Though Last Goodbye’s beautifully realized debut brims with the existential dread and anxiety that looms with adolescence, the meticulous and thorough sound also belies the youth that has crafted it so expertly. Every last detail, from the shimmer of the guitars to the way lead singer Niu Niu’s burdened voice exhales against the luscious, rolling textures and elastic melodies, is fine-tuned to have the utmost effect on the listener, creating a world of glistening, reverb-heavy, psychedelic dream-pop made with colorful aplomb. A verdurous flower abloom with impenetrable sonic design. From the subtly devastating ‘How We Ended’, the malice-stricken ‘Demon’, the chiming and ever piercing urgency of ‘Memory’, Last Goodbye’s immersive sound never becomes overbearing. Instead, there’s a buoyancy to the band’s sound; an encroaching rhythmic pulse that makes the eight tracks soar by like a dandelion drifting downstream. Whether you’re ready to hit the open road (‘Forget Past’) or spiral into your own psyche (‘Running Late’), their unwavering need for perfection fuel a sound that’s bittersweet, rousing, and bare – a place where feelings of loss, regret, and angst are led to solace.
Prajnasonic kicks off the Year of the Pig with the latest slice of pulsating, industrial techno courtesy of long-standing Beijing producer punx. While the label co-founder has always taken a more sinister approach to his sound, reveling in the darker hues the genre has to offer, he still manages to find the kinetic and delightfully strange mechanisms within the architecture of his compositions, throwing listeners into a vast network of fear, anxiety, and propulsion – invoking everything from ‘a midnight drive on the highway in a cult zombie film to the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe flashing back in the wind’. The world punx has created may be dead at heart, but its soul will never rest.
Formed late 2015 in the mountainous city of Chongqing, noise punk band Backhand Thrust makes their mark on their scrappy, ferocious and robust debut Nowhere To Escape. ‘Extreme, fast, and direct,’ the band is all attitude as they barrel through one track after another with reckless abandon, abrasive vocals, and crushing instrumentation that cram every drum beat and chord into one-minute power anthems. You either get on Backhand’s wavelength or as they put ever so gently, ‘fuck off our shit’. It’s rock and roll in primal instinctual mode. Chaos never felt so sincere.