New Music: Happy Wheel, Whale Wave, Joy Ginger

Happy Wheel 海皮威尔 – PFDP 

While Wuhan’s Happy Wheel has always found solace in the intersection of electronic music and rock, they seem to be veering even further away from their bright and spunky foundations and instead have gone off the deep end, indulging in a heavier psychedelic prog rock mindset for their newest instrumental EP PFDP (which comes out just months after 太子). Keeping their cool, the band splashes drug-fueled layers of old-school psychedelic rock, baroque progressive rock, and even head-swerving psytrance, that calls to mind everyone from Pink Floyd to Frank Zappa. It’s a strange brew that the quartet have cooked up – one that pays off in the end as haze-filled jams sessions reach encaustic release by the seven-minute mark. Happy Wheel have carved out a new future for themselves and I’m mighty curious to see where they steer the party to next. 




Whale Wave 鲸浪 – Beep 

Though only together less than a year, Guangzhou’s Whale Wave prove themselves worthy with their robust and finely tuned debut EP entitled Beep. Full of retro-graded melancholic-inflicted indie rock tunes full of woozy guitars and pensive lyrics, they’re a fine addition to the ever-growing Guangzhou scene. And while it may not have the breezy playfulness that southern China is known for or the bite needed to help them bridge over to indie rock’s more rambunctious fans, but there’s an assured melodic earnestness that the band keeps a firm grip on through the EP’s five tracks. It’s indie rock that’s not afraid to swoon, inject a little blues swagger and lean into its softer Britpop edges.   




Joy Ginger – Love is Medicine 

Joy Ginger, who’s been slowly building the fanbase with a catalogue of airborne, suave, and sultry R&B laced future pop numbers, goes all in on the delightfully fluid Love is Medicine – the Beijing producer’s latest collaboration with Babel Records. Expanding beyond his penchant for dancefloor-ready tunes, the producer seems to be having a ball, roaming through bass-heavy bangers and eschewed industrial chop-shop sounds with gusto, displaying a keen command of atmosphere and texture. It’s here that Joy Ginger shines, though in case anyone was worried he was leaving behind his knack for devilishly poppy hits, fear not, his collaboration with Australian rapper PRINCI is one for the summer charts. Firing on all cylinders we are. 



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