October 2010 Archives

More Top Floor Circus

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p508905422.jpgAlright, so you should be keeping an eye on Top Floor Circus at the moment. As we all gear up to say goodbye to Haibao, Ding Ma are releasing a fair bit of new material - hopefully with a view to a gig in Shanghai after far too long without one. The latest track to go up is 'A White Collar Song'. It's the top one on their Douban and is available for download for free.

It's almost nu-metal-like in places and features a sample from the Shanghai TV show 新老娘舅

Here's the lyrics:
go6.jpgRemember a while back I wrote about Open Goat, a noise experiment that Ho-Tom the Conqueror was helping to organise? I went and it was great fun. For those of you who didn't go, and even for those who did, if you're wondering what a bunch of people turning up and making random noise sounds like, you can check it out on Soundcloud by clicking right here. I think the bad Chinese recorder-like thing playing, the shaking of keys and the dropping of coins (if you can pick all that out) is mine. The bits that sound good are other peoples. Anyway, check it out, parts of it are surprisingly melodious - reminds me a bit of that Beta Band track 'Monolith', but maybe that's just me.

This picture is stolen from Shanghai Monthly incidentally.

Nice footage, shame about the cliches...
p508905385.jpgDing Ma have made the 'second bomb from the new album', a track called '快递员' (Kuaidi Yuan) available for free download on the Douban. Get on it. If you want to sing along, here's the lyrics. Also available is the 'first bomb', '上海童年' (Shanghai Tong Nian). That track actually went up earlier in the week, but for has now been replaced by an even longer, slightly rejigged version.

They've also opened up a couple of older tracks for free download as well. I think you have to be signed in to Douban to download stuff from there, but it's pretty straightforward to sign up, even if you don't read Chinese, and this is a good reason to join the site. 

If you're not sure, here's how it goes: click on this button 加入我们注册
The top field is your e-mail address, the second is to create a password, the third is a username and the last one is one of those verification test things obviously. I think that's pretty much it, but if anything's unclear, leave a question in the comments here and I'll try and help.

But yeah, download, enjoy and hope that all this activity from the band means that the new Top Floor Circus album is on its way soon.

Pangbianr filmxmusic project

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pbr_filmxmusic.jpgAndy wrote a while back about the excellent pangbianr site up in Beijing and hopefully you've been keeping an eye on what they're doing over there. Not only have they put out a record (Hot & Cold's new one) and organised a load of events, but now they've got a project on Kickstarter. It sounds really interesting, but you're better off reading it straight from the source than reading me trying to summarise it, so go here and support it. 
e312859.jpgNo promotional problems here. Despite going up against a whole bunch of other high profile events such as the JZ Festival in Century Park and the opening night of Shanghai Pride, the Shapiro publicity machine did its job and pulled in a big crowd for four of the city's best bands last night.

Rainbow Danger Club kicked things off with a great set. Jesse from the band was kind enough to send me a couple of mp3s the other day of demos from the CD they're currently working on and I've had them on repeat ever since. They're a quality band with a great sound and I can't wait to hear the CD when it comes out.

The Instigation were on next and caused the biggest ruckus of the night with their shouty punk. Singer Simon sang from in front of the speakers rather than on stage, marching up and down at the front of the crowd and occasionally getting drawn into the group of people throwing themselves around like crazy. It was a good show.

The Fever Machine took to the stage after them and produced the solid rawk display that you'd expect. Again it was a performance from a band of quality musicians on a night full of them. The band had a couple of new tracks added in to their repertoire and they're another act who are hopefully thinking of laying down a CD soon. In the meantime, you can listen to, and download, some of their tracks here.

Duck Fight Goose were last on and, despite it being 1am by the time they took to the stage, a big crowd stuck around to watch them. They weren't disappointed. The band have received a lot of hype in the local media in recent months and with good reason: they are fucking brilliant. The only worry is that they're going to run out of room on the YYT stage to put all their pedals and effects gadgets - every time they've added something new (last night it was this white, iPad-like box with a glowing red screen, not sure what that was). Their CD should be out next month and to say that I'm excited about it doesn't even come close.

All in all, a great night with four top notch bands.

Make some noise

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You've not forgotten about Open Goat have you? It's today at 3pm. More info here and interviews here and here. But basically, the information you need is on this rather lovely picture right here. Read it then bring the noise.

Hard NOTCH life

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tumblr_kx7lmgrJNu1qakvjto3_400.jpgYou've probably not noticed, but this week has seen a bunch of NOTCH events going on in Shanghai. NOTCH is the Nordic + China festival or art, music and other creative stuff that's been happening in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou since 2006. They were the ones who did those gigs in the greenhouse with Neocha a few years back. Generally what happens is, they bring in some acts from the Nordic countries and pair them with local bands for some pretty decent gigs. As I say, this year was their fifth time doing this, so it's not just another Expo bit on the side event.

Why do I mention all this? Well it's been a bit of a mess. On Wednesday, they brought over electronic pop princess Annie. She's pretty well known and has an accessible sound that audiences in China would get into andit should have been a pretty big deal. Except there was no publicity. We ran an interview with her in the magazine because we happened to find out she was coming, but otherwise there was hardly any promotion done at all.

Unsurprisingly then, hardly anyone showed up on Wednesday night. Worse, most of those who did show up missed Annie's performance. She was the only act on that night - there were no support bands or artists, meaning there was no CH part of the event at all. Not only that, but she went on at 8.30pm. Most people (logically) had assumed the doors were at 9pm and that the headliner wouldn't be on for a while after that - pretty standard for gigs here. Anyone who turned up at 9.30pm, caught the end of the last song.

So what happened? Annie and the band were, understandably, pretty pissed off about the whole thing. The NOTCH people too, were not best pleased apparently, pointing the finger at MAO Livehouse for not promoting the event properly. MAO Livehouse, in turn, are unimpressed with how the organiser (apparently different to the one used in previous years) has handled the whole thing and blamed them for the lack of publicity. 

It all seems a bit of a shame, with the upshot of all these recriminations being that NOTCH are pulling the show scheduled at MAO for Saturday and neither party are keen to work with the other again.


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Picture 1.pngHey guy, you are big time alright. That's the name of Little Punk's debut solo album in case you were wondering. It's produced by the fine folks at Qu Records and you can read more about the whole process right here. Open that link in one window and then click on this link so you can listen to and download (for free!) the album at the same time. Go on, do it.

Friend or Foe on the Douban

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I wrote a while back about Friend or Foe, a new band in Shanghai that I like. At the time they didn't have a Douban so I couldn't link to it, but they do now so I can. Here. No tracks yet, but give them time. They do have some pictures and a video, embedded here, of one of their songs, 'Double Down'. Give it a click.

Live Bar is back from the dead

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P5160191.jpgLive Bar, formerly housed in an old chemical factory up in Yangpu district, closed back in May due to the continuing gentrification of Kunming Lu and its surrounding areas. I first wrote about the closure here and then wrote up the last gig here. For a while, Live Bar 696 (itself closed and then reopened in the north of the city) took on the mantle of breeding ground for Shanghai's student bands and more experimental shows, but now the original Live Bar is back.

The new location is at 800 Guoshun Dong Lu, near the Wujiaochang area of town (close to where 2046 is if you know the record shop). That should see them tap into the considerable student population up there, being a few minutes walk from Fudan's main campus. I haven't been up there to check it out yet and there haven't actually been any shows there yet, but I'll keep an eye out for any forthcoming gig information...

Despite still being unable to play in Shanghai, Top Floor Circus played at the Snow Mountain Festival near Lijiang in Yunnan province over the holiday period. Here's how the first part of their set went down, looks a bit wet.
brett.jpgLast night the Zhijiang Dream Factory hosted a show by Brett Anderson (him out of Suede) who, despite disappearing off most people's music radars years ago, is rather big in China. So big that presale tickets sold out within about a week of going on sale. It goes back to Suede being one of the first indie rock bands to play here many moons ago at the Modern Sky Festival. 

Anyway, I wasn't there last night, but it seems there was a bit of trouble. According to a few notes and posts on Douban, the electrics went about three songs into the show. There was apparently a 20 minute wait while attempts to fix the equipment were made before someone from the Dream Factory took to the stage and asked people to wait another 15 minutes. Half an hour later there was still no solution. To his credit, it seems as if Anderson played half a dozen acoustic songs instead (though not a single Suede track) before the whole show was abandoned and people understandably got pretty angry - some apparently refusing to leave. Tickets are now being refunded (you have to go to the Dream Factory in person before the 10th) meaning that either the Dream Factory or Modern Sky or both will have taken a big hit on this. 

Was anyone there and would like to tell us what actually happened in the comments? This is rather vaguely pieced together from various posts and threads that I've found on Douban and I'm happy to be proven wrong on any or all of the above points. 

Changjiang Midi Festival

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john 060.jpgjohn 091.jpg

It was a bit muddy

A bit of Beijing news

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If you follow the various blogs that keep track of the Beijing scene (this one, this one, this one and this one for starters), you'll probably know all this already, but here's a few things that are going on up north that might interest you if you're a southern fairy:

Hedgehog have been in the studio for a few months now recording album number four, with a working title of Honeyed and Killed. It should be out before the end of the year. They've just launched a new blog too, get on that right here.

Apparently Helen's left Pet Conspiracy. Did we know that already? Probably. Anyway, she left a while back after falling off the stage at Strawberry and injuring herself (before being treated shoddily by the organisers), but has decided to make the split permanent. She'll be focusing on Free the Birds stuff instead.

Queen Sea Big Shark's second album, Wave, is finally ready to see the light of day after numerous delays. It'll be out up north at the end of this month, while the band will be down in Shanghai early November for a release party at MAO Livehouse. In the meantime, a teaser for the LP has been released (helpfully embedded here), featuring a cat typing on a keyboard. Yep. 

Oh, and if this has been covered in more detail on the Beijing blogs, feel free to fill the comments section with "that's old news man, here's what I wrote ages ago"-type links.

'God Save the Expo'

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Today is not only National Day (hooray for over zealous nationalism!), but it also marks the start of the last month of Expo. As mentioned here and in the comments of this post, Andy is planning a big write up of the Expo and it's impact on the local music scene once the event is over. In the meantime, to mark National Day and the (near) end of Expo, local punk band 77 have made this track available exclusively to Kungfuology (well alright, it got harmonised within five minutes on Douban so I said I'd put it up). Hit play above to hear it, right click to here to download it and make sure you hit up the band's Douban page here