New Releases: Friend or Foe, Shochu Legion, Fast Son, Twinkle Star


The floodgates have opened folks – there’s no stopping these releases from getting out. All that’s left to do is to throw them right back your way for your listening pleasure. Enjoy the latest from Shanghai rockers Friend or Foe, punk outfit Shochu Legion, emo group Twinkle Star, and one man blues noise punkster Fast Son.

It’s only appropriate that the latest work from Friend or Foe, entitled Deviant Desires, sounds like it was recorded on a porn shoot. The Shanghai party rock trio has always fused musical genres together with reckless glee, but never before has the funk been piled on so heavily. Centered loosely around the ‘adventures of a misguided antihero’ who gives in to all the worlds’ vices before finding redemption (well if a Japanese sex doll equates redemption), the twelve track album is a bit much to take in at once – not every song hits and often there is simply just to much going on – however, when the stars align what you get are some extremely catchy singles with killer melodies – just try not singing along with ‘Lockdown’ ridiculous rendering of the word ‘key’ or start a hoedown to the sermon that is ‘Discount Salvation’, or the hilarious, even heartfelt, ‘2D Love’ – it’s a strange concoction that’s just too difficult to resist sometimes. Pick it up here in the next few days and for you Shangnaiese, catch the album release at Yuyintang this Friday.


One of frequent acts of Beijing’s bolstering punk scene, Shochu Legion, kicking it since 2009, continue to make a name for themselves with their latest EP He Xie Bu Liao (和谐不了) . The three-person hardcore punk has put together a nice piece of punk comfort food here – to the playfulness of ‘Wish’ (要) to the aggressiveness of ‘Mask’ (面具) the bands hits all the punk tropes without ever coming off as lazy. It all over the place, but hey, that’s part of its scrappy appeal. If anything, it’s nice to hear production as rugged as this – the dirtier the better in my book. Give it listen over here and catch Shochu Legion at DMC on May 31st.


Emos…unite! Joking aside, power pop emotastic outfit Twinkle Star have been racking it accolades and fans left and right over the past couple years, certifying themselves as one of young scene’s best acts. Heck, they even managed to grab mega-stars New Pants’ bassist Zhao Meng for vocals on their latest EP entitled Don’t Look Back – that’s respect. She’s front and center and the finely produced six track disc and adds some sincere emotion instead of that ‘whine’ that is so common in the emo genre. The middle track \’Unknown Journey (未知的旅途)\’ genuinely packs a punch. Credit must go to the producers as well for never dipping too far into electronic territory – for the most part it’s still the guitars which resonate. And while powerpop ain’t exactly my jam (or emo for that matter) this is a must have for fans. Give it a listen here.

Richard Doran, of Low Bow and Cloud Choir fame, may have exiled himself from Beijing for warmer settings in Chengdu, but that hasn’t stopped him from producing music. Going back to his solo routes Fast Son is a ‘one man blues noise punk disco’ machine. tones, drones & tremeloes has all the trouble-makers\’ signature moves albeit with a more psychedelic menace that creeps around each song like a demonic hell raiser. If it sounds like it was recorded in a hotel room it’s because it was – 2020 of the Ming Yu Li Ya in Chengdu. All yours here. Expect Richard to pop his head around Beijing sometime soon.

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