January 2013 Archives

Skip Skip Ben Ben album on Bandcamp

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Taiwanese singer/guitarist/songwriter Ban Ban is one of the true talents of Asia's underground rock and pop scenes. She started out young in an industry/mainstream act but then came over to the dark side with her shoegaze band Boyz and Girl. They were so tight when they played YYT on tour and blew our minds.

Then she decided to relocate to Beijing full time and go further down the underground route, taking her lo-fi side project Skip Skip Ben Ben and fleshing it out as a Beijing style dirty noise-indie / post punk band - but with her trademark dreamy J-pop vocals.

We saw them at YYT too and were equally blown away by the combination of underground / avant garde sensibility cut with solid playing chops. 

This has all culminated in their new album Sacrifice Mountain Hills on label Maybe Mars. You can get the CD in China and also listen/buy on bandcamp. Mine's in the mail now.

Rating D&D covers through history

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I'm about to curse and rant about a D&D thing. For those not up with the latest developments, here's an overview post I wrote pertaining to the upcoming Wizards of the Coast 5th Edition:

And here's the article I'm reacting to, a Wizards long term employee talking about rating rule book covers:

Now on to the unfocused blather. If you're not really into this, stop here. 

So, there are the four Player's Handbook covers from AD&D 1 and 2, then Wizard's D&D 3 and 4. Firstly as to rating them and how to judge that, the answer is obvious. See also: most comments there. They get progressively worse. 

The pictured 1st Ed cover was a typically sketchy TSR early product but it embodies everything good about the game, especially at that time. A bit DIY and then showing a party checking a map, cleaning off a sword next to dead monsters and looting treasure from a cool location. Also you come to this game in many ways ... but being attracted by a shiny book cover as you shop for something else - having never before entertained the notion of playing - is not one of them. And for people into the game already, the cover becomes all but irrelevant.

If you look at the industry insider article on this that I linked - many things are revealed, especially through his criteria for judging the covers. I think it not only shows why the older ones were better - but gives us a clear view into how the 4th Ed was developed and then failed.

Podcasts: Me + comedy and Ho-Tom track too

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Pic: Ho-Tom


Two podcasts have just come out, one featuring yours truly and then one of general interest to the scene.

I appeared on The Bottle Opener Podcast which is the pod of the Kungfu Komedy guys Will and Andy. We talk about my stuff but in the second half we riff a bit on my band's lyrics and other things and had a right old time. Also, it's very well produced.

Next, you can hear Shanghai based folk act Ho-Tom the Conqueror on the Cheers To All Official Podcast. That one includes an exclusive track from the just about to be released album Consider Yourselves Conquered. It's a good listen.

Video: Twos If You Want To

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Long term local scene veteran Batman Li Xing has a new act which sees him paired with Robin (really) for an adventure in electro-guitar crossover. They are called Twos and I'm not sure how to really describe them. Luckily, they have provided a clear vid for us to check out. Thanks, guys.

We Are Shanghai 2 Live @ Yuyintang

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Pic: Yuyintang Livehouse

Has it really been a year since We Are Shanghai vol. 1 - yes, it has. We Are Shanghai is an underground compilation project. The kind where a scene puts out tracks from all the bands. 

Here's Vol 2:

Of course, there are way more bands in the scene than are on the comp, that's just maths. Also, there's more acts with ex-pat members than not. But I want to say something about that. As organizer Ivan points out in this interview the call to be on the CD was open and to everyone. The presence of local scene overlords Top Floor Circus on Vol 1 and metal scene organizers Chaos Mind on Vol 2 clearly proves that the call went out deep into the local scene, that people knew about it and that it was answered. 

This Friday was the release show:

Hello Money

First the bands, and then the "50 000 RMB CW Incident" ... oh yes.

Self promotion minute

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Just to let you know up front: this is an event I'm involved with, I'm playing in the band Astrofuck and I'm posting up this flyer because I'm playing there.

The event is actually the 2nd album release show for Baltic States and also features the band Xiao Xin Yi Yi. Anyway, the blog is also legitimately a record of stuff I do ... but, you should not take this posting as an endorsement of an event from an independent point of view. You'll have to research and judge for yourselves. Cheers.

Flyer by Kaine.


Still around / We Are Shanghai

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Lately I've been busy with my own music stuff to the point of not having time or concentration for writing here. Which is probably a good thing. The world didn't end, so why not.

I'll still be posting here though. One weird thing: during not posting for two or three weeks I get two offers to accept pre-written posts praising various clients' products and interests in return for pretty good money. Of course, none of these would say they are PR material. And of course, I declined. The reason I'm mentioning it at all is cos it made me remember how common it is and that maybe some people take for granted that it's everywhere. Well, it doesn't happen here. And PR/Advertising which is not clearly labelled as such is still immoral. 

Tonight I'm going to the launch show in support of We Are Shanghai vol.2 which you can get here. So that's where I'll be if you want to find me and take me up on the previous remark and talk about how your band, is like, totally PR driven and proud.


Video: SKSA Insomniac's Song live at XP

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China post punk band Streets Kill Strange Animals playing live at Beijing's XP club. The sound seems a bit mushed at first but stick with it, when the main refrain comes and the vocals kick off, it's all there.

There is another well-produced SKSA vid about but it's made by an ad agency to promote a computer seller so fuck that. I'm sure readers can track it down if they're not bothered by that sort of thing.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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