A cage match of hardcore tropes twisted in on themselves, Beijing’s Struggle Session hasn’t so much injected the genre with fierce vitality as they have taken a wrecking ball to it – finding a new home within the rubble. Explosive self-deprecating wit, guttural screams, deadpan takedowns, razor blade guitars, irreverent topicality, and an overarching amity that’s as snug as the Tasmanian Devil, the band, made up of a motley crew of internationals in the China capital, may be anarchic in nature but they’ve been building bridges to a whole society of DIY misfits across the globe since their formation in 2016. There’s no greater evidence in this than the band’s newest release, Sudamérica Ruido y Amor, a tsunami of cutthroat, carnivalesque fastcore jams that treks the band’s epic tear across South America last summer. Hitting over 33 cities in 37 days (let that sink in), the band gives each city a shout-out the only way they know how – unhinged, full throttle lunacy that crams in-jokes, chance encounters and crystallized moments that will forever be engrained (sometimes quite literally in ink) in the band’s psyche. Speeding by in under ten minutes, songs swoop in with brutal force, pulverizing your senses with reckless glee as your brain tries to keep up with the chaos boiling over. It’s lighting in a bottle in the purest sense – a grand gesture of love to the communities of bands and music lovers we meet along the way.
Shenzhen hardcore outfit What A Beautiful Day bring some Cantonese flair to the high-impact genre on their debut released on RealDeal Records. While the spirit of hardcore reigns supreme throughout the twelve tracks, there’s a strong melodic streak to how the songs unfold with strong echoes of 90s emo that manage to instill a real sense of pathos. Therein lies What A Beautiful Day’s power – their ability to find raw strength and catharsis within the endless soul-searching and daily struggles – a exhilarating emo rock tour de force that pays as much tribute to Hong Kong legends King Lychee to Fugazi and Comeback Kid. A beautiful day indeed.
Full of winding twists and turns shrouded in endless mystery there’s a labyrinth quality to Run Run Run’s soundscapes that’s downright hypnotic. The brainchild of Guizhou-raised Beijing-based Xiao Dou, Run Run Run fuses together vivid minimal chord odysseys (reminiscent of The Velvet Underground), the grass-fed pop finesse of 1970s, and the lingering psychedelic malice of that era, implanting these ideas into the chilly mountains, humid jungles, and underground caves of southern China, where mellowed-out grooves and layers of freewheeling guitar dissonance can easily sweep you away. Like a living and breathing cavern, Run Run Run engulfs you in an embryonic sound that’s utterly ‘in the moment’, guiding listeners through undiscovered and wondrous new musical terrain.