Bands break up. Bands go on hiatus. Bands form just as a sick joke. Bands take a leave of absence to get in their studies. Bands go on tour. Bands play one festival too many. Bands release an EP. Bands disappear off the face of the earth. Whatever the case, each year it’s important to give credit to the bands who gave the scene a run for its money. Here are my favorite Beijing bands of the year…that I’ve seen.
Beijing Bands to Keep an Eye on in 2014
While a lot of my picks from last year continue to impress – The Big Wave, Dr. Liu & The Human Centipede, Streets Kill Strange Animals, Bedstars – this year I’ve decided to take a look at the newest crop of bands to emerge and leave an impact on me.
Just psyched-up fuzzed-out rock and roll bliss. I recall their first show all but deafening my ears, but what a glorious wall of sound they’ve conjured up. One that reveals quite an acute pop sensibility.
What can I say? I love my fuzz. These two have straight up bum rushed the scene this year with electrying performance after electrifying performance. Garage rock of the highest order – a red hot concoction of ego, trashy fun, and volatility that’s loads of fun.
Inner Mongolians bands are a dime a dozen nowadays. And let’s be honest, it’s gonna be hard to top Hanggai. But that’s precisely why Horse Radio (formerly Taan Towch) have caught my attention this year. They aren’t trying to be rock stars. It’s relatable, accessible, genuine, and most importantly full of life.
A bit bored of everything post rock has to offer. Need some math rock to get your motor running. Then Mammals is where it’s at. It’s badass without being pretentious. It’s playful yet focused. It’s what happens when you take a bunch of talented chaps and give them free reign.
Maybe Mars keeping it fresh this year
Have to give credit to Maybe Mars – while their old guard disappointed this year in more ways than one, I’ve seen exceptional growth in white +, Chui Wan, and Birdstriking, have taken their sound and built upon it, elevating their game to new heights. From the dance grooves slowly finding their way into Chui Wan’s formula, to the popped up, revved up amputation of Birdstriking’s youthful aggression, to the otherworldly layering of white+, these three bands are going to blow minds in the next year. Also, special shout out to Alpine Decline who haven’t so much expanded their sound but have solidified it in the best possible way.
Punk Band Metal of Honor – Gum Bleed
While I didn’t get to cut my teeth as much as I’d hope on the punk scene this year, one band I bumped into more than once has earned their place in my heart and that is Gum Bleed – one of the most genuine, talented, professional, gang of punks in China who come to every show with their game face on.
Will LBM be covering more electronic music?
Besides becoming fully engrossed to some of my buddies electronica projects (i.e. thruoutin and Noise Arcade, who have grown leaps and bounds in the past year and I imagine will do great work in the year of the sheep), I’ve found myself increasingly drawn to electronic music’s more offbeat characters – from the icy sleek of Dead J, to the unsettling exotic textures of Charm, to the transcendent soundscapes of Feeling of Regret, to the gadgetry wizardry of Mengqi, to the minimalism of Soviet Pop, and finally to even the ethereal beauty of FM3 – there are a lot of interesting sounds bubbling underneath the electronic music’s mainstream appeal and I hope to seek it out more.
Beijing better watch out
The amount of music I’ve seen and heard from outside of Beijing has been staggering. Xiamen, Hangzhou, Xi’an, Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Xinxiang, Dalian, the list goes on. The White Tulips, Summer Can’t Fall Asleep, Stolen, Meat Sucks, The Fuzz, SPICE, Doc Talk Shock, Sucker, The Fallacy, Colorful Z-bra, Ghost Bath, The Bricks, Liang Yiyuan – all artists creating their own little scenes back home and establishing second and third tier cities as artistically accommodating environments. And that my friends, is super exciting. As I’ve told plenty of folks already, the next big thing won’t be coming out of Beijing.
— Stay tuned —