The Molds bring their cult-like status to light on their rough and tumble, gangly and atmospheric debut Born Astride The Grave, out on Space Fruity Records. Surf rock strung out on methadone, psychedelic rock for those who prefer the company of tumbleweeds, what The Molds do first and foremost is strike a mood and submerge you in it. Thick as molasses, the band wisely takes their time with each rhythm and verse, allowing the dirt and humid air to seep into the pores of their well-being – so much that Liu Ge’s sounds like he’s on cloud nine or wasting away in a bar in the desert (same same). It’s this restraint, this nonchalant charisma and refusal to give in to their rock and roll demons (or perhaps more appropriately those demons have already done their damage) that utilmately allows the album to stand out among on top.
Dalian musician, Ruining, known for his work with the now-defunct Which Park, returns with another absorbing and stirring ambient album and one of the best of the year. Entitled Eternity and a Day, and released via Space Circle and Prajnasonic, it finds the artist using every trick up his sleeve – from glitches to plucked strings, from piano chords to modular synth tomfoolery, to engulf listeners in a world that feels forgotten and lost. There’s a meditative ever melancholic spell that looms over the proceedings, giving each track a transcendent aura – one that immediately puts you at ease. Blurring the lines between time and space, Ruining does what any great ambient artist does – freely explore abstract forms and the vast aural architecture within.
Beijing oi band Shave ‘N’ Shut have been busy bees these past couple months – the scrappy band full of seasoned veterans of the punk scene in the capital (with members from Misandao, Life For Drinking, Point Blank, Gumbleed and Unregenerate Blood) dropped their first EP Beer Lake earlier this fall – four songs of fat rhythms and big emotions – anthems made to be sung with your fists in the air and friends nearby. As the band points out, you can almost hear the tears of Cock Sparrer’s “Because You’re Young”. If that wasn’t enough, the band just released a 10″ split record with legendary Japanese skinhead band Raise A Flag (going strong for 25 years!) featuring two more songs of Oi! goodness.