March 2010 Archives

New songs: Pairs

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New band, new songs.The video on the right here, kind of like Subterranean Homesick Blues on speed, is from Pairs, a Shanghai-based err pair. They've got a couple of songs up on their Douban already (right here) and a couple of videos, this obviously being one of them. The other one is here

The recording quality isn't great, but it sounds like they rock and you can download the tracks from Douban too. As if that wasn't enough for you, they even say you can get their CD for free:
'If you want a copy of our CD, get in touch with us and we'll organise some sort of personal drop off. No stress about cash, it's all free but we are down with bartering too.'
Does writing about them on a blog count as bartering? I'm nothing if not for sale.

Anyway, seems like the thing to do would be to check them out live and you can do that at the next Good Jive event on April 10th. Y'know Good Jive, the Han Han organised thing (more here). Anyway, they'll be there with Duck Fight Goose, Rainbow Danger Club, The Beat Bandits and The Fever Machine all at YYT.
p429323666.jpgLast weekend saw a couple of local favourites playing gigs out of town. Naturally, The Mushrooms playing Beijing for the first time was a big one and it sounds as if it went down pretty well. Congratulations to the band and to Splitworks for getting them up there. Read about the reactions here.

The other gig I had in mind though was Top Floor Circus playing in Hangzhou. Whether this was an open defiance of the performance ban or just them testing its boundaries, it seems that gigs outside of Shanghai are going to be ok for them. They've got another show booked in Nanjing for early April. No word on whether they played that song, but here's some photos from the show, which looks pretty packed. 

Zhu Lu He Feng now online

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zlhf.jpgOne of those 'no need to elaborate' kind of headlines really. Sonnet drummer Lezi has launched a website for his Zhu Lu He Feng collective. You know, this thing. Sonnet, Pinkberry, 21 Grams, Joker - these are the bands we're talking about here. It's early doors of course, but it's nicely done and unsurprisingly beats the shit out of the limited and still Chinese-only MAO Livehouse Shanghai site (Lezi's employers).

What else? Umm... it looks like Pinkberry's forthcoming CD will be called Go Boom.

Yeah, that's pretty much all I've got, but whatever, I already warned you that it was all in the title. And yet, I kept you hanging on until here for the link. Bastard. Click here.

Taking care of business

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deadelvis.jpgNothing substantial enough here for a full post, but a few things that are worth clicking on, haphazardly bundled together into the following few paragraphs. But before we get to that, go read this if you haven't done so already. Go on

Right then, FAF lead singer Xiao Ding Ding also does his own solo stuff on the side. He's put up a new track of late, so go check it out right here.

Speaking of new tracks, Pinkberry have stuck one up as well. Sort of, it's like a collaboration between Xiao You and rapper Tim Wu. Anyway, aparently the music is all recorded for the forthcoming Pinkberry EP now and they just need to lay down the vocals. Look out for that in the next month or so.

And speaking of forthcoming CDs, friends of the blog Stegosaurus? have set a date for their CD release. Mark your calendars for Saturday 17 and put 'Go to Yuyintang tonight' in big letters. As if that wasn't a big enough draw for you anyway, the boys have roped in a few friends who you might recognise: Dragon Pizza, Rainbow Danger Club and some band called Boys Climbing Ropes who I've never heard of.

A little nearer on the horizon, this weekend is the last of JUE. If you missed the last one... well holy shit Dead Elvis was a-fucking-mazing. Anyway, before it all ends you can catch Matthew Niederhauser at Dada's photography night on Wednesday night at 8pm. Whet your appetite with these photos right here and while you're on that esteemed site, feast your eyes and ears with MP3 Monday - 'best one ever'. Yes indeed. By the way, Dada are showing Spinal Tap tonight for the SubCinema night. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

Finally, competing for your attentions with the JUEness this weekend is a metal gig at Harley's. Sporadic they may be down there, but check out the line-up for this one: Chaos Mind, Six Shot, Fearless and La La Ying. See you there.

696 Livehouse is back

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696livebar.jpgRemember when 696 Livehouse opened down on Weihai Lu? Don't worry if you don't, it was a pretty short-lived residency. Opened under the Live Bar name in July, it was all over less than six months later. But now they're back.

Not quite as convenient as their last spot, the new venue is up in Hongkou, in the 188 Creative Park on Dongjiangwan Lu. I'm not going to lie to you, I haven't been up there to check it out yet, but it looks like a decent space from the photos they've got here. Pretty small would be my guess, but there's nowt wrong with that.

Already booked in for early next month is a Mini-E (that's the Miniless electronic spin off) showcase featuring your man Sun Ye, Confirm-X and all the lo-fi electronic acts you love.

In other venue news, Yuyintang are now saying that they're going to stay open in May, even as the event that shall not be mentioned draws near. In fact, they say that May and June are full in terms of bands - international and local acts. Good news right? Well, sort of. The plan is to put on a load of instrumental jazz acts, at least initially. You can't get in trouble when there are no lyrics - that's the thinking anyway.
P3180343.jpgSo The Thermals are pretty damn good. That's established, it's a given. Hedgehog are one of the Four Great Inventions to come out of China - them, Subs, gunpowder and something else. Seriously, look it up. Put them together and you've got a recipe for mayhem. Unless, of course, you put them on on a Thursday night and charge 100 kuai on the door. Then you've got a recipe for an occasional bit of jumping and moshing.

Apparently the B-Side Lovers and Thermals show in Beijing was half empty on Wednesday night and it wasn't much better here in Shanghai. It was an alright crowd, but not what either band deserved. What was that about Modern Sky? Wednesday night in Beijing, Thursday in Shanghai? At those prices?

Anyway, The Thermals were... fuckin' a, but this blog isn't about bands like them - there's plenty of better places to read about how good they are. We're here for the Chinese stuff, so how were Hedgehog with their new lineup? The truth is, if you shut your eyes, you wouldn't have known there was anything different. Atom was still incredible on the drums, Zo was on fire on the guitar and the new bassist held his own with them. Admittedly, they played essentially a greatest hits set and thus it was hard to tell where they'll go from here, but they nevertheless excelled with the classics.

The sound was good and the band was tight. Although I always felt the bassist was a bit of an unsung hero in the band, the attention has always naturally fallen on Zo (as the frontman) and Atom (due to her undeniable prowess on the drums), but it seems it will even more so now. Still, I'm looking forward to the new material and this was a strong showing, albeit on pretty safe ground. For those who knew the songs, it was a great set. For those who didn't, hopefully they won some new fans - bring on the new album.

Photos: DFG are cool

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p417423694.jpgUPDATE: Another new image here. It's freaky. Go look at it.

Check out these new photos of Duck Fight Goose. They'll be going on tour in May with fellow blog favourites Boojii (not surprising given the similarity of the line-ups), which is good news for anyone living outside Shanghai. Good news for us too really, as there are plans afoot to do a couple of gigs here as well. Another thing for you to file under "exciting" is the news that DFG are also planning an EP in the near future. Who can honestly say they're not looking forward to hearing that? In the meantime, whet your appetite by downloading the three tracks on the DFG page here, though if you can get those download links to work you're a better person than I.

On a side note, I finally managed to get my hands on Boojii's Reserved album and it's seriously good. Find it if you can.

Podcast SE02 Ep Six: Hedgehog Apart

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The end is nigh. This is episode six of series two and that means we're putting our feet up for a bit after this. We'll be back though, or will we...?

This week's pod looks like this: naturally there's a look back at the weekend's big shows including Local King 3 (featuring special guest star Jagermeister) and the Hell United one year anniversary. The chat bit comes in there as well, partly because there's so damn much going on this week we didn't have time for the usual ramblings in the middle. So yeah, after that it's straight into the previews, before we play you out with a bit of Hedgehog. Treasure this pod, it's the last for a while, possibly ever (one of us could die in a freak Jagermeister cocktail accident tomorrow y'know).

Click out the jams:

Local King 3
Hell United one year anniversary
All your individual band links are included in those posts and, frankly, I'm too lazy to write them all out here so just click those instead.

Julie Doiron & Cold Fairyland
Mod Dance Party (Friday at LOgO, with The Fever Machine and the Beat Bandits and all the Northern Soul hits you love)
A little different from the last video these. Check out these videos of Chaos Mind from the Hell United one year anniversary show - there's a whole bunch to go through. Then there's FAF doing 寄生虫 here and a rather special backstage version of the same song here courtesy of some hardcore fans.

This one on the right though is Six Shot. I'll update this post with videos of From the Red and October Capricorn if/when they emerge. For now though, why not put your feet up, give all these a click and relax to the soothing strains of some of the city's best metal bands...

Video: Manbanpai live at YYT

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So I was quizzing Andy a bit about Manbanpai on the pod last week. I quite like Hama's breezy solo acoustic pop and was intrigued as to how it worked with a band. Well, now you can check it out for yourself as she's put up a couple of videos from their performance at YYT. There's this one embedded her for Secret and then there's this one as well. Get on it.
octcap.jpgSo a big one up for Hell United. Congratulations guys. This is the regional metal collective formed by Shanghai's Chaos Mind and Six Shot together with Hangzhou's October Capricorn and Nanjing's From the Red. All four were on show on Saturday night and were supported by Forget and Forgive.

The turn out was a little disappointing. These shows are never going to draw massive crowds unfortunately, but the last few have been pretty busy and, especially as this was at MAO, the place seemed a little empty. Still, you know that whoever does show up to these gigs is going to be dedicated to the cause and so it proved with the numbers staying pretty much the same throughout the night (i.e. avoiding the usual 11pm drift away).

They saw FAF kick things off with their tight set of emo-pop. I say emo-pop, because Xiao Ding Ding's vocals at times are like those from a pop song (by which I mean he has a great singing voice) and that the tunes are catchy as fuck. In short, they're great. They're a really tight outfit now and have put together a strong set, which on Saturday featured a new track. The sound was good and the guy who plays keyboards and does all the screamy bits was on good form too. I remember Sam (Dust, the organiser of Hell United) telling me a few weeks ago that he knew FAF weren't really metal, but that he wanted them to play because they were just so damn good. He's right and, though I felt Saturday wasn't quite their strongest showing, they confirmed their status as one of the best new bands around at the moment.

kurt.jpgAn electronic tip of the hat in the direction of friend of the blog Stevo, who pointed us in the direction of Nathaniel Davis' playlist on Nathaniel is one of the guys behind Splitworks who, as you probably know, are putting on JUE Festival right about now.

Aaaanyway, one of the tracks he chose was by Kurt The Ripper, an electro artist who has a series of songs related to the various live music venues in Shanghai. You can listen to the YYT, MAO and Live Bar tracks by clicking right here.

The tracks form an album, Livehouse Serial Killer (anyone know how you can get your hands on it?), which is accompanied by the following blurb:

"It is said to be inspired by an unconfirmed news that a serial killer has been haunting about the livehouses in Shanghai, stalking and killing young girls after the gigs, especially those who prefer staying overnight in the McDonalds till dawn. At least 13 girls are missing now according to Seaborn Zhang, the archenemy of ShRock. Who will be the next victim?"

This is the original text from the Douban page for the album (here) and I'm guessing that "Seaborn Zhang" is what Google Translate does to Zhang Haisheng (founder of YYT).

Kind of weird, but I kind of like it. Go give it a listen. And yeah, if anyone knows how to get hold of the mp3s or whatever, please let us know in the comments. Ta.

Podcast SE02 Ep Five: Chaos Mind Scream

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So, technical cock up this week, the pod is intermittently buzzy. Believe me, it will annoy you. Don't let that stop you listening though because here's what we've got: reviews of a couple of last week's gigs, a chat about a certain festival going on in the next few weeks and of course a guide to where to get your rocks off this weekend.

Click and be happy:


The middle bit
JUE 2010 - official site
JUE preview + highlights on CNNGo

(Nanjing's) From the Red
Picture 1.jpgThe other day a good friend of mine celebrated his birthday. One of the presents he received was a copy of National Geographic. He was pretty excited about it. This wasn't just any old National Geographic, it was one with a big old article about this here city in it. Imagine that.

So anyway, I was flicking through, skim reading and looking at the pictures as is my want, when my eyes rested on a familiar name in the opening paragraphs: Sheng Jiahui. I decided to read a bit closer and there, opening National Geographic's article on Shanghai, is a piece all about, well, Sheng Jiahui (who you probably know as Sammy from Candy Shop) entering the 0093 rehearsal space. Ok, so the article is about how she's in a band which she's no longer in (Black Luna) and about them rehearsing in 0093 (which has now been shut down) and the whole article plays into the cheesy cliched East meets West thing, but still I thought it worthy of a mention and a link (right here).

I say I thought it worthy, I actually completely forgot about it again until SmartShanghai posted up a thing on it in The Wire, right here. Thanks SmartShanghai.

JUE is here

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hanggai.jpgUPDATE: Pete from has linked to his excellent preview in the comments. I recommend giving that one a read too. Check it out here. 

Despite posting previously about what a good weekend it was going to be for live music, I managed to miss all of the shows I listed in said post. Largely it was because I was busy organising and then recovering from this show. It's not often this blog strays into reggae/trip-hop territory, but I have to admit to being blown away by ChaCha's set. She is an incredible singer and is about to go on tour backed by DJ Drunk Monk. If they're in your neck of the woods go check them out, you won't regret it. You can hear more of her stuff here and also see the tour dates to see if she's coming your way.

Anyway, this weekend is big 'un as well. Yep, it's that time of year again - the JUE Festival is back. This time round Splitworks have gone even bigger taking in a whole bunch more acts and shows and venues and what not. It's kind of started already, but musically you're looking at Hanggai's show on Friday at Yuyintang as the real b-of-the-bang. And that's not a show to miss. Why? Because this is what happened last time.

The festival has gotten plenty of coverage in the local media and, while a lot of that coverage has been of the international acts coming in, this being Splitworks-organised means that we can expect plenty of local acts to be involved as well. In fact, they're taking blog favourites The Mushrooms up to Beijing for their first ever show in the capital as part of the festival.

The full schedule is here and one of the better write ups so far is here. It's on CNN-"mediocre bands"-Go, but it's by Ric Stockfis and features interviews with some other friends of the blog so go give it a butcher's. It also has a sneaky mention of a possible return for Yue Festival - the JUE precursor that rocked Zhongshan Park a few years back. That, hot on the heels of rumours that Shanghai might be getting it's own May holiday festival this year in the vein of Beijing's Strawberry and Midi or Chengdu's Zebra. Fingers crossed they don't get scuppered by that weird little blue thing.
ding maUPDATE: They've just announced a date in Nanjing as well - seems like they're deciding to play everywhere else following the ban in Shanghai. Time to hop on a train...

When you play in Hangzhou of course. Or at least that seems to be the case with Top Floor Circus. If you haven't been paying attention, here's a quick catch up:

Top Floor Circus play Shanghai Welcomes You at 0093's CD release, with new, direct lyrics

Top Floor Circus get called in for a cup of tea with the authorities

Top Floor Circus' Christmas show gets cancelled

Shanghai Welcomes You and all traces of it are wiped from the interwebs

Top Floor Circus get handed a six month performance ban

But now the band have announced a gig in Hangzhou. They'll play Traveller's Bar on the 27th of this month, more details here. Of course, this doesn't take away from the travesty that is their performance ban in Shanghai for voicing dissent against the Expo, but at least they're allowed to play somewhere. I wonder if they'll play Shanghai Welcomes You...

Podcast SE02 Ep Four: The Subs The Man

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So you can finally relax (Morgan), the pod is back. As always, we take a look back at recent gigs around town including Candy Shop and FAF's PeTA show and the Maybe Mars showcase at MAO Livehouse. We then have a chat about the growth of the scene and it's current status, before taking a look ahead to this weekend's live action.

The linkness:


The chat


Post-CNY malaise ends

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4082441910_447be9b72a.jpgYou've probably noticed that posts on this blog have dropped off a bit lately. There's a couple of reasons - one is that I've been insanely busy with other stuff, the other is that it was Chinese New Year recently and therefore the live music scene shut down for a couple of weeks. For the former, I'm afraid that's just going to happen and when it does, you need to go here. For the latter, it's well and truly over now as this weekend shows.

Things start on Thursday with Break for Borneo at YYT. That's got Gooda Boys, Mis.Whale! and Stegosaurus? too. Speaking of Stegosaurus?, Andy mentions that they're close to finishing a CD, so keep an eye out for that and go check out the demos that have been popping up on their Douban recently. If you like what you hear, things kick off at 9pm on Thursday and it's free entry so get on down there.

MAO Livehouse have got Taiwanese pop-rockers 1976 both Friday and Saturday nights, but if that's not your thing, Yuyintang have Big Qiang Dao on the Friday. That's Sonnet, Pinkberry, Manbanpai (Hama's new band) and Yinle. That one starts at 9pm and is 40RMB.

P2280128.jpgThis was the second Maybe Mars showcase in as many months and, according to Dan Shapiro's article here, they could become a regular thing in Shanghai, with the label looking to bring bands from their stable down here as often as once a month. Whether that will happen next month, given that a load of their bands are heading off to SXSW remains to be seen, but this showcase was a strong outing for them. At least in terms of the quality of the line up, it was.  

Birdstriking, not officially a Maybe Mars band but one working with the label, kicked things off. Their set started well, but tapered off a bit and they could do with thinking about the order of their set a bit more. They are essentially a mini version of Carsick Cars, playing very similar music and with a lead singer who even looks a bit like Shouwang. 

Guai Li were on second and played a solid set. Wen Jun was on typical female Iggy Pop-like form, swaggering around the stage and drinking constantly. It was a bit of a change of pace from the openers and their greater experience showed. Their use of a VJ to provide graphics in time with the music helped the whole thing as well.

Third were Carsick Cars, despite being the headliners on the flyers etc. They were on pretty good form, especially with the classics He Sheng, Mogu and Zhongnanhai and were joined on stage by mini-Shouwang for the chorus of You Can Listen, You Can Talk.

Finally, AV Okubo closed out the night with an upbeat set. I'm not sure they were quite at their best, but I like this band a lot and I'm pretty sure they will have won some new fans with their performance. Hopefully the album does well.

So that was the bands. But now a few moans.