Results tagged “self party” from Andy Best

Pics: original YYT mural and 2009 gigs

Here are some pics from summer of 2009 in Yuyintang. They show people who performed there posing with the recently completed mural in its original black and white as painted by Kaine. It's an interesting glance back for me anyway, not too far back though.

People in the pictures: Pupi of Da Bang, Wu Zhuo Ling, Mai Mai of Muscle Snog and AWU, Self Party and Boojii.

yyt bw pupi

yyt bw wzl

yyt bw maimai

yyt bw self party

yyt bw boojii

Self Party semi-active again

Miniless 2009 showcase flyer
When now-famous Han Han, of Duck Fight Goose, first came to Shanghai he brought his Miniless collective. This was a loose group of mainly out of town bands who all played experimental and post-punk music. Han Han organised recordings, promoted shows and made art and merch. 

So, before I go on, here's the band Self Party's page to use as your reference.

As good as all the acts were - and all of them produced great albums during that time - the surprise breakout act was Self Party.

Self Party were originally called Monkey Power and their two albums are under that name. They are a duo who use a mixture of electronic and live instruments. They mixed post-punk ideas with heavy noise and feedback, capped with electronic drums and samples. All the local fans who came to Miniless shows seemed to go crazy for them at the time. Looking back, they first cropped up on this blog in early-mid-2008, but the famous shows (flyer pictured) are all from summer 2009 - after which they abruptly stopped. 

Lately though, they have been re-tooling their Douban site and uploading demos and videos. It's a good time to revisit, there's a lot of material there and lets hope they come back to Shanghai soon.

I want to throw this in here too, while we're in that area: I think that San San, who most people know as the bassist / co-writer of Duck Fight Goose, may be the most accomplished musician on the Shanghai scene. She has driven three bands in the past ten years here - 33 Island, Boojii and Duck Fight Goose. Every one of them has been excellent and ended up being signed and putting out a great album.

33 Island Looking For The King (Modern Sky) here
Boojii Reserved (Modern Sky) here
Duck Fight Goose Sports (Maybe Mars) here

Shanghai: Soon to be famous for experimental sounds?


Miniless 2009 showcase flyerMost countries with music scenes have one or two industry centres or a defined main scene. Here it has to be Beijing with the most bands, the most developed bands and the labels.

Smaller city scenes that break out or get fame tend to be associated with a type of music. Take the Manchester or Liverpool sounds or the classic example of Seattle. Say "the Seattle scene" with no other context and people will think of the Grunge style. I'm sure there were other good bands playing but that's what people associate it with.

Of course, within the grunge scene and the Seattle gold rush there were diverse sounds, but that's how it played out.

So what I was thinking is: What about Shanghai?

There have been brief sparks that died again or have yet to really ignite. At one point Banana Monkey were going to lead the modern Brit-rock charge. Top Floor Circus are inspirational but they haven't inspired. Fans of legendary track Karaoke Forever (a local dialect play on words that means never go to karaoke) still go to KTV, they just think the song is funny. The Jiaoban bands signed with Indietop and haven't released a significant album between them 18 months later. There are many more examples.

So who is getting it together in Shanghai as poised to take advantage of a potential scene elevation?

I think it has to be the Miniless collective.

The reason: these groups have kept their eyes on their music and followed through. Now we have top quality albums, in both material and production, out from Fading Horizon, Lava Ox Sea, Muscle Snog and Eight Eye Spy - with Boojii not far behind. All these acts are different in their own way but they share organisation, images and philosophy. Most importantly they now have top quality recordings that can be accessed outside of the scene. After all, when a scene gets noticed or named it is by definition done so from outside and usually by the main hub.

If you were based in Beijing and were asked to comment on the Shanghai scene what would you say - as a kind of defining soundbite? Well, now they have those five CDs to get excited about and here's the thing. Muscle Snog, Eight Eye Spy and Boojii all went to Beijing to record - these are the bands getting signed up by the main hub. So think about it.

Perhaps this time next year Self Party and LOS may sell out a show at Yugong Yishan, full of fans eager to see a 'Shanghai sound' Miniless act.

Miniless showcase @ Yuyintang

Miniless 2009 showcase flyer
Update: oopps. Loud music and shouting in each other's ears. The band with the Beijing mishaps was in fact 8 Eye Spy not Muscle Snog. Same end result.

So, the Miniless Showcase. Before I get into this lets have the intro and the band. Han Han is an unassuming guy from Hefei City in Anhui province. Without ever having been in touch with a 'developed' music scene or been in live contact with any bands from said scenes, he has single handedly put together a DIY label of amazing experimental bands as well as fronting the flagship act, Lava Ox Sea.

The line up:

Self Party

And still before we get to the show. Han Han has been excited lately by the release of two CDs which he says are 'high quality' releases. Well, I have both those CDs. One is Fading Horizon and the other is the new one from Lava Ox Sea. And yes, both of them are high quality and fucking amazing listens. 

The LOS CD was recorded up in Nanjing and produced by Yang Haisong. It has been skillfully put together and mastered with the highest quality. I just can't stop listening to Vertigo right now. I'm listening to it as I write this, in fact. 

So, the show was ... why? ... an STD co-production. I expected it to be bursting but it wasn't. It was still a full YYT, just not sardined like the recent run of shows. I arrived in time to catch Boojii's set, which was short and tempered by some sound hitches at the start. I can't wait to get my hands on their new CD, but tonight wasn't a Boojii night. Not their fault, average sound in general let the night down a bit. Also, I missed the opening set by Duck Fight Goose, a kind of Miniless super-group. You'll have to check out Jake Newby for that, he tells me they were excellent.

The first full set I got to see was from Fading Horizon. They took a couple of songs to get going but things took off from Twice. FH are quite conventional for a China experimental act and at times the pumping bass and mid-range clanging guitars remind me of eighties indie bands. They must be aware of this though, and they decided to finish the set with a massive long repetitive instrumental complete with drum sticks bashing guitars and their female back up singer screaming away.  

Lava Ox Sea came on last. Han Han emerged with a paper bag over his head and his glasses on the outside. He led into the set with a gradually building echo drenched riff and I thought this as really going to kick off. Alas, the sound was just too muddy. The vocals were barely audible at times and the instruments had no separation too. Usually I don't mind or even notice but after you hear how unbelievable the CD is and the sheer quality of the tracks and sounds, anything less is a bit dissapointing. LOS have set high standards for themselves now.

On a final note, the Muscle Snog CD is not out yet and has suffered a further delay. Not going to tell the full story, sorry, but their Beijing adventure has come to a sour and abrupt end. Look for that to be salvaged on Miniless. Then by that time you'll have FH, LOS Boojii and Muscle Snog CDs on your shelf and Han Han will have brought indisputable ruling quality to the Shanghai scene. 

Miniless Records 2009 showcase coming to town

Miniless 2009 showcase flyer
Miniless Records are a Zhejiang based underground/DIY label for experimental bands. Regulars to the blog will remember I went to the CD release for their band Fading Horizon not so long ago. They have an amazing stable of bands these days that ranges from polished 'finished products' like Fading Horizon, through cult bands like Self Party to newcomers like Acoelomate Goat.

Go here and listen to FH's Twice
Go here and listen to AG's The pretty shortcut to my nervous wonderland

While you're at it, check out Miniless Records' site here.

So, next month on the 27th, they are back in town with a kick-ass showcase that is a dream for experimental fans. As well as Shanghai's own Boojii, we have Lava|OX|Sea, Self Party and Fading Horizon on the same bill. There's only one drawback in that it's being promoted by STD who are 'party people'. They did their best to scupper their Hedgehog show a while back by playing dance music between rock bands and flitting around YYT exhibiting obnoxious 'party people' behaviour. Still, this is not a show to miss for fans of the genre.

Fading Horizon (Nanjing) live @ Yuyintang

fadinghorizon flyer
A lot going on that night. Want to start though by pointing out that Youtube is still down here in China and while I was using Tudou as a temporary stop-gap, it seems that a permanent solution may be needed. In the mean time, no vids this weekend, sorry.

Get in the Van had The Gar and 24 Hours up at Dream Factory but your intrepid blogger worked until 9 and was working again at 9am the next day. So it was off to Yuyintang to see Fading Horizon. This was the official CD release show and they are on Miniless, a maverick experimental collective/label from down this way.

Have a listen to Fading Horizon right here right now.

Also on the bill were Shanghai's own Boojii and 8 Eye Spy. I got there just too late to catch Boojii who went on first and 8 Eye Spy but made it in time for Fading Horizon. 

Fading Horizon mix the layered shoegazing and noise style experimental rock with some clear hooks and beats that work. Yuyintang wasn't as packed as some of the sell out shows of late but it was just as cool. Dreamy soundscapes drifting across the hall and fans who seemed to be as into shoegazing as the band. There was a cheer of approval when they went into the opening riff of the strongest track Twice. I'm listening to the CD as I write and the production is really good. Certainly one of the best offerings from the Miniless stable so far. Fans of obscure and original experimental bands should definitely start to follow this label. Self Party were also a big hit here last year.

Youtube channel roundup for Feb 2009

It's that time of the month again. And it's time for the obligatory notice for newbies. Most of the live videos I post here are taken by myself and stored at the blog's Youtube Channel. You can see a link in the sidebar.

Or you can click here to visit.

The top six is ranked by all time views, not month by month. So, after the regulars, I'll be linking a couple of newer vids that are moving up fast. The major story of this post is indie pop band Bang Bang Tang (singer Xiao Bai pictured) who have taken three of the top six places.

Also, a quick note for those who read the posts as they come out. There's something going on with the net here and it's playing with my ability to access my server at normal speeds, hence the quiet few days. 

Right then:

1) The Rogue Transmission live @ Dream Factory: 360 views watch
2) Boys Climbing Ropes live @ Dream factory: 291 views watch
3) Bang Bang Tang live @ Yuyintang (Oct): 287 views watch
4) Bang Bang Tang (Lollipop) older vid: 280 views watch
5) Bang Bang Tang live @ Yuyintang (Nov 2008): 265 views watch
6) Self Party live @ Yuyintang: 260 views watch

And now, the two fastest risers from recent times. One is the DIY music video I made with Pinkberry for Runaway. The others are red hot Shaoxing Brit-poppers The Way. Enjoy.

Youtube channel top views for December

It's that time of the month again where I round up the blog's Youtube channel. So, for all those who just check the featured posts and have not surfed the back catalogue, I now have 63 videos there to look at. 

Now, the top six has been a little bit skewed because of this: douchebag scandal and video. In the name of science it's safe to discard it as it's clearly not one of the band's live vids. However, the Sunday Morning video does give us some more interesting insights into the world of blogs and Shanghai. 

Youtube views count only individual IPs and thus give us a direct figure on how many different people watched it. So, the Douchegate scandal was a big blog story here and then my video on it got featured posts on Shanghaiist and I Love China. We must be wary of the link at Danwei as it was a small link added to the main post when the article had long been buried on the page. Moving on, all that attention and posting translated into around 1 500 views. So there you have it.

And now - the current top six at my channel:

1) The Rogue Transmission live @ Dream Factory: 302 views watch
2) Bang Bang Tang (Lollipop): 222 views watch
3) Boys Climbing Ropes live @ Dream Factory: 220 views watch
4) Self Party live @ Yuyintang: 218 views watch
5) Hard Queen live @ Yuyintang: 182 views watch
6) Crazy Mushroom Brigade live @ Yuyintang: 168 views watch

Self Party are still holding out for post-rock and experimental while the Mushrooms bump Modern Cheese out for the first time. Watch the Mushroom's vid and sigh - the altered line up I saw at the Indietop showcase has a long way to go in recapturing the level you see in the vid. 

5 Minutes come to Shanghai

Regular readers of the blog may notice I have a leaning towards punk and garage rock, especially local Shanghai acts. However, I like to think that I pitch in with other genres to keep the balance. Revisit these blog moments for the experimental/electro indie scene: Miniless Showcase, Notch Festival, Neocha Folk release, 33 Island and the Self Party Video.

So, I'm still sick and it's raining so I doubt I'll be able to report on tonight's YYT show, 5 Minutes. They are a Beijing based act who are an important part of the indie scene. Check out their page here (has five full tracks) and watch the video below. If you go to the show, let me know about it in the comments.

Youtube channel top views and more

It's almost a month since the last round up of the blog's Youtube channel so let's have another look. 

I appealed to people to promote their favourite videos by getting their friends to watch and sending it up the charts. This seems to have worked a bit in some cases, although Miniless Record's Self Party is still at the top. Darn it. We still haven't had a vid break out into the Youtube mainstream and pile up a ton of views yet either. Curses! Why aren't people queuing up to watch unclear, bootleg videos of amateur bands they've never heard of in a distant country they know nothing about? Beats me!

I do have a couple of other things to post about today so I'll get the short one out: Banana Monkey have split. Not only were they a good band who had stuck together and 'got good', they also did a lot of organising on the scene. Some of my favourite shows were the movie themed gigs down at the old Yuyintang. I first saw them and Happy Strings (now Momo) at Wolfman Attacks Yuyintang. Follow the link to have a listen and a nostalgic moment - here.

And now ... the current top six of my blog's mainly insignificant video channel:

1) Self Party play the Miniless Records showcase at Yuyintang: 168 views watch
2) Bang Bang Tang play Yuyintang: 158 views watch
3) Boys Climbing Ropes live at Control: 131 views watch
4) Hard Queen's August Yuyintang show: 108 views watch
5) Modern Cheese at Yuyintang: 101 views watch
6) The Rogue Transmission live at Control: 99 views watch

BCR and the Rogue Transmission blow the top six apart! Good show. Next step, one of the top six bands simply has to persuade some high traffic site like Shanghaiist to post their video and it will skyrocket into an utterly untouchable position. Or, if you want a real promo video, just ask. I have a flashy camera (Canon XL2) and a light and will do it for free/a laugh. 

Lastly, I saw that a piece mentioning Chinese rock music appeared in the Guardian's famous Comment Is Free section. So firstly:

The article in question - here
The nice guys at Danwei who broke the story - here

The piece is actually about fetish-ising things cos they're Chinese and judging them unfairly. It makes some interesting points (unintentionally). Namely, that even being 'positive' is bad if it's a stereotype. Anyway, the article is all over the place and I've no idea why it's in CiF. The main thrust is not really what I cover on the blog here either. She does mention Carsick Cars and The Subs. Apparently, the song Zhong Nanhai is not only about the brand of ciggie but referring to the Zhong Nanhai building in Beijing. Shows how much I know. I wonder if Alice also thinks it refers to the actual Zhong Nanhai, the South China Sea? Do we have a CSC lyrics expert on hand?

Youtube Channel top views

The continued dominance of Self Party on the blog Youtube Channel and the swift rise of the latest Modern Cheese video has confirmed a couple of suspicions. If I put up a post basically begging readers to check out a certain video, they will. Thanks. Also, bands that have their shit together pass on stuff and get others to check it out too.

Lets have a quick perspective check though. My blog readership is up to about 1000 individual IPs in a month. The top rated video on the channel has 140 views. Now, some videos on have thousands of views. Some videos of cats slipping on a polished surface have over one million views. On the other hand, this blog is for, about and by people who like counter culture. My readership and views are actually above the average attendance for the shows I cover. 

So, whatever It might actually mean, here's the current top six viewed videos on my Youtube channel.

The channel itself is here.

1) Self Party play the Miniless Records showcase at Yuyintang. 140 views  watch
2) Bang Bang Tang at Yuyintang. 111 views watch
3) Crazy Mushroom Brigade rock out. 76 views watch
4) Modern Cheese perform with new singer. 72 views watch
5) Hard Queen back at Yuyintang. 64 views watch
6) The Shy Tall Mighty old school punk. 58 views watch

Why not show support for your favourite video by introducing it to your friends and pushing it up the chart? I encourage that sort of behaviour. 

Youtube: channel review


channelThe main idea of this blog was just to combine articles with links to the band's own pages. After having a think, I decided it was do-able to feature performance videos and post them via youtube. This is only possible with a true underground scene like we have here where such activities are seen as helpful. In the corporate world, bootlegging gigs could be slightly problematic. Ah, nostalgia. I remember when Metallica refused to do promos and even recorded a tribute EP to their favourite bootleg (Garage Days Re-Revisited). Look at the sorry mess now.

So, now my youtube channel is six weeks old - birthday July 6th - and we have 19 videos on there.

Why not have a look now?

Not all the videos there get their own featured post on the blog so you may have missed some. The views aren't massive but they definitely indicate popularity. Having a featured post hasn't always meant much more views than others. Suprisingly for me, Self Party are leading in that respect. It's the blog's most popular video at the moment. With over fifty visitors in a day now, there's no way some vids should only have around five views. So, come on, check out some of the bands you may have missed.

Start with a high quality winner first: my favourite vid on the channel.

Youtube: Self Party @ Yuyintang


My post about Self Party was little more than an anecdote moaning about a headache. So, in the name of fairness to both the band and fans of this kind of music ... trumpet fanfare ... here they are playing the Miniless Showcase at Yuyintang.



Bonus Post: Self Party @ Yuyintang


rylan mcpheeThis post is more of an anecdote than a gig review but I did get new vid material so it's worth doing. Earlier in the day I had been to see Hard Queen at Eno. I wasn't going to check out the Miniless showcase at Yuyintang but I got a call from Rylan McPhee, buddy of mine, who was already there. So I dragged myself and my tired, heavy head to the show.

I got there in time to see Self Party play. To be fair, they were not that bad despite an average to washy sound and the habit of repeating the same four bars more than thrity or so times in each song. Shoe-gazing fans will like them, I'm sure. The problem was my tired head and the end of the anecdote. Into their final song they got feedback and sound problems and when they looked to the desk they saw it was empty. The sound guy was off at the bar drinking. So, like any good experimental band, they openly laughed to each other on stage and proceeded to abandon the song in favour of continuing feedback and noise.

Unfortunately it was so loud that my prospective headache immediately jumped into nausea-pang-laced throbbing and sent me off home. So, I had to abandon the rest of the show and leave the Clansman of Cranbrook to continue his good work alone. That's clansman with a C, readers nursing a hangover. Yuyintang was packed again and it's good to see the venue get good crowds for all the different styles. A final point, just lurking at the edge of the photo is Morgan Short. Morgan is the bass player for Boys Climbing Ropes who have a CD out called Pleasure To Be Here. Check out the linked page.


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