As the year winds down – I’ll be digging a little deeper, searching for gems that may have went unnoticed during their initial releases. Lots of douban investigating, lots of bandcamp blackholes. With that in mind let’s check out new music from Shenzhen, Zhangjiajie, Shanghai, and Lijiang. Here’s your weekly releases with Friendly Cannons, Muggle, Future Gaze, and Liang Yiyuan.
Beijing-based post rock label 1724 Records continues shining a spotlight on China’s budding post rock talent with the self-titled debut from Zhangjiajie’s Muggle. And that’s pretty much all that’s known about them. But what a wonderful debut it is, using the genre as a jumping off point for exploring paths less often taken. Electronic sampling is prevalent throughout, infusing the tracks with an almost dancehall melodic drive, and allowing each of the songs to evolve in innovative and intriguing ways. Just listen to the grind and buzz that turns ‘Sea to Sky’ into a clubhall mix, or how the vocals slowly transform ‘Lotus Valley’ into an existential hip hop track. In a time where post rock has become so repetitive and characterless, it’s amazing to see a group trying to inject into the genre. Grab Muggle over at 1724’s bandcamp.
Self-described as a ‘cute-canto-surf-punk outfit’, Friendly Cannons, out of everyone’s favorite border jumping city, Shenzhen, present their eclectic, playful, and trilingual sound on their debut EP, Jenz. The band made up of an assortment of characters, both local and international, takes twee pop and gives it a global makeover – from the way the trumpets lead the chorus on ‘Ol’ Grampy Turtle’ to the way the backing vocals add a dream like haze to ‘Thailand is Sandman’ – the band breaks expectations with its unconventional blend of busting punk and cute, poppy disposition. Digging – grab it for free over at their bandcamp.
Lijiang-based experimental artist Liang Yiyuan returns with another minimalistic instrumental piece in The Vexation of Spirit and More, a collection of guitar-based, drone-filled, electronically tempered works which fits right in with the artist’s dedication to the exploration of sound and silence, meditation, and the almost mystical relationship within. Bare soundscapes yet nevertheless rich with atmosphere, in many ways, Liang Yiyuan’s music acts as meditation music for anyone who’s constantly being bombarded by noise and chaos in their daily lives. Give it a listen over at bandcamp and xiami.
There’s a new Shanghai super group and boy, do they sound tasty. Future Gaze, consisting of powerhouse vocalist Sharon Q, formerly of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Nonplus of Color drummer Daniel Nagels, and Clem from Acid Pony Club on the electronic composing – is a sonic bombardment of adrenaline. Dubbed as ‘dubstep pop with epic synthesizers’ their sound, which can be hear on their first EP, simply EP01, is indeed epic – a hybrid of sounds and genres turned into a symphony of blaring new wave electro rock that’s seems tailored made for the stage. Just try not shaking your head with the bass up on these two tracks. Expecting good things from these cats in the near future. Jump into the EP over on their bandcamp.