Former Xiamen duo, now Shanghai quartet PeachIllusion, whose debut EP last year was one of our absolute favorites, return with a full liter of their fizzy indie-pop on their debut LP 100%. Fueled by sparkling youthful energy, an old school Cantopop swagger, and a high-hued sense of sound design that’s sourced directly from the beach, there’s a lot to love with what the band has assembled here. It’s a wanderlust summer album that’s earnest in its lovesick ways – finding sweetness and lyrical richness in the everyday trials of being young at heart, with plenty of sun-blenched jangly pop riffs and fading skyline synths to help keep your chin up and your (just maybe naive) spirits high.
After emerging from out of the ether earlier this year with the remarkably detailed and properly offbeat SHAN SHUI, Wuhan based indie-electronic producer Night Swimmer returns with a second hit of vaporware-tinged analog synth nostalgia – evoking a long-forgotten cinematic experience, particularly one viewed late night on cable television after hours. Following the trajectory of a film shooting (a tribute to the surreal world of David Lynch), the album mirrors a more fluid arc, albeit one washed in a haze of lo-fi home videos, 80s film logos, arcade galleries, and the static electricity your Zenith tube would give off. It’s a haunting and transfixing soundtrack to an evocative dream that teeters on the edge of turning into a full-blown nightmare – a state of deep sleep that keeps flipping the channel. A hell of a ride.
Bouncing between buoyant arrangements of the Blondie, the moody temperament of The Cure, and the post punk relentlessness of Savages, the all-female outfit Sonicave, who hail from Chengdu, mean business on their debut. With a heavy-handed retro Gothic rock aesthetic (with just a flickering of neo-folk mystique) there’s a calm cold exterior to the way the band cautiously explore the maddening numbness and insanity of our society’s psyche – a facade that cracks gradually throughout the album giving way to the band not holding back and gleefully jumping into the frying pan. And while the band’s demeanor and prose doesn’t always artistically match the turmoil swirling beneath the lyrics, Sonicave aren’t afraid to plunge the knife deep in.