Sense Print Shop 涂闻打印店, Daydream Secrets 白日密语, Zoogazer 动物园钉子户 – Modernsky Lab 2021.12.23
It’s been a fine year for Shengjian Records. The label seems to have transformed itself over the past year into the defining go-to-label for indie pop in China- everything from The 尺口MP’s debut to Jo’s Moving Day has been top of the line stuff. They seem to have an eye for building up bands with word-of-mouth and sly marketing – all done with a deft personable touch. Said personable touch was there last Thursday night at Modernsky Lab where the label held their annual Tropical Christmas showcase – decking out the stage in palm trees and having mulled wine on hand to help folks get into the spirit.
The evening kicked off with a set from Sense Print Club, a band I’ve been dying to check out since their debut with SJ Records earlier this year. Offering ample amounts of jangly dream pop that feels like it could have emerged from the UK in the late 80s or early 90s, the Kunming band hits a very different indie pop groove that I’m all for. Sardonic and tender all at once, its icy new wave sound just kept afloat by its brisk catchy melodies and simmering fireside warmth, it’s not too far off for the vibe David Lynch was shooting for on Twin Peaks. They may wear their influences on their sleeves but damn is it a hell of a good time. And A-OK is simply one of my favorite tracks of the year.
The same could be said about Daydream Secrets, the Chengdu Britpop juggernauts. I had the same reaction I had to them three years prior – this is not for me but holy shit do they know how to entertain the crowd. From their bellowing of ‘Gentle Stranger’ which had the crowd brimming in ecstasy to their late set Technicolor rendition of ‘Moscato’ it was clear these cats were audience favorites. Too bombastic for my taste but have to give credit to Daydream Secrets where it’s due – they’re entertainers through and through.
Jiangsu’s Zoogazer meanwhile is a band I’ve had a soft spot for since their delectable debut back in 2018 (perhaps my favorite release that year). Since then they’ve softened their edges, pushing further into warm-hued city pop that relies on its synth-powered jubilation, but I keep coming back to the richly layered arrangements that glisten with youthful vigor and deft musicianship.
A fine way indeed to break in the holiday weekend.