Results tagged “new pants” from Andy Best

Zhang Qian Qian, indie folk storms Douban

zhang qq
Not that long ago Zhang Qian Qian (pictured) came down to Shanghai to play Yuyintang. It was midweek and I missed it.

Zhang is one of the best indie-folk artists around and incorporates many elements into her work. I'm always impressed with her fluttering vocal style and well judged sense of tempo that keeps slower songs full of subtle energy. She is is also well known for being more extroverted than her contemporaries.

Go now to her page and listen to the tracks there (live).

While we are on the subject of indie-folk. 

I was having a look around Douban's band pages. They are called 音乐人 musicians at the site.  These are relatively new at Douban and the Chinese underground has moved there gradually over the past year and a bit. Douban is a social networking style site with 2.0 functions that is geared towards music, books and movies. It has a couple of million subscribers but is still nowhere near the user numbers of mainstream sites. Well, it's not mainstream, is it.

So anyway. Now the figures break down like this. A new or part-time band with a couple of demos up will get 3-500 subscribers and their songs about 5-800 listens. This after being active for a few months. A listen is counted by individual members and once only per member.

Popular bands like the Maybe Mars bands or New Pants or whoever now get around 5-8000 subscribers and 8-10 000 listens per track. This is a recent thing too. So it's definitely growing. Basically, a good band on the underground could now use their Douban base to fill up any gig they play and create an honest revenue from shows. 

However, when I looked at the list of top performing musician pages I got a shock. Right up there with the 10 000 + club were Shanghai indie folk acts Coverpeople and Mogu Hong. Look at Coverpeople's page. The average amount of listens is over 20 000 and the best almost 40 000. They triple the numbers of the best Shanghai rock/indie band, The Mushrooms. Although the shows are not comparable, perhaps almost inverse. Who knows what it all means at this point, but there it is.

Magazines: New Pants continued

new pants cd
So. This month's top hot off the press gossip story featuring New Pants gets one more round. The show is tomorrow and two magazines have run interviews with them. 

Here's the first installment: snub
And here's the follow up: handbags

And, before I go on, the interviews in full.

Jake Newby at SH magazine: read
Punknotjunk at City Weekend: read

Jake's interview is fairly sober and I can reveal that the questions were sent off and done before the scandal broke. By the way, I'm never, ever, going to use the phrase "I can reveal that" again. I just wrote several posts on gossip stuff lately and wanted to throw it in there once. Here's a sample from the interview:

SH: You used to be called The Structural Metal Workshop Master. Why the change of name?
PL: That's true. We changed it because we felt it was too obscure. It was like a name from a student band at the Bauhaus School or something. With New Pants, we wanted a name that made a clean break and set us apart from the previous two decades of rock music in China. So we chose a jokey, modern name instead.

Punknotjunk happens to be the same guy who started off the whole scandal, getting his article pulled from Shanghaiist, where he is the music editor. He starts off by immediately bringing this up and then asking them about it. If you've been following this then you'll note the irony when you read the intro. I still want to know where the 'heat' came from. Shanghaiist are near immune to complaints and last time they altered a post that was already up was when it contained snuff pictures. Just who did Abe piss off?

Here's a sample from the interview:

New Pants seems to be gaining in popularity.......any chance you might soon be breaking into the world of Mando Pop? Maybe a duet with Joey Yung?
A: In China, today, our music still isn't accepted by mainstream audiences, but we have a great fan base in the relatively small underground scene. Fortunately the scene is expanding. Given the chance we would love to work with Joey Yung.

So, after the show tomorrow, this will be put to bed. Must say it's been refreshing to have someone speak their mind regardless of social relationships etc. It hasn't exactly been bad for the blog either.

Tianping Dian demo and a nuts weekend

tianping dian promo.jpg
Upcoming Shanghai band Tianping Dian are getting it together lately. I've been catching them at gigs for a while now and was really happy to see them rip out a great show in front of a decent crowd at YYT recently. 

I first saw them here. Then I saw them again at Gua'er here. Finally they rocked the house at YYT. 

Video of Tianping Dian at YYT: watch

So now I'm happy to see that Tianping Dian have now recorded a quality demo track and opened up a Neocha page. The song Wo Men (we) is their show stopper right now and I have to admit a soft spot for the style. Although I must admit, if you come to this track knowing they are called Candy Shop, you're in for a shock when you hear it. 

Here is the demo at neocha and here are some pictures.

In other news, this is the so-called peak weekend of the peak month this year. Over at his City Weekend blog, Dan Shapiro has posted up a summary. Read it. I just want to add to that though. Those three shows are the three big shows. At the same time as New Pants there is an indie night at Yuyintang that features Nanjing's V-day and Hard Queen. There's always stuff going on in the 'old' music district at places like Live Bar and 021. So yeah, this is a super packed weekend with choices. Talking of big shows we have The Subs and the Indie Top showcase to come at Dream factory.

As an end note, there may be yet another addition to the hipster paradise. It's too early to make any map edits yet, but the bar on Fahuazhen Road to the east of Dingxi Road has been bought out and is going to put bands on. They have installed J-rockers Slappie Toy as their house band. And since there is a lot of confusion about this in the Shanghai mags I want to say: good venues put on original music. No one with half a brain would count a pub that puts on a cover band on Tuesdays as part of a scene. So lets wait and see.

Update: I just noticed that this is music scene post number 108 (hugely significant in Chinese numerology). Did Tianping Dian just get heaven's mandate to become the ruling band on the scene? You know, if you're into that sort of thing. Er mi tuo fo.

"Handbags": more gossip updates (and 100 posts)

I have some follow up here on the New Pants - Abe Deyo story I broke after reading the Shanghaiist post which has since been taken down. 

Confused? Here's the full story.

The story has done the rounds now and we have some new comment and quotes from both Jake Newby at SH Magazine and Archie Hamilton of Split Works at his China Music Radar blog.

China Music Radar is a professional blog that deals with 'the biz' end of the scene. Readers of my blog should be following it too as it fills in a massive area of the scene that I don't cover much at all. What's more, it's written by people who are full time pros in that field. 

Here is Archie's post on the story: Handbags

Archie makes basically the same disclaimers that I did in the original post. That is: it's gossip, it's based on Abe's personal principals and not on direct quotes from the bands and also that ultimately you should judge the bands themselves based on the music. He also brings in some slang from the footy terraces and inspires the titles for both this post and Jake's article. I do want to stick by the fact that I like gossip and that these kinds of stories are par for the course in the world of music. Archie nails it, though, when he implies with his post that it seems mismatched to the size of the scene here.

Jake's article at SH manages to get a quote from one of the sources, but still not one of the bands.It's from S.T.D. the promoters of the upcoming New Pants show in Shanghai. Conflict of interest warning.

Reggie from STD (the promoter behind both shows) has said that The Gurge "were all delighted with their recent tour through China. They had an amazing experience, and as professional as both bands are, I would find it hard to believe that they would let this sort of thing come between them."

Good follow up from Jake but the quote doesn't really answer Abe's point. Abe didn't make any claim to representing the bands themselves rather he was talking about his principals and views on the matter. It seems obvious why it would be pulled from Shanghaiist but stories don't get directly posted there, they are stored and then scheduled after checking by the editor. It has been pulled from above following a complaint. Hence the intrigue. Anyway, it's a bit of a story for people like me to blog about, isn't it.

Jake then goes on, in his excellent post, to pick the Xiao He feat. Lu Chen of Top Floor Circus show. Great pick. These guys are great musicians, great performers and they're funny as f*ck. A warning though, I've recently chatted with some of the people involved in the upcoming show. It will be an expanded version of their recent Haibao drama act based, this time, around  Astro Boy. Last time this meant large sections of drama/comedy with some token songs along the way. Perhaps we are going to get a third rendition of Punk Rockers Suck with Astro crushing our balls. 

If you want a great night out with a real 'local' experience you should not miss this show. Lu Chen and Xiao He are gods in the scene. Well - that's 100 music scene posts for me and plenty more to come! I leave you with the video of Lu Chen's last show.

How to snub someone right proper

new pants cd
Update: One of the two posts that I linked below have been pulled by the editors this morning. Shanghaiist have even left a note about it 'pending further review'. This is quite funny from a site that regularly posts up all kinds of offensive trash such as inflammatory far-right nonsense and tabloid stories. I have to speculate that S.T.D. are not happy with someone recommending staying away from one of their shows. 

But remember, kids, that's what gossip stories are all about: outrageous speculations.

End Update

Well, we haven't really had any good gossip for a while and it had to come at some point. Does that count as a preface?

Beijing punk rockers New Pants are on their way to Shanghai for a big show at the Dream Factory. It will be put on by S.T.D. and will really be a big show

So, here's the basic gist of the story. Shanghai promoter Abe Deyo, also the music editor at Shanghaiist, has just posted about New Pants and their perceived snub to Aussie band Regurgitator, who were just here. 

What do you think: Regurgitator are an established and successful band in Australia who decided to help out New Pants by flying them to Oz and paying for them to do the whole tour in front of sell out audiences. So, one year later the Oz band come out to China hoping to team up with a local act and reach a local audience. New Pants say we're a bit busy, sorry, and decline to get involved.

It should be mentioned that I know nothing about it and I'm basically blogging Abe's two articles on the subject. He mentions that New Pants also bad mouthed The Queers, who Abe is bringing over and messed with another band's show he is involved in. This didn't only prompt him to break the Regurgitator story, it has messed with his cool. People here know that Abe is super-cool and professional. He is very careful not mess with other promoters or say anything negative about bands in general. A nerve appears to be hit this time though.

Here's a quote

Nov 22nd New Pants ... actually after the diss they laid on Regurgitator we don't recommend seeing these douchebags unless it's to throw rotten tomatoes at the f*ckers.

And here's the two articles: Sha-iist and City Weekend

There's a danger here of any press being good press for the show itself but Go Abe. This blog must recommend making your decision based on if you like New Pants' music or not but I love gossip too. Also, there hasn't been a promoter throw down for a while and when there was it was more like people getting mildly annoyed with each other. Where's Brad when you need him?


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