New Releases: Pokemon Dad, Wan Xiaoli, Zuriaake, Tookoo


The new tunes keep piling in suggesting that the scene is indeed growing and developing, whether or not the people in the big house want it that way. So let\’s get word out and give these new release their proper due including new albums from Jinan depressive metal outfit Zuriaake, urban folk artist Wan Xiaoli, Shenzhen math rock outfit Pokemon Dad, and veteran emo rock group Tookoo.

Renowned folk artist Wan Xiaoli returns with a new album, and everything I’m been hearing so far of it has me going gaga. The Hebei singer who became apart of Modern Sky’s \”Badhead\” label in 2002 and has been a staple of the urban folk scene (alongside Xiao He) since, Xiaoli clearly has a way with words. But what I’m more impressed by on his latest, The Sun Looks Round, is how well the mandolin, old school keyboard, and his terse folksy melodies fit in with his more indie, downright experimental sensibilities. It’s an ablum that flows together so seamlessly so effortlessly, that has altogether breathed live in the often times rudimentary genre. Wouldn’t be surprised to find this one in my top ten of the year. Glad to have you back Wan Xiaoli. Give it a listen here and purchase it over here.

Local emo rock outfit Tookoo have been one of the emo rock scenes most worthy acts. Started in 2005 between twin brothers twin brothers Li Xiaochuan and Li Xiaoquan, the group has evolved over the years, mixing in elements of nu-metal, grunge and even Christian rock (no joke) all the while maintaining their fanbase. And while last year\’s Love Is Key, Hallelujah seemed to indicate that the band had plenty left to offer, it\’s seems they\’re finally calling it quits, with the two track EP Tattoo Our Lives acting as their swan song of sorts. It\’s a more somber, even mature band heard here, one that\’s moody as ever, with the closing track (a callback to one of their hits) reminding fans that while this may be their last fight, their sad song is never over. Certainly a way to go out. Catch their final Beijing show this Friday at School. Gonna miss those Jesus cross denim jackets.

Shenzhen, a city I’m only ever really seen from a train station or airport, is slowly flexing its musical muscles as more and more bands emerge from the border city. Formed over a year ago, Pokemon Dad, a quartet born from the indie rock scenes of the USA, is one of the bands to pop up on my radar a few months back. Well, they’ve just released their debut, Causal Males, and it’s not too shabby. A rich mix of math rock rhythms tossed over autumnal indie rock melodies, it’s a confident piece of work. And though it wears its influences a bit too proudly, there’s no denying the talent on display here, leaving you with a band with a firm sense of direction – a crucial ingredient. Give it play over here and catch them this Friday at DDC, along with Friendly Cannons, another Shenzhen outfit.

Last week I jumped the gun a little going gaga for Ghost Bath\’s latest saga of black metal. Turns out they were jerking around a hell of a lot of people pretending to be Chinese. Same great album, but doesn\’t fit under my little China niche here. To make up for it I\’ve stumbled upon another depressive black metal outfit – for reals – out of Jinan. Zuriaake, who formed in 2007, spent half a decade studying in Germany before returning to the Big Red – since then they\’ve been hard at work with their latest effort, entitled Gu Yan, getting released under Pest Productions. And by the sounds of it, I\’m guessing these kids spent more of their time aboard honing their skills, cause this is some heavy, atmospheric black metal, that shows a heck ton of potential. My kind of darkness – brooding, over the top, and full of blood curling shirking. Check it out over here. Let\’s get these boys down yonder again some time.

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