It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (musical notes) . Cute guy down the hall didn’t get you anything. Your steady girl figured you’d best wait till Spring Festival. No worries, LBM’s has some stocking stuffers to bring back that holiday cheer with the newest releases from Nova Heart, Death to Ponies, Hot & Cold, as well as a very special Cat AIDS Christmas. Ugh.
Best keep your eyes on Huashan Records this next year. The Shanghai label run by Tzu Li aka Lauara Ingalls aka Raphael Valensi, of Acid Pony Club is giving a platform to some of the scene’s most off-kilter and intriguing electronic and noise artists (for now). One of their latest is Death To Ponies’ swan song Snakes. The collaboration between electronic gurus Acid Pony Club and bass-and-drums experimental rock duo Death to Giants may have parted ways early last year, but I guess they left enough material for another release. And I couldn’t be happier. Murky grooves and obscure vocals, it’s a blend of doom metal and noise that gives psychedelic rock an experimental edge that’s both innovative and robust. Grab a cassette (for the win!) or download it over here.
Self-proclaimed ‘greatest band in the world’ doom noise metal duo Cat AIDS are feeling the Christmas spirit this year and they’ve got the perfect present for all you naughty boys and girls out there – CAT AIDS CHRISTMAS. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. All your favorite Xmas jingles ruined forever with layers of noise, rabid mumbled caroling, and fear. Shit tons of fear. Like Mrs. Claus tied up in the basement type of fear. So yeah, like I said, the perfect gift for your Uncle Jed. Feel the festive love here.
Genjing Records last 7’’ spilt for 2014 might just be one of their finest moments this year. ‘Electro-inflected, transcendental blues by two sets of brothers’ the split between globetrotting duos Hot & Cold and Tonstartssbandht is a great introduction to two bands with very distinctive sounds. While Tonstartssbandht’s two tracks lean more toward the ethereal transcendent psychedelic jam pop that immediately plasters a smile across your face. It’s warm, loose, yet structured to a tee. Meanwhile, Hot & Cold’s feels more angular – a fuzzed up post punk groove that’s equally cold and warm. Check out the vinyl over here.
And finally we take a look at dark electro rock queens Nova Heart’s long-awaited self-titled debut LP. This thing has been in the works for ages, and it’s a band I’ve followed and watched grow. So how does it stack up? I’ve held Helen Feng and company dear for quite some time now, particularly their live sets, which can be electrifying. Sadly, a lot of that spark is missing from their debut. Songs like ‘Song 9’ and ‘Evil’, highlights of their live shows, don’t go for the jugular anymore – there’s too many restraint, too much polish. That’s not saying it disappoints. In fact, a lot of their newer songs pleasantly surprised me – from driving drums of ‘The Queen is Dead’ to the guitar squeals of ‘Right Wrong’ there’s a lot of transfixing sounds emerging from this baby. And ‘Lackluster No. 9’ remains one of my favorite songs of the year. Nonetheless, I wish there was a bit more grit and grizzle to the debut of one of Beijing’s most sought after bands. Look for it over at Nova Heart’s website.