Unlike many world music bands in China, who find their ethnic roots over time finding ways to utilize it in their sound, the members of Manhu are the real deal – genuine Sani ethnic artists from Yunnan who live and breathe the sounds of their home. As a result, the Yunnan Yizu rock and rollers – whose lively melodies and crackerjack instrumentation manage to find fresh ways to spin the traditional sounds of Yi culture – are able to produce and craft their songs on a looser and more sincere framework – one’s that ‘free of contradiction’. A fine showcase for Yizu music and better yet, a breezy, rich album that you may find yourself spinning, again and again, this heated summer.
Indie pop continues to find cozy comfort in the coastal beach vibes of Xiamen with Kirin Trio – the trio whose members include vocalist Zhuang Jing, guitarist Chen Zhenchao (of White Tulips and Cheesemind fame), and drummer Huang Da, settle nicely into their surroundings, offering crunchy surf-rock tunes that sizzle like a can of soda pop. While there are moments where the band seems to be invoking Cantopop’s past for inspiration, there’s a lot more going on under the hood, as the band begins to call to mind 90s alternative rock, whose stylings could never be pinned down and who didn’t bat an eye at throwing in a funk bass line or a swelling guitar solo. Pop music tailor-made for the sand.
Beijing’s Wasted Laika defies the odds on their scrappy yet tightly wound debut EP which finds the band forging their own path between punk and indie rock. There’s a more fleshed out melodic-edge to the band – one that’s steeped in post-punk theatrics and lyricism (you can definitely feel the influence of Russian literature), more so than swift and razor-bladed punk intensity. Nevertheless, there’s a momentum to the emotions at hand, heard through the tone of the guitar within the rousing rhythms alongside the resilient vocals that injects a revolutionary spirit to the album as whole and hints at a bright future for the young lads.