Psychedelic groovers Chui Wan have always been a band content to follow their own wavelength, pushing their esoteric and sometimes downright surreal sound to new territory, all the while carving out their own little world. Their fourth LP sees the band evolving further and in many ways refining themselves, displaying a more delicate, softer, and even poppier version of their psychedelic palette. Yan Yulong’s falsetto vocals find tender matrimony alongside some of the album’s more upbeat and propulsive melodies, while Wu Qiong continues to immerse herself fully to the album’s more atmospheric Nico-stylized tracks. But in the end, it comes down to the band’s penchant for sweeping psychedelic rhythms, which have never sounded as harmonious or inviting.
Newly formed label Nugget Records, who dabble in all things cassette and lo-fi, kicked off their reign with the debut EP from indie-pop duo lost memory machine (consisting of David Carey of Nocturnes and Wuhan singer-songwriter Shii). The rain-soaked sound is full of low-key yet rich electronically layered pleasures and direct, sincere lyrical melodies that sneak up on you. Piano keys drizzle across the tracks as beats trickle down upon the dream pop arrangements, painting a picture of existential longing coated in rays of deep blue and smears of yellow street lights.
Beijing’s masked post-doom outfit Nekroma are back with their second mind-bending, genre-tripping EP – a carnivalesque descent into the depths of Hell – though who’s Hell is up for debate as the quartet interweave demigods, Pagan rituals, Hindu mythology, and Edgar Allen Poe into across a collage of doom metal, prog rock, baroque Chinese folk. Wildly imaginative, quintessentially deranged, and equal parts menacing and fun, there’s a twisted joy underneath the masquerade that brings to mind everyone from Cathedral to Zappa.