Bennu is a Heron – Hate/Love
Emotions are high and volatile on the wildly riotous debut album from Guangzhou based Bennu is a Heron. Taking the framework of emo and injecting in with the fierce precision of hardcore music, power violence and screamo, the band which features a many of the Guangzhou underground scene including members of such bands like Die!Chiwawa!Die!, Shameless, and King Lychee, is a fury of entangled emotions that break through like a compound fracture jetting out of your forearm. Shifting between hope, despair, love, and hate, it’s messy, it’s brash, and hits a raw nerve.
Zuho – sharp, sharp
A meditation on the power of music and how it comes to ‘soundtrack’ our lives, Zuho, the Shanghai based producer/musician finds sublimity in those moments, big and small, and gives it a musical score. Using and manipulating everything from a saxophone to a melodica, too even his voice, Zuho takes listeners on a fanciful and transcendent journey – experimental in nature but lush in its stylish flourishes – touching upon jazz, ambient electronica, and classical music, recalling everything from the soundtrack work of Jon Brion and Terence Blanchard to the innocent beauty of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and even the textural ingenuity of artists like Youth Lagoon. Mesmerizing stuff.
Dummy Toys – Not a Puppet
No fuss, no gimmicks, no pretentious – Qingdao’s Dummy Toys come out swinging on their charged debut Not A Puppet. The all-girl power punk band take down all who stand in their way – double standards, domestic drudgery, harassment, our diseased society and all the ‘blessed and desperate things’ in between. It’s this emotional, impassioned through-line that elevates the heightened old school street punk bombast of the band’s sound and their search for salvation whilst musically having a killer good time. Punk music with teeth and a gleam in its eye, Dummy Toys is punk done right.
Brizzli – Forecast
Italian born and Shanghai based multi-instrumentalist and producer Alessandro Pavanello finds tranquility within the intersection of dance music and ambience on Forecast, out on Ran Music,, creating an album full of lush, dense arrangements whose house vibes run deep. Using drum machines, guitars, and synthesizers to both richly detail his atmospheric soundscapes and to keep the momentum flowing, there’s an organic edge to the grooves on hand, both in the live instrumentation and the cosmic and earth-bound textures that emanate from each track. It’s hypnotic and almost blunt in its seduction, the kind of club music that’s tailor made for a festival deep within the forest or jungle.