2013 Top Bands


Part Two of LBM\’s Big Ass 2013 Roundup, it\’s time to take a look at which bands have been perking my interest year round. Going to do this a little different from last year as not too much has changed – pretty much every band I mentioned last year still gets love from me – Residence A, Perpetual Motion Machine, WHAI, Buyi, Skip Skip Ben Ben – they’re still taking it to the bank (well except The Planets who bailed on us early this year) and I’ll be sure to mention them below. Instead, this year I\’m going to spread the love to some new bands. Take a look below.

3 Best Newcomers

The Dyne


The surf rock cowboys hooked me hard in Shanghai, and haven’t let up a bit since – these two are straight up titillating – wrapped up in steamy dirty motel sex with an unshakeable badassness, it’s straight up hypnotizing. Serious moves, even if their third member is a second generation iPod.

The Big Wave


A band fully committed to their sound, to their aesthetic; aware of what they’re riffing but completely repackaging it in ways that make me what to hit up prom circa 1987. Heck, these guys even have music videos to accompany each of their shows. When was the last time you saw that? Again, commitment – it goes a long way, and The Big Wave know what they going for, and simply get at it.

 The Diders


I’ve only filmed new age punks The Diders once, but they packed such a wallop, that I knew I had witnessed a band ready to rocket to the top. Or go out in a blaze of glory. Either way, the scrappy trio will go down in history as one of the bands who gave it their all, and one of the few who understood how to interact with the audience. Fireworks people.


3 Band To Keep A Eye Out For



I’m not quite sure Beijing is ready for CNdY – their party rock house-infused electronic music is all adrenaline with no real comedown. And though this doesn’t exactly translate well to most of the city’s concert-going public, there’s something there. And after listening to their most recent release Hi-Fi, I expect big things out of these three in the future.

Dr. Liu


Yes, the full name is Dr. Liu & The Human Centipede and yes, that’s a terrible name. And yes, I’m not really not sure how serious these guys take themselves but heck, they were a welcome shot of tequila to the face – hardcore punk that holds back nothing and most importantly, is loads of fun. No half-assing here, just volatile, energetic, melodic, dare I say clever music whose sharp edges carry a playfulness about them.



A band that barely played the past year – in what way do they deserve any recognition? Well, hear me out. While Cassette hasn’t been impressing on stage, they’ve been steadily working behind the scenes on their upcoming album – and so far it’s sounding pretty incredible – like a funkier version of WHAI, with shit tons more sex appeal. They released four trippy concept videos this year, all shot on a decked out soundstage with visuals plastered over everything. Whether or not Cassette can transfer their ‘big’ sound to a live setting remains to be seen, but I have high hope for these guys.


Three Bands I Came Around To



There’s something dangerous about Snapline’s music that one can’t shake off some easily – it digs its way under your skin. It’s a geek’s post-punk-dream, a punk’s geek-nightmare, whatever it is, it ain’t safe. It’s subtle, strange, and at times, completely off-putting. They’re on their own wavelength and that, my friends, is a huge step for any band in China.

Streets Kill Strange Animals


Streets Kill Strange Animals has been scurrying under the radar of just about everyone for some time mainly because they’re a hard band to pin down – post punk, indie rock, ‘future shock’ as others have noted – one thing is for sure – they dig into their songs with relish, injecting a playfulness that’s not afraid to up the tension, change course, or cut loose – they’re like a Xanaxed angrier version of the Talking Heads.



As I mentioned before, some bands have no idea how to interact with the audience – well, Bedstars know a thing or two about what we audiences want. No holds barrel rock and roll that spits, snarls, and falls flat on its face if need be. While a band could easily come across as lazy for that, Bedstars have taken command of their sound this year, churning out some of the most righteous fun tunes.


Updates on Last Year’s Top Dogs 

–      Residence A continues to expand their sound into rave rock territory and while it doesn’t have that firecracker appeal of their earlier work, it certainly captures the emotional highs of ‘Farewell To Spring’ – these guys are gonna be huge

–      Perpetual Motion Machine released a stellar album early this year but haven’t been playing the circuit too much – someone get these kids back at it

–      Deadly Cradle Death blew me away when I caught them again in September but have been pretty much MIA since then – a shame, as their sound is really what is all the rage is back West and believe me, if they hit up SXSW this year they will murder

–      Buyi lost a member, yet prospered forward, releasing a pretty solid album – really they can’t do wrong

–      white + is reaching for the sky musically and it’s been glorious

–       WHAI have pretty much cemented themselves as one the city’s best live acts (the silk screen was a inspired touch) – love them even more this year

–      Alpine Decline had a kid – nough’ said

–      Birdstriking came teasing their return, and if they stick together this time, then 2014 will indeed be a good year

–      Low Bow has probably more chemistry on stage than any other band – it’s like two uncles yelling at each other

–      Skip Skip Ben Ben had a release that was acclaimed yet lost in the year-end shuffle, and this year saw them getting louder and louder – bring it!

–      Li Dong – miss you guys! More please!

–      Hanggai – unstoppable; two EPs releases in the past couple months so expect big things this year

–      Rolling Bowling – I binged hard on them this year and they deserve all the love they can get

–      Hedgehog are being smart and not playing too often – I didn’t even catch them this year, damn

–      Tengger Cavalry has a ton of releases under their belt but unfortunately had their thunder somewhat stolen by the other pagan metal band Nine Treasures who went on to Wacken Festival in Germany (ow!)

–      Glow Curve released an well received album and are only getting better live

–      Nova Heart has given up on China I’m suspecting and is winning over hearts on the Europe circuit; expecting good things out of them this year (better late than never)

–      thruoutin is getting shit done left and right and is slowly becoming quite the songwriter


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