Music is alive and well here in Beijing and beyond – the amount of new music I keep finding is staggering. All it takes is a little hand grease and viola – new tunes out of Hangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, and well, I’m not even sure where one of these groups is from. But hey, if my ears dig it then who gives a rat’s ass. Here’s the latest from instrumental rock outfit The Other, trip hop artist Red Over, pop rockers Candy Monster, and hip hop collective L1STALLDO. Enjoy.
Love hip hop which it\’s built upon decades and decades worth of pop culture and sounds that become engrained in our everyday routine – whether it be old lullabies learned as a kid, the sounds of one’s daily commute, soundbites from popular soap operas – it\’s these that give hip hop and electronic music life – grounds it and injects more personality into it than one might expect. Hence why I’m all over the latest instrumental EP from hip-hop trio LISTALLAO (LIST + ALL + DO) – Life 4 Luv – while they dabble in everything from folk, jazz, rock, and funk, the composition is elevated even further by the trio’s archive of soundbites, creating a unique listening experience. Bumping it. Someone get these cats up to Beijing already. Give it a listen here.
Local pop rockers Candy Monster have been kicking for some time now, winning over audiences at venues across town with their sweet, chipper, doo-wop pop rock. After getting stuck in development hell for over a year, the quartet have finally released their first EP entitled Monster Party, which is a pretty good idea of what the album is going for. Ten songs of high-spirited melodies led by Bian Bian’s magnetic voice. It’s not a game-changer, but there’s a spunk to this baby that’s irresistible which matched with some truly nifty stylistic choices, like on ‘Hero’ and ‘Best Best Girl’ – two songs which feel like something out of an early 80s sex comedy. And that my friends, ain’t too shabby. Find it over here.
Digging the new noise coming out of Hangzhou – the latest export out of the breezy coastal city is Red Over – the solo project from Ivy, one of the founders of independent label Lost Manual, who support quite a few intriguing artists including Spice and XBH. Her debut Dull, centers on the idea of human sensory and yeah, it’s definitely something you can lose yourself in easily. The nine-track album is a dense piece of electronica – full of down tempo trip hop that overwhelms one’s senses. And while I believe as a whole, it doesn’t find its footing and jumps about a bit much – what it does do is show us a massively talented individual exploring sonic soundscapes with spirited conviction. Best keep your eyes out for what’s coming out of Hangzhou. Give it a listen over here.
Shanghai avant-rock outfit The Other returns with their sophomore release Swan Songs . The nine tracks of instrumental jams are all about mood – and in that regard The Other’s latest works on numerous levels. As background noise, as the soundtrack to the psychotic unraveling one’s mind. Seriously, this thing goes places. One minute is an bombardment of raw energy, the next it’s a slow build of deft drums and distortion that envelopes the space. There’s a raw, improvised quality to the outfit’s sound that almost comes off like a disgruntled white man’s jazz. Give it a twirl over at their bandcamp.