Whenever my brother and I get together, it’s like two freight trains heading for each other – you know what’s gonna happen but there ain’t no stopping that train wreck no matter how hard you try. So yeah, last Friday night was a shitshow of epic proportions, one where I managed to drag my induced brother and French girlfriend (a whole other bag of nuts) to outside of XP before the wise brother that I am told them to not even bother coming inside – no point in trying to convince them – in my head I was doing them a favor. That’s what brothers are for eh. With that ball and chain off my ankle I stumbled into XP, for some crunchy rock n roll from Birdstriking and dystopian lo-fi courtesy of Alpine Decline.
There’s something gleeful about Birdstriking when they perform that works wonders – an unhinged off the rails kinda energy – they’re just about in sixth gear for every song.
And on the tiny stage of XP, hell, that energy spreads like wildfire. Sure, it can get sloppy time to time, He Fan’s voice stretching beyond it’s limit (which has its own charm nevertheless) but these guys are committed a hundred percent to their material. And though last time I saw them, I noted their spiteful satirical tone in their lyrics and delivery, I’m finding more and more heart in their songs – a nostalgic feeling that I suppose I could only describe as youthful.
They’ve got this swagger about them – just look at Wang Xinjiu on drums – dude is absolutely in his element – bouncing along with the beat. Hell, I could barely even hell the camera during “TV at 7PM” which is some the fastest most furious three minutes of music ever –
Birdstriking are putting up more and more stream it seems and I can’t wait to see where they head next.
How did I miss the memo on Alpine Decline? The spacey, noisy duo originally from LA, make the kind of music that’s right up my alley.
Drenched in guitar feedback and echoed vocals which spills over the crowd and leaves an haunting afterglow, Alpine Decline is the type of music one could only stomach in the city like Beijing. The textures to these songs give off a grainy, silver-lined, pollution-laced haze that’s dystopian in every sense. There were times where I was sure the distortion was tinkering on the edge of falling into complete chaos.
But underneath a lot of the noise what you have are some quite nice melodies which, once again, hang in the air long after. I was half expecting to find a nuclear winter when leaving the place. It’s amazing sometimes what a guitar and drum and some pedals can accomplish. With plenty of music in their catalogue (check out their site here), Alpine Decline have got a firm grasp of what they’re looking for – a vision that fits right in with the Big Red.
Check below for another song from Alpine Decline as well as some footage of Scratcha DVA, who I either don’t remember filming at Dada or someone took for me – either way, it was quite the surprise finding this video on my camera the next day. Fucking brothers.