Beijing, i love you! Beijing, I fucking hate your guts for weekends like this one: couldn’t you spread these gigs over the month instead of putting them all in one freaking day? I want to see them all damn it! If you don’t get my rant, read on and see why i’m ticked off that there is so much on offer over the next 3 days: Friday Dec 14 Friend or Foe @ 2Kolegas The Shanghai trio is back in town promoting a remixed version of last year’s album and they’re calling it appropriately: “what have you done with my claw”.. To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of the remix but i do love the band’s live stage and had tons of fun with them last time they played the drive-in. Joining them tonight you’ll find Devils at the Crossroad, Residence A along with Thruoutin. I predict fun fun fun fun. Tookoo & The Reason @ School what? school has live music? yep, since last week, the bar has been reborn as a live music venue and that’s long overdue. They’re set for their musical onslaught with a double album release night from two pretty good bands. It’s bound to get interesting over at wudaoying hutong. Saturday Dec 15 Cui Jian @ Wukesong The godfother is back and he’s ticked off according to his latest interview on timeout. He’s still cursing with the best of them and still pissed off enough at society. Can we get a new [...]
i’m not usually big on this new lo-fi/whatever bands but, as they say in French, Il faut rendre a Cesar ce qui appartient a Cesar… (look it up) in this case, i gotta mention Pair’s new album, Grandparent, that i just heard today and was actually impressive. I don’t expect much from noise/whatever-label but this is a nice record folks and i was surprised by how melodic and structured in sounds. expect a review sometimes soon in the meantime, you can get Grandparent from Bandcamp or Douban… it’s worth the download Bandcamp: http://pairs.bandcamp.com/album/grandparent Douban: http://site.douban.com/pairs/ there’s rumors of a special packaged USB key and videos for each song but i haven’t managed to see them yet. color me curious
I like new music and there’s been quite a bit of it lately even though i might not have gotten around to reviewing it. Still, I love when bands email to say they got a new one out the door, even if they’re not from Beijing. That’s the case for Shanghai’s Stegosaurus? whom if you might recall I wrote about over a year ago when they opened for the short lived reunion of Hang on the Box. Actually I should remember that show as the first time I ever hear the Ghost Spardac ( where are they now?) I remember them being tons of fun with their antics, costumes and the loved that they could actually play their instruments. So, anyways, the guys have a new record out called Purple Pachyderm and they’ve uploaded it up n bandcamp as a “name your own price” download. http://stegosaurus.bandcamp.com/ It’s a nice little 10 song collection, well recorded and got some hairy balls on it.. I would expect no less from a record named after Les Claypool’s own brand of wine. Check it out y’all and let them know what you think. I’ll have a review up at some point I hope.
Migration complete… the bird has landed… I’ve been trying to come up with cool poetic ways to get things started on this Lidong album review to match the band’s music and lyrics but i find myself unable to. I’ve been hearing these songs for the most part of the last 2 years and I’ve seen them performed live countless times under different arrangements. Still, when I got a copy of the master tracks finally, it brought a smile to my face. Let’s see how it came off!! ‘daze on Lidong There are 9 tracks on the record, 2 of which are reapeated in an alternative arrangement. We start off with “Future” that boasts a lovely guitar opening and some funky accordion works courstesy of Lidong’s sole foreign member, Marie CLaude. The combination is a bizarre sonic caccophony, almost schyzophrenic. part of the song sounds like the boulevards of Paris, part of it sound like rowdy backyard barn concert. Xiao Mudan, the next number, is one of those earworms… you have been warned! I love this track live but it’s not really doing it for me on the record as part of it sound too clean. don’t forget to check out the promo video for the song… this one brings out the romantic in me with lyrics like “who can understand my heart”. It’s my favorite track on the album by far. Hexi is one of those songs where i have mixed feeling.. parts of the song are beautiful while others [...]
It’s been a long time coming and one way to look at it is that anything worth doing is worth taking a long time to do well. Lixia et Co. must have had that in mind over the past few years…. a lot of work, shows, recording sessions and rehearsals, all leading up to the release of their first CD which will be reviewed here later this week. In the meantime, the interwebs is bracing itself for a Lidong Week with twitter, weibo, facebook, douban streams all pushing this show May 19th at 2 Kolegas. Now, a promo video has been released featuring an all star cast all covering the song with the likes of Xie Tian Xiao, Lao Da, Hu zi, Wu Ning Ye, Zhang Wei Wei, Hanggai and more.. check out the video for Xiao Mudan ( little Peony) 立東乐队新专辑主打歌《小牡丹》（新专辑宣传片） http://video.sina.com.cn/v/b/76909195-1639810542.html I’ve heard Li Dong do this song so many times by now, I don’t appreciate it as much as i should. Hearing others singing it just puts it all in perspective. I love the XTX take and Lao Da versions…. just tons of fun. If you had any doubt that the Ningxia gang would stand behind this one 2000%, think again! The supporting cast will include everyone and their mother from Hanggai, Dongzi, Lao Da, Buyi and more… Let’s not forget the mandatory side of Ningxia noodles and roast lamb. I can promise you one thing folks, Saturday night at 2 Kolegas will be epic!
There are bands that make 1 CD in 15 years and then there is Mamer.. The Kazakh eagle is kicking off 2012 with a bang by releasing 5 solo records in one go. I’m a huge fan of his album from last year which has made it into my top albums from China in 2012. Here’s what he’s got coming: “Star”: a collection of 12 inspired and beautiful the Tamboura solo song, 8 of which are traditional Kazakh folk songs, 4 Mamer originals “Loop”: a collection of eight experimental Tamboura songs, completely different from the traditional playing style and techniques. “Wrinkles”: a collection of unique demos, mixing Tamboura, guitar and violin among others “Soil”: originally recorded in 2009 recording, using a variety of traditional and modern instruments, this is a collection of sonic mood swings, raw and powerful “Alika”: bass album,mostly live improvised recording done in 2009. For those that managed to catch the prince of darkness last year, you’ve heard most of it played as a soundtrack to photos by Xinjiang photographer. Mamer will tour Beijing over the next month playing songs from all 5 albums along with his IZ band members. There’ll be plenty of opportunities to catch him at 2 Kolegas, Jianghu, Mako and more…. http://site.douban.com/mamer/ April 27, 2012 @ Mako Livehouse with IZ April 28, 2012 @ 2 Kolegas with IZ April 30 @ Jianghu – Solo release party May 4th @ Mao Livehouse with IZ May 5th @ Blue Stream with Friends I’m looking forward [...]
Let’s take a break from the heavier, noisier and experimental sides of things for a little while and look at some bands on the opposite side of the spectrum: power pop/emo punk! There is one band I’ve been keeping an eye on for a little while now and they seem to be doing everything right since they reinvented themselves as Twinkle Star. I caught them at 2 Kolegas a while back and really enjoyed their show: High energy levels, fun, trading instruments but nevertheless producing quality songs.. They also gave themselves out 100% onstage much to everyone’s delight. I like that… Zhao Meng rocks a mean bass and can even do lead vocals on some songs, Xiao Yu is a good frontman and the rest of the band keep up with them. Call me a hater-biased-cum-rock-metal-loving whatever, I think I can appreciate quality when i see it… Twinkle Star has it! What I’m also enjoying from the band is their apparent work ethic, communicating with fans, getting singles out, making music videos, merchandise and what not. This is a band that knows how to do things right in my book! These kids take their craft seriously, are putting in the hours and carrying themselves like stars without the attitude ( think about an Emo Punk Maggie Who). They’ve already played MIDI and Strawberry without the benefit of a huge name recognition and I expect good things to come out for these kids in the future! Here is the video for [...]
oh yeah babay.. it’s heating up in Beijing and I’m not talking about the weather that’s taken a dip again. Beijing is finally fully awake and we’re getting to that point where it’s tough picking which show(s) to go to. This Saturday is a prime example with good stuff all over the goddamn city from 798 to Tango with both Jue Festival and the Bookworm Literary Festival starting. So, to quote The Beastie Boys: Let’s Kick it… Thursday March 8th: Women’s Day at Starfish: yeah, it’s a restaurant but the amazing Jess Meider is playing two sets between 6 and 8 pm, there will be whiskey cocktails courtesy of Stephanie Rocard and your truly. A cool celebration of women’s day in style to get your evening started! Randy Abel Stable @ Temple: How about that? what celebrated Women more than good old honky tonk tune from Beijing’s reigning kings of americana? I ran into Randy yesterday who casually mentioned new tunes and a possible marathon set with many songs touching on the topic of the day: Women… what can i say? grab a bourbon and holler along about double-timing, heartbreaking significant others. Light & Love at Mao: Not to be left out, Mao Live is putting together one a power punk show with some of Beijing’s underground female-fronted bands: First Medal, Cool Fish and more. This one will be a young student affair most likely and could be a cool little distraction for the early Gulou crowd. Friday March 9th: [...]
I’ve been trying to get the quickslants in early this week mostly for tonight’s show at Mako in support of the young Hasetie’er. Friday is gonna be one of those “it’s fucking hard to pick” which show to go to day with solid ass lineups all around town. Let’s get this baby started with my recommendations Wednesday Jan 11th: Hasetie’er : You’re Not Alone @ Mako Mamer, Dawanggang, Wu Tun, Dongzi, Zhang Weiwei, Liu Kun, the Jam Band, Mural, Yerboli (the younger) and more join their musical talents to support a night of giving. The folk community in Beijing/China is amazing in terms of pulling their resources together and helping out those in need! Be there, it’s gonna be amazing! Thursday Jan 12th: Liu Kun @ Jianghu: Low Wormwood’s frontman, Liu Kun, seems to be hanging around Beijing a lot lately. I oughta ask him about his favorite lanzhou mian place in this town when i get a chance. His brand of folk is quite interesting, earthy with western influences. Quite appropriate for a venue like Jianghu. Judging by how popular the gig was at Mako a while back, Jianghu might be packed. Ma Tiao Album Launch @ Tango: Well, the album is out. Ma Tiao has literally been around every show played in Beijing this past month. He popped up at Yugong Yishan during Muma’s performance. He was there at Tango during Su Yang’s show and he’s been promoting his new release. The New album is called “Master” or [...]