Wang Wen 惘闻 – One Hundred Thousand Whys 十万个为什么
Seminal post rock band Wang Wen, out of Dalian, return with their 11th studio LP, One Hundred Thousand Whys, which contains some of the outfit’s most beautifully rendered compositions, and some of their most agile. While the band’s signature touch and deft musicianship are very much present, the band feels more at ease exploring other realms throughout the album’s eight tracks, finding room for warm Spanish hues, surf, glitch electronica, and 70s progrock synths. As always, the way the band weaves in and out of these distinct styles and layers while sticking an overarching theme is mesmerizing on its own, particularly on the standout track ‘Dare Where To Ask’ – which kicks off with a supple flute-led melody before turning the adrenaline up and building into a taut John Murphy-esque score before finally crashing down into a synth-heavy prog metal climax. It may not have the bombast of the earlier albums, but the pioneering post rock spirit is stronger than ever with Wang Wen.
SMZB 生命之饼 – Once Upon A Time In The East 生命之饼
Wuhan punk rock legends SMZB return with their latest – Once Upon A Time In The East – and it’s clear the band, known for their politically charged anthems, are not holding back. With two versions floating around online (a censored and uncensored version) with the album cover blurred in many instances, the band’s commitment to social responsibility and their combative pride remains as potent as ever. Leaning into their bagpipe-led Celtic-punk stylings whilst finding solace in China’s musical past (most notable in their take on Classical Chinese poem ‘Man Jiang Hong’ and Lo Ta-yu’s late 1980s hit single “A Pearl in the Orient,” which three decades later still resonates deeply with Hong Kongers), the band touches on everything from to polluted rivers to atrocities both past and current with the same reflective and rebellious spirit.
MUTI – Dahlia
Beijing-based South African duo Muti swing for the fences on their debut Dahlia, a big brazen indie rock album with a slick pop sensibility threading through the whole thing. While not afraid to turn up the noise or lean into a thick guitar riff or a decadent and dangerously alluring drum beat, what makes the pair really stand are their innovative and often times incestuous relationship with pop music – from EDM breakdowns and irresistible pop rock choruses to acoustic clap-along crowd pleasers – almost an shameless encapsulation of the Western indie music over the past two decades. You might feel a bit guilty for enjoying it, but there’s not denying the craft behind Muti.
ReJianBeiShaShou 热键被杀手 – 我最珍贵的
Noise rock daydreamers ReJianBeiShaShou bring raw angst and sensitivity to their vigorous new EP, 我最珍贵的, out on Maybe Mars Records. The young Xiamen band are in fine form, turning growing pains and adolescent dread into a swirl of guitar reverb, rising synths, and impassioned vocals. Noise pop with an emo heart, post punk that’s still spry – whatever the case, ReJianBeiShaShou wear their hearts on their sleeves, sincerity jumping into the chaotic sea of emotions that comes with being growing up too fast.