shanghai music scene: July 2011 Archives
Here's a video of new Shanghai shoegaze band Forsaken Autumn.
They were on second on Friday for the 0093 four year anniversary (of 0093 YYT shows). This vid came out really well showing the band's wall of noise sound, measured pace and dreamy vocals.
Check it out. I hope they stay together and put in the work as Shanghai doesn't have many bands of this style at the moment.
This is a weird one to report and I'll reproduce the e-mail from Pairs' Xiao Zhong giving the exact situation.
... anyway, I'm going to annoy him by reporting it a certain way first, it's a point of pride for me as a Shanghai scene person.
So, after a dynamite first year that saw Shanghai band Pairs explode onto the scene, tour the country and even end up onstage at Modern Sky's festival in Beijing ... they were signed by Beijing label Maybe Mars's offshoot Maybe Noise following a show at Raying Temple. This follows the footsteps of Eight Eye Spy and Shanghai's own Muscle Snog.
Yes! ... well sort of ...
You see, Pairs are committed to the DIY approach and brokered a more low key deal with producer Yang Haisong that didn't involve being attached to a label name. Also, to be honest, that is pretty much what Maybe Noise do anyway and it's not really being 'signed' so to speak. Also ... props to the DIY ethic.
The recording is done, and the album will be out late September.
Here's what Xiao Zhong had to say:
We played a show at Raying Temple in Beijing and Yang Haisong came along and saw us, then he said he produces records for Modern Sky and Maybe Mars and if we wanted to go that route, we could work it out. We said we'd rather do it with you freelance stlyle. So that's how it came about. We booked two days in the studio, but did everything in 4.5 hours. Everything from setting up mics, testing levels, doing 14 songs an taking some breaks to creep around. F and I are doing it all ourselves. Each CD has been hand folded, hand numbered, hand stickered, hand stamped and there is a DVD. No labels. Maybe Noise offered but we didn't think it would work out for a few different reasons.But anyway, Pairs and Duck Fight Goose full albums on the way. Duh, winning!
So, we were just on the subject of long interviews a post ago.
Well, my interview at Shanghai 247 has now been picked up by the Chinese indie music site Wooozy.cn and translated into Mandarin. I think they really did a sterling job, the layout and content is the same and it has all the reference MP3's in there. Thanks to Fanmu at the Wooozy/Split team.
And I just want to say that I do know some people over at Wooozy and Splitworks but you'll see that their blog covers very different ground to mine and other scene writers. They have never previously come over to this side or translated my posts before. So I guess what I'm saying is that it's being run there on merit. So I'll have to thank the 24-7 guys yet again.
It seems that website Shanghai 24-7 is owning the long interview right now. Here they have yet another lengthy, detailed and enlightening interview (ahem, yes, one of them was mine, sorry) this time with the Trash A Go Go collective.
read it all here it's really good
Trash A Go Go are formed around garage styles like hardcore, garage rock and surf rock and the shows are informed by their sheer love of the music and culture. Founding members Misuzu (Fan Qiang) and Toshi are real scene stalwarts. Misuzu's Five Dollar Shake Parties / Banana Monkey shows at the old Yuyintang were good times. In DJ B.O. they have a tireless promoter who even took shows to Mongolia recently, as linked on the blog a couple of posts down.
So, show your love, here's their page.
Friday just gone at Yuyintang was the Tiger Beer Battle of the Bands with guest performance by Yugou. Including the battle bands the main show went like this:
Magic (Moshu Shi)
Also playing out the night were Nanjing's 谜库 (Miku) but I didn't see them, sorry guys.
Music Fever's Fanchie Chaodan and Sunny were brought in to run this event artistically and they killed it. Check the photo, an interesting offshoot was that Frank Fen and Kaine were doing the live art out back in the park so it ended up being punk. Loved how the real lights at the top were incorporated into the painting.
The bands did fine but when Yuguo came on it was clear that they were the biggest draw and they played a decent set. The room was full up and the fans knew the words and chanted their names. For those who may be new to the scene, Yuguo came to Shanghai from Jiangxi to be a full time band and are one of those most professional acts around. They play a kind of brit-pop style that has infused parts of their Chinese influences and lyrics and are very popular with local fans.
Most of all, it was a unique opportunity to catch up with a whole slew of people from the scene. All the O3/0093 crew were there, the Music Fever people and even some old faces like Frank Fen, once of punk act Mortal Fools. Most of YYT's extended family was in tow too, and even Brad Ferguson was there, managing the bar.
Now I've done my Perez Hilton thing, I just want to say that's 2 for 2 for music promotion collectives and their summer events. Both Playful Warrior/the metal crowd and Music Fever have killed their summer event bringing YYT up to and over the 400 mark. No pressure, whoever is next.
As readers may or may not know, the Beijing Midi School has been expanding its festival to other cities, including Shanghai this year. They also have successfully run the show in the nearby river town Zhen Jiang - called the Chang Jiang Midi Festival. This year will be the third one.
Except it won't as it has suddenly and without previous indication changed into the Chang Jiang Strawberry Festival - see here. Yes, that's the brand of Modern Sky, the main rival festival.
At first all statements were restrained but let's be honest, it's an open secret of the China scene that the old hands are absolute bastards to each other all the time (so you needn't feel too bad for Midi themselves) ... but Midi School band Miserable Faith couldn't contain their anger any longer and started to go ballistic on Weibo:
I see it as a loss for the fans as Strawberry events are so brand minded that they even put two show cars in the middle of the indie stage last year. Urgghh.
Shanghai is never short of young bands doing the guitar driven emo/screamo pop thing. I recently put up a couple of videos here and now here are high quality demos from both bands.
First go to the Monkey Shines page and scroll down. Press play and hear the two tracks After Today and Save You Back. Both have great energy and sound great for demos. Also note, that these are almost perfect examples of what I'm hopelessly trying to give a genre name. Maybe I can get some help in the comments.
By the way, look at those play counts - as many as a lot of established China underground bands.
Then go to the Color 4 page and hear the brand new demo Error. This is more pop but you'll here strains of the same scene in there, especially towards the end.
Now can we have Double Control Where (original set) back please?
In case you haven't heard already. Trash-a-go-go's DJ B.O. recently organized a tour of Mongolia by China rock bands. Despite a few setbacks ... no Hanggai, B.O. himself being turned away at the border! ... Shanghai's Boys Climbing Ropes, Ho-Tom and his Horde and Moon Tyrant made it there and did the tour which included the People's Square of Ulaan Batur.
And check out these pics from Moon Tyrant's page:
(Click for larger) (More after the jump)
People may or may not know, I've been here since August 2001 ... which means, yes, I'm coming up for ten years.
I started writing the blog here because I couldn't find anything else in the same style, in English or Chinese.
... for Shanghai.
But actually, there was one, although it was stopped in 2005 when writer Adam left China. But I noticed lately the the blog is still online. I couldn't find the archives but I remember it having about 250 posts. It covers the Beijing scene.
So here it is: Chai Le
Chaile means to knock down or demolish. Chai is the character you see painted on buildings marked for destruction. Bonus point - notice that the Blogroll links Micah Sittig.
Photo by G of X is Y via Douban
Here's a story that's been floating around. It's not officially announced anywhere by the label in question but recording has started in a place were tons of scene people hang out.
The breaking news goes to Mr Dan Shapiro at The Beat: Shanghai's Duck Fight Goose have signed for Maybe Mars.
Read the full article/insight here
It's also making its way around the net: The Push Shove
You can check out Duck Fight Goose's Douban page and hear their first EP Flow in its entirety, right there on the front page. The new recording will feature their new set, and style, but band manager Brad tells me there are plans to work in two of the old favorites.
While were at it, let's check what I wrote about this in 2009: my cogitation. Although by my count, half the bands I mention there are inactive now, including biggest hope Self Party. 8 Eye Spy played a great show last week and their CD is great. DFG rose from the flames of Lava Ox Sea. We'll see.
This video comes courtesy of label Maybe Mars and their Douban page.
Go there for a great selection of tracks from all their bands: go go go scroll down on the first page you see there for the tracks.
This video is a 5 minute long interview with Carsick Cars frontman and creative force Shou Wang. There is a little bit from bassist He Fan too. But, for those without Chinese skills I should mention it's all in Mandarin with no titles. He talks about the new line up and then his influences and his work with electronic sounds also. It's set to a nice montage of songs and various classic photos from their career so far.
Photo from 41shoots on Douban.
Saturday night was the 17-live Summer Metal Festival show at Yuyintang. It featured these three bands:
Frosty Eve (Beijing)
I almost didn't go. I got off work late, was pretty sick and tired. But then I got texts from three separate friends already there saying that there was already over 400 people through the door and it was all going off. So I promptly got my ass there.
This hasn't happened for ages it seems. All local bands and packed to the rafters with mainly local fans too. I was surprised I could get in at all and haven't seen that many people in there since Reflector last came down. It seems that Beijing's Frosty Eve are a big draw as 90% of the audience were Chinese metal fans in full gear.
I arrived as Shanghai's Fearless were a couple of songs into their set and they were killing. The floor was crammed and heaving with headbangers and fans crowded along the stairs and sides. Fearless give the full metal/axe hero performance and the fans ate it up. At the end of their set there were cries for their The Trooper cover, it came and much moshing was done, again. This was an all time best performance from the guys.
By the time Frosty Eve got on, the park out back was full of sweaty shirtless bodies and also an equal amount of rock ladies too. It's metal all round in Shanghai. I thought people would be too tired and hot to go again but obviously a lot of people were here for the Beijing band. The majority of the crowd were able to sing along for pretty much every song they played. I felt they lacked the energy and presence that Fearless showed but they were good and they were playing to fans.
The festival continued with an after party at the new metal bar on Yongjia Road, Inferno.
Here are two live videos of new Shanghainese bands Color 4 and Monkey Shines, both featuring members of Little Nature strangely. One ex and one current.
Color 4 are seen here at Mao and play pop-punk. Monkey Shines play emo and are seen here at Yuyintang. Interestingly, they are both not far off members' other projects musically. Xiao Ding who sings for Monkey Shines also sings for Forget and Forgive.
Note: the sound quality for the Monkey Shines video is bad and goes in and out: but it still gives a good impression of their energy and how they rocked YYT that night.
Well, I'm a bit hesitant to announce this officially, but for now my free shit proxy thing seems to work pretty well all the time.
So, I'm on Twitter.
So follow me if you're there. I've had a play and I now guarantee you that as well as announcing new posts on our sites, there'll be other links, retweets and Q&A. If enough people follow it that I have more followers than followees, I'll keep it 99% China music related.
See you there.
Photo by Flickr user Martin Star
The Rock in China Wiki has all kinds of info and is generally inclusive, although I'd say their area of expertise is Beijing and heavy music.Their Flickr group now has over 6000 pics.
And don't forget - it's a Wiki and the photo group is open too, so if you do see something is missing: upload it. Give the guys a hand.
More from our friends at Shanghai 24-7. The same time that I did the interview there, we recorded a podcast.
I can't find a permalink so here's the full podcast page.
The series is called Chongming Island Discs and the idea is to pick your essential tracks, basically like Desert Island Discs. In the spirit of Kungfuology, I decided to go all Chinese rock. Here's the track listing (and there's bits of me talking in between).
PK14 - Kuai
Lava Ox Sea - Home Hell
Subs - The Man
Hedgehog - Blue Daydreaming
Boys Climbing Ropes - Life Knife
Boojii - Reserved
Carsick Cars - Zhong Nan Hai
Loudspeaker - I Will Be Back
Here's the song I recorded from the 8 Eye Spy show last night. As always, remember I use a small compact and condensed mic, I also only vid the one song ... you know, cos I'm enjoying the show the rest of the time. So it's limited quality.
Anyway, here's the band. Great show.
We made it to the third gig in four days of our mini-marathon. Congratulations.
So, I chose Good Jive over Raybans, going for an honest gig with risk-taking music, organised by people I respect, over shallow promotion and hipster appeal.
And walked into a giant video set/photo shoot for Dell/Intel and their Noisey project. And I paid for the privilege and it was not declared on the flyer or anywhere else. Seriously WTF! To top it off, it seems that Dell X Vice = assholes. Their multiple camera vid set up and stills photographer took the front row, and all the energy, for the entire headliner set. And yes, the stills camera had a powerful flash and shot continuously from start to finish mostly front center and often back into our faces. No respect for the community, the paying fans or the general culture of the scene and venue. It was really like being on an ad set and stuff like, oh I don't know, being able to see the singer past the held-up cam and continuous flash, was apparently of no concern to these dicks.
So the show basically existed to give Dell some soft ad material. Nice.
The bands were:
X is Y have a member on holiday right now and they gamely stepped in at the last minute as a duo. Credit to them, they took creative advantage of this and did something different with the songs. It worked and was a good opener for the show. They also played tracks with female lead vocals, which is new for them and also worked.
Next Year's Love played their fullest set yet, in their short career. The sound was really good in YYT and we could hear the guitar better than usual. The song Xiao Ge Ge went off particularly well and there was some good energy in the songs. Their retro synth riffs and experimental edge were a good fit for a Good Jive show too.
8 Eye Spy were awesome despite the continuous distractions, which also prevented the crowd from properly letting loose. They really came across like a weekend headliner. Loud, experienced and assured on stage, they crashed through a great set that mixed the no-wave sound and the Chinese scene post-punk sound. I was surprised at how many songs had up tempo regular rock beats in them too. Great band.
I'm sure most people who follow this blog or Jake's blog will know the site
They are the newest magazine site on the block who have now built up a formidable collection of music and art content that includes blogs, reviews, music videos and podcasts.
I was recently over at Shanghai 24/7 Puxi HQ recording the next episode of their Chongming Island Discs pod. Afterwards we sat down and had an extended conversation about the music scene here. We recorded the whole thing and the guys have compiled the comparatively coherent parts into an interview piece.
They did a great job and even embedded songs of bands we refer to. So show me and them some love and check it out.
Thursday night and Splitworks blog Wooozy kicked off its first monthly showcase of Chinese bands at Yuyintang. The line up:
The show was run earlier from 8 to accommodate a younger local crowd, which it got, but almost didn't start due to the man showing up. But start it did with Forsaken Autumn.
The Shanghai based shoegazers did a solid job helped on by great sound. They describe themselves as slowcore dreampop at their page. There was a good helping of noise and fuzz in their wall of sound at times too.
Mr Graceless are a Beijing based indie rock group. They are a finished product and have signed to label Maybe Mars. They ripped into an upbeat set of typical Beijing style rock with good dual vocal harmonies and Beatles-esque chorus melodies. The audience loved them and they played with energy. The set was interrupted at one point by the return of the man, who even took the stage at one point - always a popular move. But the show eventually resumed and the band finished their set. Good night all round, job well done.
Duck Fight Goose are not playing Saturday's Good Jive 3 show at Yuyintang.
But have no fear, fans of risk-taking music. 8 Eye Spy now become the big draw of the night.
The Nanjing based no-wave band are excellent and have an album out on Maybe Mars' sister label, Maybe Noise. It was produced by PK14's Yang Haisong.
8 Eye Spy Douban Page
Also adding to the bill are Shanghai's own X is Y whose math rock is a perfect fit for the Good Jive spirit.
So the Saturday choice is still not an easy one. Comments are open now, where are you planning on going?
Picture note: due to the interesting set up at Logo members of the band were completely in the dark when I tried to get a shot. Sorry Sophia.
Show one in my mini marathon of shows this week.
Here's the schedule
Abe Deyo Mysterio has been touring Swedish synth pop act Kite all around China and tonight was the final date.
New Logo has a nice set up with a wooden dance floor in front of the stage and a balcony too. The bar is to the side and out of the way. It's got good potential for sure.
Next Year's Love played first. They built on previous shows and played a longer set than before. They play kind of synth-pop mixed with noise punk. I heard my favorite track Jump, No One Really Cares and other songs had been tuned up greatly. Some good moments in the music tonight where certain segments flowed well. Loved the "Mei Xiaoge" (no boys) shouts but lost on most of the audience I think.
Kite followed up with their, well, plain straight pop music. I really did think I was back in my teen years' house having accidentally turned on Top of the Pops. They played a shortish set and went out with a synth ballad minor key track with echoes of Alphaville. It's a shame there weren't more people in, that band are like porn for 80s fans. And there seem to be a lot around these days.
Alright then. Before I get into the this, don't forget there's a full article on the Saturday shows and bands here and a full article on the Thursday Wooozy showcase here.
Ok, so I'm blogging again. It's the summer and I've been to the doc's and anti-Shanghai summer meds have been acquired. Andy 2.0 is ready for a three shows in four days blogathon.
That's not quite up to Kungfuology's previous record. And I can't find the post on that one, arse.
Join me if you will:
Tonight (Wed): Swedish band Kite & Next Year's Love @ Logo
Thursday: Mr Graceless at YYT
Friday: rest or perhaps folk night at Mao if you don't need a rest
It begins. Seriously, Logo is small, if you're in on this, do say hi.
Shanghai promoters Playful Warrior, helmed by Chaos Mind frontman Lao Gao, aka Sam Dust, have a new site at Douban.
The page's latest blog post is a list of Shanghai area bands who all identify themselves with -core in the genre. It's interesting and provides link to the pages of all the bands there. A couple of bands are not that active these days but it's worth a look.
Interesting aside. You'll note that Ero Or Hero's Chinese name actually means Mutton Demon and they list muttoncore as a genre. I've seen them twice and humour does not appear to be part of the act, so who knows.
Saturday July 9th is going to be a tough one. The two main venues both have potentially amazing nights lined up. That's not to say there's nothing else on, by the way.
In the red corner:
In the blue corner:
The Good Jive show is focused on music that takes more risks and a glance at the line up throws up words like Krautrock, Synth Punk, No Wave and Experimental. 8 Eye Spy are from Nanjing and have a great CD on Maybe Noise, they don't come around here so often. The Mao show has The Mushrooms, Shanghai's breakout band that were signed to David Tao's indie label. The show is an odd mix of genres though. Commercial emo-rock, retro synth pop/rock, noise rock and straight emo. Plus it's branded, ugh.
Never Hide, unless it's behind a pair of Ray-bans of course.
But the line up.