Rugged garage rock twisted around the zombified corpse of psychedelic-inflicted blues-rock with more than enough grit, Poetry in Shorts feels like a breath of fresh air – a band that knows exactly the kind of sound they’re going for whilst managing to add in their own flavor. While the scrappy, smoky-lounge, tin-canned production of the wonderfully laid out album has it’s own charm (and avoids many of the pratfalls of rock bands hitting the studio) the true strength of the release lies in the rich lyrics and penetrating vocals. There’s a vitality and an innovative mischievous to the way the band, made up of members of fellow Shanghai punk outfit Dirty Fingers (whose hiatus earlier this year sparked the former into charging full steam ahead), tackle issues beholden to young adults, particularly young adults trying to make it as rock stars. It’s a fearless album that feels authentic in its downtrodden and deviant luck. One of the best of the year.
Steering away from the heavier bass sound his previous albums were infused with, Beijing-based producer Guzz has created an album of glistening beauty – a high-hued, mist-covered flowing pastiche of traditional Asian sounds spliced with contemporary electronica. With an emphasis on digitally-created sounds (in fact, all of the instruments heard here were made via software) and inspired by traditional instruments of Myanma, India, and Japan, it’s clear the artist is angling for something entirely new. A cross between a scrolling Super Nintendo soundtrack and an archeological excavation, it’s an endlessly rewarding album that’s light on its feet and brimming with ideas and otherworldly sounds that feel organic. Call it Asian new wave – or just sit back and soak in the atmosphere.
Aming Liang, known to most for his abrasive and downright hypnotic role in Shanghai psych-rockers Mirrors, has long been active as an experimental musician in Beijing and Shanghai with a keen ear for noise and psychedelic sounds. The multi-talented artist shows off his improvisational skills on ‘Touching the Vibration at the Edge of the Glowing White Sun’ – which collects several improvised piano pieces with ‘sounds of the outer and inner world captured’. Released on the freshly minted Foreign Lands Records, also based out of Shanghai, it’s a surprisingly delicate and dream-like piece of work whose subtle menacing undertones make it ripe for a David Lynch short. As the musician puts it himself: ‘A soundtrack to the questions we have no answers to’.