2015 is off to a good start with a mound of new releases finding their way to my ears and they couldn’t be better-off. Electronic, dance punk, pagan metal, and schizoid experimental rock – here’s the latest from Hamacide & Chacha, Heat Mark, Nine Treasures, and The Other.
After their first collaboration, You Me EP, in 2012 Japanese electronica producer Hamacide teams up once again Shanghai trip hop singer ChaCha for Thirty Hours, and it’s a thing of beauty. Hamacide, who used to be based out of Shanghai builds these dream-like ethereal soundscapes that perfectly complements ChaCha’s controlled sultry voice. It’s vivid, ripe with personality, and unlike ChaCha’s foremost trip hop outfit AM444, who I do love, feels contemporary and as innovative as ever. Grab it over here – and for eager to catch ChaCha in the flesh head over to Dada January 4th as she performs as Faded Ghost alongside Yosi Horikawa, who provides the final track’s remix.
Mongolian folk metal Nine Treasures are a blaze right now. Since their European debut back in 2013 at the Wacken Festival, their reach has only extended further and further. It’s exhilarating to see a band with this much gusto and confidence at this point in time. Last weekend, they packed out Yugong Yishan for the release of their latest EP, Galloping White Horse, which is all kinds of badass. Besides the title single, a great pick-me-up, you get ‘Through Pain’ and three live cuts of their previous hits – a fine reminder of how much enthusiasm the band rakes up in their live outings. Bombast and swag like none other, Nine Treasures are the real deal, and I’m predicting we’ll see their star rising more and more this year. Give it a spin here.
Shanghai-based experimental rock project The Other, headed by Adam Cah, joins the Nasty Wizard Recordings catalogue with this spilt release that came out at the end of 2014. Entitled The Other & 1983, it’s split into two parts. First up, a live recording from (the) Other with Torturing Nurse (aka Junky) on drums and vocals, and it’s a trip to say the least. Auditory chaos at it’s finest. The second half with 1983 features tracks with Ray Dam Nenn on vocals and guitars, and is a lot more structured (for a noise record that is), sporting some seriously killer riffs and grooves amidst the noise and impending doom. Soundtrack music for you day-trippers out there. Jump into the void over here.
Dance punk duo Heat Mark had a stellar 2014, rising trough the ranks of School-sponsored rock outfits, adding a drummer, and even getting a chance to open for the one and only NEU! at VICE’s year end shindig. To celebrate they have released their debut EP, Sorrow Is My Lover, which came out a day before the new year. It’s a fine showcase for a band that draws, more often than not, comparisons to Karen O and the early decade garage rock revival that has all but petered out. Based on that, your mileage may vary with the EP’s five tracks. There’s spunk here for sure, and there’s no denying the pull of the guitar on singles ‘Hit Me Hard’, ‘Make A Deal’, and ‘Calm Down’, all songs I championed throughout all of last year. Nevertheless, the too polished production here leaves a little to be desired – a certain oomph that separates the greatness from just being another band trying too hard to evoke a sound. I’m bobbing my head at the moment, but whether or down Heat Mark can sustain that sensation – only time will tell. Give it listen here.