New Releases: Plastic Heads, AM444, Dawanggang, Xiao Hong Yu Xiao Xiao Hong


Noise, post punks, trip hop dreamers, and world music magicians – we’re all over the place this week with new releases that span from Beijing to Shanghai to Nanjing, with fresh earworms including the latest from Plastic Heads, AM444, Dawanggang and Xiao Hong Yu Xiao Xiao Hong. Live it!

The five-piece musical and performance ensemble, called Dawanggang, fronted by self-taught musician Song Yuzhe, a nomad in the truest sense, is vast in their musical scope. International, folk, experimental rock, even modern symphony with components of Tibetan, Mongolian, and classical Chinese music – whatever name you want to throw at them, what remains is that they’re one of the most singular world music outfits out there. And lucky enough, they have finally compiled a collection of their songs under Huang Qiang Zou Ban Selection, and it’s a catch. Simply stirring stuff – world fusion music that shocks, soothes, surprises, and ignites the imagination. A must have for anyone interesting in seeing the possibilities of music in China. Give it a listen here and purchase it over here.

Looking for some post punk to quench that brooding soul of yours. Plastic Heads might just be your ticket. The two-man band, out of Nanjing, whose mix of noisy guitars, cryptic lyrics, and psychedelic reverb, has generated quite the support from the likes of bands such as P.K.14, Alpine Decline, and Pairs, are back with a brand spanking new album that sees the band stretching their arms even more. Each Anxiety Torn Wake Up, is an aggressive beast, one that rages out of the gate with “He Will Die (If Not Trusted)” and doesn’t let up, even as the songs wander and go off on noise-filled digressions. And while their exploratory tendencies don’t always hit their targets, I’m really digging the vibe these two have conjured up – post punk with an experimental bent, noise rock with a post hardcore spirit. Pick it up over here and check out the band drop it physically this Saturday, April 11th, at XP.


Shanghai trip hop duo AM444 – made up of beatsmith Jay Soul and Shanghai-raised singer ChaCha are getting their groove back. As the two have ventured off to other projects (i.e. ChaCha’s recent collaboration with Hamacide) since releasing their acclaimed full length debut Rooms, it was unclear what exactly the next step for the duo would be. Their latest EP, Dark Show, is the answer. A significantly more menacing piece of work, one that’s shows how much the duo has evolved since their original incarnation, the EP contains all the staples of AM444 – sultry lyrics, lush beats, and steely rhythms – and improves upon them with a commitment to attitude and atmosphere. The production is budding with flavor and personality, in a way that feels fresh and true to the duo’s retro stylings. A match made in heaven these two. Let’s hope we more out of the duo soon enough – I have a feeling they’ll have quite the overseas appeal. Listen it to over here and here, and find it on iTunes in the near future.

Beijing’s premier noise freaks – experimental gonzo duo Xiao Hong & Xiao Hong Hong (Little Red & Little Little Red) continue to throw everything they’ve got at the wall, including the kitchen sink. Their latest opus of musical tomfoolery, 失而复得, their third studio album, is vintage XHXXH. ‘Electric guitar, bass, the occasional percussion instrument and clarinet’. Lo-fi beatnik riffing and noise making that follows a beat to its absolute modicum. XHXXH aren’t everyone’s cup of tea for sure, but there’s a certain relish in hearing these two just go for it each and every time; a lackadaisical (yet totally straight-faced) art house charm that eventually weans it’s way into your membrane, altering your train of thought, till all that’s left is beautiful beautiful noise. Download it over here for free, and grab it on cassette (of course!) this Saturday at XP.

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