A lot of last minute additions to this weeks’ releases – screw the haters who say there ain’t nothing good out nowadays. A little optimism, and perhaps some more self-promotion from the artists themselves (really people – if you have the goods share the goods), and BAM!, music for everyone. Here’s the latest from electro-pop songstress Jia Huizhen, new Shanghai juggernauts Death to Ponies, After Argument, muilt-media rap outfit Hei!, and of course, the boys over at KTR.
That’s the latest from electro-pop songstress Jia Huizhen who after a fantastic last year (in my humble opinion) has been pretty much under the radar these past several months. Well, it took a birthday to bring the artist in the limelight again as she pay this gift forward – a new song entitled ‘Cracks’, which cleverly uses the piano line from her previous song ‘Flying Free’ to propel the song into some serious fuzzy and distorted territories. Jia Huizhen has always been a pop artist on the fringes of mainstream music, and it looks like she’s embracing that notion more and more and I couldn’t be happier – definitely keeping a eye on her. Check it.
Looks like while Yang Haisong was receiving rave reviews for his latest P.K.14 album, 1984, he went ahead and released a full-length 12’’ with After Argument, his ‘side project’ with Eyes Behind drummer Zaza (excellent here) and under his label Share The Obstacles. It’s called Furs of Time and can be purchased over at bandcamp. Just went ahead and slipped it in. Why not? While not as layered or wide spanning as P.K.14’s sound (we are dealing with just a guitar and drum kit here), I still feel obligated to place it in the same ballpark. A grittier, more ramshackle P.K.14 perhaps – we still have the tight arrangements and lush, razor-sharp lyrics, veiled yet pointed. And while Yang Haisong has mentioned before how he wanna to use After Argument to comment on recent events, an immediate reflection of our current age, at the end of the day it’s P.K.14 version 2.0 for me. Which frankly, ain’t nothing to be bitching about. Purchase it here.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been hearing about hailed MC J-fever (also known as Little Tiger), a pioneer in the rap jazz scene. Liz Tung over at TimeOut wrote a nice column on late last year. As well as putting out his own work, Little Tiger is part of a multi-media outfit called Hei! (or Hhheeeiii if you want to get technical) which includes illustrator Lei Lei, and sound engineer Li Xingyu – all pretty prolific in their careers. They performed at XP last week, packing the place more than I’ve ever seen (with the ratio falling heavily on the female side), and it looks like the fruits of their efforts has been released as an album entitled Hey! Sports – it’s an acid dream of ideas packed into an album – all centered around, you guessed it, sports. Inspired by the three friends encounters with Hainan Island surfers, climbers at Yangshuo, skiers in the northeast, and even the X Games in Shanghai the album jumps around – everything from sports commentators, freestyles, old school crosstalk, sweet lullabies, Mars references, skits, game time prayers, bro-ing out, and a shit ton else are stuffed with reckless abandon. It’s a bit insane, especially when you’re trying to catch all the subtleties in the language. Give it a whirl and practice your chinese. If you purchase this bad boy, it comes with a shirt, poster, and other cool DIY-esque joys. There’s brilliance here somewhere. I swear.
Get those magic mushrooms ready. Death to Ponies, the hybrid musical outfit out of Shanghai – a combination of experimental bass-and-drums schizoid metal duo Death to Giants and DJ-production duo Acid Pony Club (who have produced more than a few gems out of Shanghai) has just released their first EP together, under Metal Postcard Records, aptly named Swine Water (just look at that glorious cover art) – a four track psychedelic trip that gets deeper and deeper and it goes on. As they note themselves, they have ‘created smoky, psychedelic electronic and rock fusion at the apex of progressive dance, post-metal, prog, and noise’ Sounds about right. Like a jazz improv group gone on the fritz (maybe someone at the club left the gas on), there’s no coming out of this one clean. It’s like a sacrament down South gone south. Trend these murky waters and purchase this beaut here.
Alright, it’s that time of the month again – time for some more drone freakouts courtesy of Noise Arcade and Cloud Choir, whose music is slowly deteriorating my brain. I swear a year ago, you wouldn’t find me anywhere near this kind of music, and yet, here I am listening to their ‘albums’ without any resistance anymore. Hook. Line. Sinker. And while after seeing their set last weekend, I wish, their recordings could capture the thick haze that looms over their music liveendl, for those with ambitious enough ears, there’s plenty to like. Grab Cloud Choir’s ‘passing through’ here and Noise Arcade’s ‘endless conversations’.
Enough already – next week with Pentatonic, Arrows Made of Desire, Lantern Festival and more.