vocalist Jon Philpot, bassist Adam Wills, and drummer Joe Stickney, have some sort of superhuman attention-diverting capability that can suck all journalistic integrity into a black hole of joking and bantering. Humor seeps into all that they do, though it may not be evident by listening to their music in isolation. Instead, it is found in their tangential actions. Take, for instance, their latest record, I Love You, It's Cool. Its ridiculous title was taken in jest from a break-up letter written by the band's former fourth member, Sadek Bazarra. They also marketed the album with an ingenious tactic that involved stretching their entire record into an ambient drone track lasting a duration of three months, and their music video for "The Reflection Of You", directed by the force behind Wonder Showzen, John Lee of the PFFR art collective, can be unbearably nauseating with its incessant zooms. To sum it up: reactions to Bear In Heaven's sense of humor are polarized, and Stickney jokes that one person's comment on last.fm ("Fuck your ultra slowed-down hipster stream") summarizes many of the reactions to their experiments. It seems easy for some to write off Bear In Heaven's conceptually-minded artistic approach as pretentious and disingenuous, but I'd argue that would be misunderstanding the band members themselves. Their approach to music is hard to understand because they take themselves very seriously when they need to, but swing to the other extreme when they don't. In the interviews below, we're talking ideas; some good, some bad, many completely unrelated to the original intentions. But the point remains that you will either like Bear In Heaven's ideas, or you won't. If only it mattered, though.
Interview by Vivian Hua

 

So, despite my whirlwind Americana tour of the Southwest (courtesy of the Cash Only: Diners, Dive Bars, and Yardsales Road Trip), I still managed to enjoy a healthy dose of sonic debauchery in Austin, Texas. Below are my TOP FIVER PICKS from this year's SxSW Festivus Maximus!
 

5. The fold-out couch I drooled and snored on from approximately 5:00am to 10:00am every day.

Just kidding. That's actually number one.  

5. Bear In Heaven

www.bearinheaven.com We annoyed the shit out of these guys by following them around all of Wednesday. Then we kept running into them the next three days, as if we were stalker ex-girlfriends. Then I made the always classy move of calling guitarist Adam Wills by the name Joe, all weekend. In turn, I called drummer Joe Stickney, Adam to keep the playing field even. In any case, Bear In Heaven's music is huge, brilliant, heavy, and fun all in one. The only reason they are number five is because I knew what I was getting into with these guys. I've been listening to them for about four months, and I would love to dance around an apartment during a party, listening to their tunes on fat can headphones, and having people wonder: a) who the shit is that guy?; and b) what's he listening to that makes him dance like that? SEE ALSO: BEAR IN HEAVEN VIDEO INTERVIEWS
 

Imagine you are a sweet, lovely young lady, and you are having a dinner party. You invite your good friends Björk, Feist, and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. When dinnertime comes, instead of serving them food, you just eat the three...