Xiamen is having a hell of a year – it seems we can’t go a month without unearthing a young and musically satisfying band from there. The latest group to make headway out of the coastal city is Take A Walk Weekend – an anxious group of young who decided to use their music room at their university during the hot summer to record their gem of a debut. Emo rock that stings in just the right way – with a bit of city pop slyness and noise rock chaos – it perfectly encapsulates what being a young, short-sighted adult is all about. Lyrically there’s nothing new here – broken hearts, fleeting youth, and bittersweet memories – but the way the band tackles each emotion feels above all, genuine, and when combined with the tortured guitar chords and swaying rhythms, you’ve got a recipe for success in these weak bones of mine.
For those looking for a quick indie rock fix look no further than Nanjing indie rock outfit Schoolgirl Byebye. After laying low after being totted as 2016’s Best New Comer from the Douban music awards, the band swiftly came back swinging this fall with their full length debut. Wiser, more mature, and wistful all the same, their sound touches upon everything from reverb-heavy dream pop to scrappy noise rock that somehow manages to be tender, sweet, chock full of bite and more than enough tongue in check (their retelling of ”Jodorowsky’s Dune” might be one of this year’s most hilarious takes). They may not be reinventing the wheel, but Schoolgirl Byebye is the kind of pulpy indie pop that helps the medicine go down.
Imagine Koyaanisqatsi reimagined for the 23rd century where hive-like colonies of humans and sentient robots fill in and out across sprawling vertically rising cities and that only scratches the surface of what Shanghai producer and musician 33EMYBW (also of Duck Fight Goose) has done on her high-wire, adrenaline pumping and aesthetically simulating debut Golem. Full of big, propulsive drum patterns, sparse yet engulfing synth waves, and surreal samples that feel spiritually grounded yet plucked from an unknown technologically enshrined future, it’s an unrelenting joy ride through our volatile, fractured and increasingly unrecognizable future. But damn, what a trip.