Soundtrack music for a modern China, indie pop songwriting at its finest, post rock with a Christian mindset, and world music that enlightens and mystifies – hyperboles abound in this week\’s roundup of the latest album and tunes to ramshackle LBM\’s head space. It\’s a mad mad world so enjoy and listen to the newest releases from Li Daiguo, Pan, Anna & Chenbiao, and Song Yuzhe. Enjoy.
One of my most anticipated releases is the solo release from Pan, known to most of the frontman and guitarist of indie rock favorites The Gar. And while we\’ll have to wait a little longer for that full LP, Pan has been kind enough to fans to release The Great Blues, an EP and tease of what\’s to come. Replacing the bombastic youth angst of The Gar, Pan seems more focused on the upbeat indie pop flavorings of yesteryears. Don\’t let that scare you though – the artist keeps things inventive, fresh, and enthusiastic, allowing his lucid lyrics and hook-filled guitar riffs to carry the music almost effortlessly without once taking the easy route. It\’s genuine without being sugar coated, rambunctious without being fuzzy, and catchy as all hell. Especially dig the kazoo solo on ‘Blower’ and the sax on ‘Three Wishes’. Something tells me we\’ll hearing more and more accolades directed toward Pan by year\’ end. Give it a spin here, buy it here (or jack it here).
Li Daiguo, the American transplant who\’s been a staple of the experimental and improvisational scene struts his instrumental chops on Commissions I and Commissions II, a collection of compositions that utilizes the artists knack for composing dense, layered, improv heavy, loop friendly arrangements that give traditional instrumentals like the erhu a modern, soundtrack worthy edge. I\’d even go as far to say there\’s a Phillip Glass esque orchestra lurking in Li Daiguo just yet. And that\’s just about the highest praise I can give. Spin it over here and jack it here and here.
Try this on for size – gospel post rock made in China. Yes, I did a double take too especially when I came across Anna & Chenbiao\’s original bandcamp page which includes such singles as ‘I Am in the Lord’s Army’ and ‘Never Thirst’ (granted the audience for these were Sunday school kids). But I digress, cause their latest, Grace, is a post rock delight, one that uses the gospel as a template in creating some incredibly lush, larger than life compositions. And while it may be too easy to project a religious overtone across the four tracks, you have to appreciate the storytelling aesthetic of the whole endeavor. The wife-husband duo is also the core members of neo folk outfit Bloody Woods, who no doubt these two know their Old Testament. Find enlightenment you may post rock junkies. Give it a listen and grab it here.
As the renowned world artist, Song Yuzhe, exclaims on his latest A Collection of Short Broken Songs, ‘traveling in search of music, one collects words and scattered melodies which meanings don’t need to be dwelt on, and which essence can be concentrated in short songs, I call them broken songs’. Pretty much nails it. Recorded in Dawanggang\’s Berlin studio there\’s something ethereal, otherworldly even, hearing these collections of songs linger in the air gradually making their way to their conclusion. It\’s fluid, organic, transfixing, and most importantly brimming with life. A dense and delicate piece of art and a great introduction (and artifact) of an artist in his prime. Give it a listen here and purchase it over at Tree Music Records.