New tunes to keep your summer heated with the latest from Hangzhou’s The Pillowman, Beijing’s Life Awaits, Shanghai’s Faded Ghost, and Beijing’s Howie Lee.
Faded Ghost – Moon Mad (Shanghai/SVBKVLT)
ChaCha, the Guizhou-born singer, MC, DJ and producer based in Shanghai, continues to evolve as an artist on her latest project, Faded Ghost which finds her in the producer’s chair as she breathes musical life into her memories, experiences, and dreams through a combination of vocals, layered field recordings, and electronic wizardry on her LP Moon Mad, off of SVBKVLT. It’s a mood piece through and through – a nocturnal fever dream that bewitches and mystifies with its pagan-stylized witch house vibes. Hauntingly beautiful.
The Pillowman枕头人 – The Little Girl Says小女孩说(Hangzhou/self-released)
It’s a bittersweet hello and goodbye on the debut from The Pillowman. The shoegaze trio out of Hangzhou, otherwise loftily known as ‘Paradise on Earth’ didn’t even make it to two years as a band. And that fleeting, affecting touch is captured brilliantly in their six track EP – The Little Girl Says – a blistering, drowned out, melancholic ode to growing up – warts and all. And while lead singer Yang Ji and guitarist Atie have enough bite and youthful exuberance to overcome whatever narrative has been laid out before them it still stings. But then again, what would be the point if it didn’t hurt. We barely knew ya, Pillowman!
Howie Lee – Homeless (Beijing/Do Hits)
Prominent Beijing electronic producer goes existential on his latest dizzying concoction of Chinese world bass. The six track EP Homeless leans heavily into the ethnic sounds of China but Mr. Lee integrates them with the frenzy of a mad scientist, twisting and flipping any familiarity we may have with these traditional sounds straight onto its back. It’s a jarring experience – one that leaves you feeling alienated and lost, as if you’ve stumbled upon some future civilization. Hypnotic stuff.
Life Awaits – WAVES (Beijing/self-released)
Melodic hardcore outfit Life Awaits, out of Beijing, has been working hard behind the scenes on their full-bloodied debut and it pays off beautifully on WAVES – a heck of a calling card that brings emotional futility to the forefront of the genre. With heavy shades of emo and alternative rock, the band bares its soul wide through its viciously exposed lyrics supplemented effectively with a fruitful array of thundering drums and jagged guitar that act as a force of nature against our protagonist. A burden (or better yet, a crushing wave) that makes the light at the end of the tunnel all the more enriching. Something tells me these cats will seize the day after all.