New Releases: Mercader, SPICE, Sinotronics Compilation, Islet


To quote a comment I saw on facebook regarding a certain article by The Guardian – ‘Rock n Roll Belong to Everyone’ – and it’s about time people start recognizing the big noises coming out of China – and not just the Beijing and Shanghai bubbles – but far and beyond. Here’s a trio of bands hailing out Hangzhou, Guangzhou, and Xiamen that are doing interesting things and making names for themselves – including psychedelic electronic rockers SPICE, post punk outfit Marcader, and math rock outfit Islet. Plus, we take a look at electronic label Sinotronics first official releases – a international compilation album that makes it’s way all the way to New Delhi. Hells to the yes. Check it.

The Hangzhou electro rock trio SPICE, composed of Chen Chen Chen, an experimental electronic musician (who released this earlier this year) and guitarist, Little Drummer, and Yī Lái, return with their third  EP entitled Force Analysis – and the only question I have for them now is – where the hell is our album already! SPICE is not only proof that there’s a lot happening outside the first tier cities – they’re one of most innovative, interesting, downright exciting bands coming out of China, period. A band fully invested in their sound – whether it’s taking a groovy beat in the beginning of ‘Hypnosis’ and turning it into an epic psychedelic jam by its end; or giving us a club-ready jam out of ‘Yellow+Black’ – SPICE radiates with creating soundscapes that live and breathe on their own. Give it spin here. Now – how about that LP?

It took a few listens to get into the groove but I’ve gonna have to give a glowing endorsement to Mercader (梅卡德尔) and their self-titled debut album. The Guangzhou (via Shijiazhuang) which combines elements of post punk, no wave, and indie rock is a bit hard to decipher – the closet comparison I can think of is a more melodic P.K.14 or a dirtier New Pants. Very lyric-based, with a lead whose voice almost has a old school Canto-pop vibe to it – very much in the vein of New Pants singer Peng Lei – albeit with a lot more edge and anger. Just listen to how his voice completely transforms on ‘I Can’t Stop Wondering’ – it’s gloriously ugly. I keep coming back though to the retro feel the album gives off, which on first listen took me aback, but eventually won me over by the last track. There’s something sinister going on with these kids and I want in. Give the debut a spin over here.

Let’s head further down south and have a look at Xiamen math rock outfit Islet who recently released their second EP, aptly titled 2. And gotta say, there’s potential here. According to the band’s douban page they’ve already played with some big names – including Glow Curve and Alpine Decline – so I wouldn’t be surprised if these cats get picked up sometime soon. At times their brand of math rock takes too much of its time (aka it’s too slow) to get where it wants to go but I’m intrigued nevertheless. It’s almost like math rock with a shoegaze gloss over. Curious to see where they take it – find their two EP’s over at their bandcamp.

After dicking us around for past year or so, Sinotronics gets out their first official release and must say, it was well worth the wait. A international collaboration along with Delhi label REProduce artists, the compilation, entitled Module 1: Oscillate features some of the best, off the beaten path electronic artists from Beijing and New Delhi including Indian artists Hashback Hashish, Audio Pervert, and Toymob and from our end Dead J, FAR/∞ and iimmune – pretty awesome combo indeed. Loving the grit and foreboding nature of the entire piece particularly iimmune’s cut, ‘Collapse’. Hopefully the first of many bridges being created musically between China and India (and throughout Asia for that matter). Grab it over at bandcamp – and if you’re in town this weekend check out many of the featured artists at the BEME – details here.

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