City Weekend Magazine run a monthly column called The Beat. It covers the music scene but often strays into non music pubs and other digressions too. Columnist Aric Queen also keeps a blog of the column on City Weekend's website.
The latest print column, also available online here, picks five songs for the summer by Shanghai bands. And, ahem, one of the picks is mine. Aric also produced the column as a podcast - you can find that here.
I picked "Love You So" by the Crazy Mushroom Brigade. Alas, they don't have either a CD out or a publically available quality MP3 of the song. Aric has tried to rip a live video but my pick is basically inaudible on the podcast.
The full list of picks:
Aric Queen: "Boogie to the top" by Pharaoh
Andy Best: "Love you so" by Crazy Mushroom Brigade
Ciga: "Happy dreamer on a small bed" by Muscle Snog
Archie Hamilton: "The Flood" by Cold Fairyland
Abe Deyo: "Synth Love" by I-Go
Obviously, this is a survey taken from the English language world. And ... I must make some clear disclaimers before launching into my comment: In the CW column Archie clearly states that Cold Fairyland are "not really rock and roll", so the following comment is not any kind of riposte to his pick. Secondly, Cold Fairyland are skilled and talented musicians who deserve their reputation, the following comment is not about that at all.
So, Cold Fairyland ... first up, you can listen to them here.
Now, Cold Fairyland are a popular, talented band with CDs out and a following. They often play in venues that I frequent. But, I won't be going to the shows or getting the CDs because ... I'm a rock/indie fan. I would no more buy their CD than I would buy Sounds of the Forest or K-Tel Presents The Mystical Pipes of Patagonia. I'm simply not into World Music.
World Music, as most people know, is an easy listening genre that combines regional folk music with studio production. It does not mean and has never meant, bands from other countries than the one you're currently in. Excluding people who have never left mainland China, there is not one of you reading this blog who hasn't seen a World Music section in a large record store or doesn't know what I'm talking about.
So, when I hear (or read) other ex-pats talking about CF in the same breath as, say, Top Floor Circus I have to assume one of two things:
A) They are suffering from some kind of ex-pat culture shock thing.
B) They are genuine World Music fans and the CF CD is sitting on their shelf right next to An Ancient Muse.
I suppose it's a reflection on the realities of the scene. I'm not getting into any kind of judgement or analysis, but most of you will know what I mean when I say that ALL independently produced music is basically in the same boat so there is a lot more crossover between styles here than other places. Back home in Liverpool, a rock club is a rock club and it's unthinkable that a DJ playing anything other than rock would play at an event/show there.
There is some hope. I don't see the hip-hop crowd chillin at Punk gigs and I don't see skateboarders hooking up for street sessions with rollerbladers. If I did go to a hip-hop show (I am a fan), I'd hope it was it was rich, focused and produced by people with something to say who live for Hip-hop. I'd hope I'd be stepping into a world, not the world.