January 2012 Archives
Smegma Riot are real unsung heroes. They are based in Kunming and have been there a while. The band are traditional punk style and I saw them when they came to Shanghai on a tour once. It's not hard to imagine some Italian guys in Shanghai putting on obnoxious/funny/anarchic punk rock shows, but in the farthest reaches of Yun'nan?
Now they have a book all about it. It's only in Italian, but I can think of two people off the bat who can read that and read the blog so here you are: Punk Road in China
And here's a Kunming based video for their song Fire Fighters.
Do you want to read a novel that mixes detailed modern Shanghai life, good writing and costumed hero action?
No? Oh ... sorry.
Well, my book is officially live now so why not give it a try? Anyway, we now have an eponymous URL and flash site for the book.
The original art was done by Wuduo Studio and the site coded by Netricks. As with the cover, what really excites me about this is just seeing that style of art or story but in Shanghai. We now move on to phase three of our master plan and I'll soon start to post up the whole naked process at the Indie Everything site. Soon.
In the meantime, help an indie culture maker out and spread the word anyway you can. If you've read it and have an Amazon ID, add a review. Blog it. It's cheap cheap cheap, but also, if you or someone you know has a legit site or job for reviewing I could send a copy over. Let me know.
Warning: long, long non music post
"This is a game that is fun. It helps you to imagine."
F. Mentzer, Preface to the Basic Boxed Set. Feb. 1983.
Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a table top role-playing game (RPG) that I have played since I was about 12. I'm 39. Now we have the news that current owning company Wizards of the Coast are play testing the 5th Edition.
Also, a recent game of V4 means that I have now played all the existing editions organically. I mean, as they were current.
Here is an excellent mid length article to summarize. But I'm going to go on about the same thing anyway.
So, on to my thoughts ...
We Are Shanghai is a compilation CD of 20 tracks from Shanghai bands. Hear it all here. This Friday I went to the Yuyintang release show. Line up:
It was nice to step into Yuyintang's black box rock venue out of the cold and drizzle. The pit floor, the flyers on the walls, CDs on a merch table, rock people and great music by DJ Eurotrash Atheism. Stand and Deliver basically made my night.
Naohai are a new-ish Shanghai college band who play jangly indie rock. They were apt openers and did a fine job. Noise punks Pairs took a couple of songs to get going and played some new material. People warmed to Xiao Zhong's live presence and the set gelled as it went on.
Dragon Pizza were the band of the night for me. They play a hectic mash up of punk, funk and metal and have a great stage presence. Bassist Yuki and Guitarist Xu Qi share vocals and antics and have a great rapport between songs. They are also super tight and drummer Wang Lei, who has been around for over ten years with Loudspeaker, keeps it all together with a steady hand. You can check out a recorded song at the We Are Shanghai bandcamp linked above - Bomb Cola.
Duck Fight Goose rounded out the night with a set based on their recent release Sports. Good event, nice night. The diversity of styles in the bands made a good representation of the project as a whole.
The White Eyes are a garage punk outfit from Taipei. They originally had a well-deserved reputation as a raw and raucous live act, led by singer-mastermind Gao Xiao Gao. By the time they arrived on the mainland to tour their album Kiss Your Eyes they were a polished and consummate modern rock act who also kept their punk energy.
Now they have a new EP out called Dead Boy and an accompanying video. So time to check them out.
(scroll down for the MP3s ... third tab for videos)
Photo by G
Friday night and time to break out the drum machines for a night of electro-pop, synth-punk and such delights. Here was the line up:
The night was pretty good. The sound was tip-top and the three acts had diverse takes on the synth-punk model.
Portmanteau is an awesome one-man band wielding an awesome guitar-synth-kaoss pad combo instrument. His electro beats were augmented by surprisingly bluesy rock guitar and vocal turns. It worked best when the loops and layers built up and became really dreamy. Next Year's Love have been covered a lot on the blogs. They debuted some new songs tonight, had a clear sound and have the ability to vary their set. Kaobang are a duo more in the mould of modern synth pop. Their beats have an 8-bit sound to them, the guitar is indie and the female vocals shouty and punk.
A good show that really built an atmosphere as the night went on. More importantly, we seem to have enough bands in this genre to put on a decent full night at YYT. Fans of this sort of thing should probably go to Kaobang's page and listen to the demo 'Dead of the Night.'
Shanghai 24/7 have recently revamped their site and also have a steady stream of decent features now.
I have blogged their longer, in depth interviews before and now they give us another great one from Shanghai's Moon Tyrant
The guys wrote an album, played a bunch of shows culminating in the Rock Nadaam Mongolia tour and have come out the other side more cohesive and focused. Now they're going to drop their wisdom on you.
They reserve a special section to rail on people who confuse the DIY ethic and the DIY aesthetic. So don't get confused or the Moon Tyrant will smite you with a fireball or some such power. This blog uses Vocab: "Lo-fi" +3 to defend. Oh god, D&D jokes. Go read the interview now. It's well worth it. And come on guys, what was that band name?
Murray: Our first name was possibly the most uninspiring and ridiculous band name that's ever been come up with. I was never going to take to the stage under that name, no matter what. I'm not fucking saying what it was, before you even ask.
Update: The last show will, in fact, be on the 13th and feature Shanghai's Moon Tyrant, among others.
So, yeah, the rumours are true, the iconic Beijing club D22 is closing.
The Beijing music scene has many groups, venues and communities, each with their own styles. D22 was the club that Maybe Mars, the label, was built around.
The group will be opening another venue and the label will continue to scout new talent and do what they do better than anyone else in the China scene - get a diverse crop of releases out there on a regular basis.
Before we get to the full text of the interview I want to throw in my own two cents: the whole China scene is still officially underground with no real industry and many obstacles in its way. Everything we do, we do ourselves. Anyone who puts on shows, who helps bands put out music and who creates something deserves basic respect. To those who want to attack or hate based on personal music tastes and petty spite - you're not helping.
1) So it's official now D22, the venue, is closing. When are the last shows, and can you talk about what happened?
I think the last show will be January 10. We had originally planned to close April 1, on our sixth anniversary, but the owners of the space wanted us to spend a large amount of money to fix up certain things, and we decided it wasn't worth it. This year, as you probably know, is not a year in which anyone wants something embarrassing to happen.