Indie pop done right – equals parts heart and finesse that never manages to feel cheap or manufactured – Lonely Cookies out of Wuhan are the real deal. The four-piece outfit led by the silky-voiced Feng Han, state that the songs were made for ‘night cruising’ where the fantasy of romantic chill lingers in the air and we’re able to remove our disguises to reveal our true selves. Catchy as all hell, with a keen sense of melody and harmony, there’s an effortlessness to how easily the band brings you into the fold, relishing late-night stops at convenience stores and wishing that aliens who just show already and take you away from your mundane existence. Laid back, with a bit of surf rock charm and earnest lo-fi pop appeal, Lonely Cookies are triumphant on their debut LP.
The Jinan based electronic producer EASYEAST splashes some Technicolor joy onto Prajnasonic’s sublabel Atmos and their latest EP. With some lush harmonies, coupled with brisk melody and beats that reach the softest corners of the listener’s heart, there’s something immediate and intimate about EASYEAST’s style here. A briskness and smooth fluidity between the electronic elements and the more organic sounds (strings, percussion) that recalls some of Four Tet’s more folk-laced tunes, one that coats the rich soundscapes with a seasonal shade that’s simply welcoming, capturing the humidity and flow of the lakes and forest in summer and autumn. Ten of the best minutes released this year and proof that Prajnasonic has plenty of more to give in the coming years.
Chengdu’s Stolen continue their ascent down the techno-rock rabbit hole on their ambitious and robust second full-length LP Fragment. Produced by Berlin music legend Mark Reeder, there’s something both exotic and familiar in Stolen’s sound that’s hard to pinpoint. With plenty of sci-fi elements making their way into not only the lyrics but the aesthetics of the band’s sound, they’re aiming for something more cinematic, letting the songs take their time to build their dystopian world. And while the slow burn doesn’t always hit its target (it’s can feel a bit too polished), the album truly shines when it lays into the techno – a kinetic, darkwave buzz that feeds into the band’s retro almost gothic take on post-punk. It may not be Sinomatic, but Stolen has carved out a nice little corner for themselves in the China music scene.