On The Scene: XP 09-11-2012


The Shanghai onslaught is well underway in Beijing and I was there at the beginning! Well, let’s just say that for the month of November and some XP’s doors were open, giving us Beijingers a little taste of what’s out there and I couldn’t be more glad. So yeah, with a trifecta lineup of Skip Skip Ben Ben, Alpine Decline, and X is Y, coming up from Shanghai, there was no way I was gonna miss that sweet sweet sound.


Skip Skip Ben Ben on simply on fire these days, fresh off their latest release Sacrifice Mountain, which I’ve yet to friggin see anywhere cause whatever (I’m suspecting it’s being juggled between numerous record companys), they have been hitting the circuit hard and it’s bliss I tell ya, bliss.

They’re in a class of it’s own at this point. Their newer stuff is resonating more and more and it’s only a matter of where can they go from here. Cause these guys are the three lines of pure grade indie rock that I must get more of.

Like now…don’t make me get Titanic or Big Joe on the phone. Just don’t people. Hell, I’ll fly to Taiwan if I got to.


I wonder what an acoustic set of Alpine Decline would sound like? Cause beneath all the fuzz and feedback and crunchy guitar work, these two are essentially a country-trotting duo that might as well be on a back porch in probation-era deep woods Virginia with a jar of moonshine.

Cause boy, do they croon when they get the chance. Piercingly nostalgic, all through this filter of ghostly lyrics and echoed sounds, they’re swimming through a haze that’s at once familiar and alien.

Maybe it’s just me, but these two are the mad max of hard country – completely twisting the genre into nooks and crannies of indie rock into its most logical place – city is the new country.


And to think I thought X is Y had a chick in it – well, I suppose it’s all for the better since these two are earnestly helplessly angrily in love that’s having a female present on stage would only cramp their style.

At once sentimental, weary and desolate and urgent and intimate X is Y is math rock with issues. First off, guitar and drums – god damn righteous that’s what – these two know their instruments and they know them well. And G’s whispering vocals often cut into the razor sharp guitar work like a blade giving the songs a fragile undercurrent – that is until the ice’s broken.

At times jarring but always fascinating X is Y have added pathos to a commonly unfeeling genre – which definitely one-ups them in my book.

Not a bad start for the Shanghai invasion. Don’t forget there are more videos below – just click ahead – one from each of the night’s bands.

Skip Skip Ben Ben

Alpine Decline

X is Y

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