New Releases: Horse Radio, We Are Shanghai, The Fuzz, Converse Compilation


Ahoy! This week we dig into the debut from the newest Beijing-based Inner Mongolian sensation Horse Radio, whose music derives from the Mongolian ethnic group Oirat. On top of that, we have the latest Genjing Record 7’’ for Xi’an post punk indie outfit The Fuzz. And finally, two compilations – the newest volume of We Are Shanghai, featuring whopping 42 original cuts from Shanghai’s most promising bands, and the Converse Rubber Tracks compilation, recorded last year in Shanghai with various bands on the brink of stardom, or so we hope.

There’s something wonderful going on with Horse Radio. The Inner Mongolian band, which over the last year, has changed their name from Taan Towch, and went from playing tiny gigs in Blue Stream Bar, to headlining shows at Mako Livehouse and DDC, has had quite the year. Their metamorphosis is loud and clear in their self-titled debut, which finds the band’s finding new ground with the arguably overplayed genre. And while the album does contain it’s share of knee-slappers – reagge-infused rock-tilted jams that one can imagine would ignite a crowd at just about anywhere – there’s an inherent exploration within their sound; an improvisational vibe that elevates the material. This is most evident in the last two tracks, ‘Blue Heimat’ and ‘Crow’, which feel so lived in, organic, and emotionally authentic, it creates an intoxicating atmosphere of ‘the moment’ that’s leaves you wanting more. Now that’s what I call a debut. Preview it here and bug them on facebook for an album.


Remember all those Converse Rubber Tracks videos popping up here and there? The shoe company, always in on the action with music in China – launched the first-ever Converse Rubber Tracks Shanghai pop-up studio last October where some lucky musicians will had the opportunity to record with New York producer Hector Castillo including Bedstars, Forget and Forgive, RunningBlue, Rolling Bowling, Lone, Purple Soul, and Dive in Velvet. Well the fruits of their labor have now popped up online in the form of a Converse Rubber Tracks Compilation which gives you an idea of what exactly their were doing during all that time. And while a couple of the tracks lean to heavily toward the pop emo arena for my tastes, I’m always happy to have new stuff from our own Bedstars, a band in serious need of releasing new stuff, as well as and Rolling Bowling. Not sure Converse should have a future in producing music (it’s all a bit too clean on the production side of things) but it’s pretty cool nevertheless. Check it out over here.

Whenever customs gets bored of listening to thousands and thousands of 7’’ vinyls, Genjing Records is gonna have a hell of a year in terms of releases. One of the ones I’m most excited for (and which I’ve strangely dreamed about last week…don’t ask) is jangly Xi’an indie post punk kids The Fuzz and their latest two tracks of rock n’ roll bliss on Golden Cage. Produced by none other than Yang Haisong (who’s grubby little fingers are in just about everything these days) and mastered by Garrett Haines of Treelady Studios in the USA, it’s two tracks of what made folks like myself love The Fuzz so much in the first place. No nonsense, schizo, garage rock mixed with post punk electro grooves, it’s bombardment of nourishes and noise that’s hard to resist, summed up perfectly in side B of the record, ‘This Is The Feeling’. Give it a listen here and grab it for free here and await it’s vinyl release in March (hopefully).

It’s another year, and that means it’s time for We Are Shanghai! Vol. 4. The compilation series spearheaded by musicians Ivan Belcic and Mike Heard, is an annual ‘compiling’ (rather than curating) of Shanghai’s music scene at the moment. In that regard, this baby is much appropriately all over the map – from metal to electronic to punk to experimental – there’s not a genre you’ll find untapped in here. And while the comp sees familiar faces in the form of Death to Giants (RIP), Hu Jia Hu Wei (RIP), and Friend or Foe (RIP) there’s a slew of bands here who’ve I’ve heard zero to nil about, including Damacha, Swimful Butterfly, Uplines, and The Arcbane. Dig in over here, and find that Shanghai band for you.

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