New Releases: Raflum, The World Underground, GAS, Cat Learned Dog


A strange batch if I ever saw one. We got punk rock, Catalan-based Chinese-language pop rock, reflective world music out of Sichuan, and a bundle of live recordings from some of the scene’s best rockers. Here’s the latest from Raflum, GAS, Cat Learned Dog, and The World Underground.

From Pest Productions, a Nanchang label that specializes in atmospheric black metal from here and aboard, comes the swan song from Raflum, a world folk artist from Sichuan. Raflum, which means \”melancholic autumn enchained by rain”, was founded in 2009 by Han. While his earlier work featured darker more neo folk type music, influenced by the likes of Empyrium,Vali and Ulver, his latest and last release, entitled Gui Zhao, is a much more meditative album, one that reaches deeper into the artist’s roots. It’s really quite a beautiful piece of work, one that wisely takes its time, finding a zen-like tranquility that feels truly of a bygone era. Badass indeed – grab a copy over here.

Mao Xue Wang, or Cat Learned Dog, possibly one of the most inane (and by that I mean awesome!) band names out there, is one of the latest Ramones, Green Day, Sex Pistols, heck with it, post 80s influenced punk bands to emerge from Beijing. Formed only this previous summer, the four-piece outfit has just released their first EP, Electric Car Boy, five tracks of new school punk rock that’s more in tune with bands like Reflector and Brain Failure albeit with a more local appeal – references to Gulou Dong Daijie, Zhongnanhai, and loads of homegrown cursing. And while, there’s nothing here that screams originality, there’s a certain charm the band works into their sound. A confidence, which looking at their stacked 2015 schedule, that sounds promise. Give the EP it a listen here and purchase it over here.

So GAS – they’re a band from Barcelona who figured it would be wise to compose each of their songs using Chinese Mandarin. Cause why the hell not? Their first EP Everlasting Freshmen, features six tracks of pop rock, all sung in Mandarin. How do they fare? Well, according to my fiancé their language skills sure as hell beat mine. So they got that going for them. And while their brand of melancholic pop rock might be a bit much for some (i.e. my fiancé couldn’t handle all the whining) there’s talent here, particularly in some of the arrangements like Takeoff. Whether or not this ‘experiment’ works or not, well, I’ll leave that to you listeners out there. Wrangle it over at their bandpage.

John Yingling, aka Gonzo Chicago, founder of The World Underground, a video series dedicated to exposing youths in the West to sounds from around the world, is in the final stages of putting together his expose on China. And to get us stoked and ready, Mr. Yingling has been uploading a shit ton of live recordings from his travels, including some rare sound bites from After Argument, SUBS, The Diders, Stolen, Xinmayoujiang, Casino Demon, Hiperson, Skip Skip Ben Ben, white +, and I’m guessing a lot more in the next coming weeks. Grab em’ while you can folks, cause according to the Pennsylvania beer himself, these babies won’t be available for your downloading pleasure forever. So get on it!

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