If there was ever any doubt about Shanghai-based (and sadly Australia bound) Xiao Zhong’s reach and relentless DIY slant has had on the underground music scene here in Beijing and Shanghai, here’s three new albums which find Rhys giving it all one last time. Hell of a way to go out. Here’s the final three albums from Pairs, Hujiahuwei, and Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes.
Pairs’ sixth and final album, Maleika on Casley find noise makers F and Xiao Zhong in fine form – recapturing the fiery rambunctious temperament of their earlier work as well as draping over a layer of exposed emotion angst that proves again that Rhys’s songwriting is one of a kind. Cynical, pitiful, hopeless, angry and painfully honest, they’re something moving about how bare it’s all laid out there. Country boy seed, Facebook likes, stench filled clubs, being stuck in a musical Groundhog Day, wasting your time liking a band named Pairs — it’s bleak stuff that’s beautiful in its own twisted lens, like being under a sky with no birds. In Pairs’ mindset, the only way to go out is with a ‘dull thud’ – we couldn’t of asked for a better farewell. Grab it over here and expect a vinyl release later this summer and for you few hundred or so who are attending the last Pairs’ show in Shanghai this weekend, make it one to remember – and if you feel the urge to use a chair to smash Xiao Zhong\’s drums with, then go for it.
Rhys also bid farewell to another band, the raggedy garage trio Hujiahuwei. If Pairs is all about lament then Hujiahuwei’s Coasting is a shotgun to the face – it’s a raged filled kicker, propelled by drummer Chris’s highly rhythmic and playful banter that adds a breezy sensibility to the music before it veers back into the convulsive rants and guitar work of Rhys. Songs change tempo at will, guitars chords bleed out till all that’s left is a wall of sound, phrases are tossed out like daggers, and each jams’ build up will leave you reeling. For those looking to know what it feels like to barrel down a hill inside a trashcan into uncertain doom – this baby is for you. Grab it here.
Last, Rhys dirty fingers can be found all over Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes, the noisy shoegazing duo where Rhys plays alongside Marquee VII’s lovely voiced Cee-Q. The 7’’ spilt from Genjing Records entitled You Don’t Love Me features the bands heart-breaking bittersweet single from last year’s release as well as a extended remix from the Huashun Unit, the killer Shanghai production team of Laura Ingalls and Clement Pony. It’s a devilish little number, which Josh Feola’s describes as sounding like ‘it was written and performed by Enya’s evil twin for some kind of nefarious ritual’. Hells yes – grab the 7’’ vinyl over here and catch Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes one last time next week, Saturday June 7th at XP.
Something tells me Rhys will be just fine back in the outback. Best of luck.