Xi’an continues to show its worth – proving to be a city full of musical opportunity for up and coming bands such as Young & Dumb, the five-piece city pop outfit that perfectly captures the fleeting and highly charged emotions of growing up on their magnificent debut. Led by the dynamic and commanding, both gentle and affirming voice of Li Yimeng, and dipping their toes into everything from psychedelic rock to shoegaze, they pack a hell of a punch with their sound, bringing emotional gravitas to both their lyrics and instrumental arrangements. Indie rock bliss, and a band that’s surely going to be making a lot of noise in the next year.
Wang Ziheng, one of the more active free improv, noise, and psychedelic musicians in Beijing’s underground music scene lays it all out there on We, The Fire Are One out on WV Sorcerer Productions. With an affinity for Kaoru Abe and John Coltrane, Zheng loves nothing more than to hurl himself into a performance, whether through his tenor saxophone or his voice. Tortured, enraged, bold and full of passion, the musician turns the space around him into a battlefield, using silence and sound to paint a illuminating picture. As Li Yang (of fellow noise group Scattered Purgatory) states – “Imagine if we use the shooting method of Masao Adachi’s ‘A.K.A. Serial Killer’ to paint shan shui, the soundtrack will be this album.”
Made up of some of Shanghai’s longest functioning musicians (i.e The Horde, Fever Machine, and Friend or Foe) comes Parachutes on Fire, a folk psych outfit who feel right at home on their aviation-themed debut release Aerodynamics. Light as a feather, while lush in details and fat grooves, they capture ever so gracefully the sounds and spirit of such classic bands like The Grateful Dead, albeit with their own spin a la Cake. The knowing whimsical lyricism, the daft melodic scalpel they take to each tune, and the psychedelic grooves that slowly emerges from the whole, it’s a satisfying addition to Shanghai’s music scene.