Pop, punk, folk metal, and post rock —- we’ve got it all this week for our latest look at some of the hottest new releases to hit shelves recently including new work from Sparrow, Hell City, Tengger Cavalry, and the Life Journey.
One of Beijing’s unsung post rock champions, Sparrow, looks to be getting their due finally with their third release, The Man Who Watches Scenery out now. The EP finds the quartet, which formed in 2008, in fine fighting form, creating complex, dense, and ultimately warm canvas for which listeners can engage their imaginations. Sparrow’s pull has always been with their unflappable sincerity and wholehearted approach to the genre and their latest is filled to the brim with this kind of sentiment. Mini soundtracks to stirring vignettes which only you know. Bash in the innocence and take in the view – you won’t be disappointed. Spin it here and here.
Remember Tengger Cavalry? Of course you do! The pagan metal outfit were at the forefront of the second wave of Mongolian metal bands to hit the scene several years back, and one that I predicted would go on to bigger and better things. However, Tengger Cavalry went on hiatus due to the band’s frontman , Nature Ganganbaigal, heading to the New York City to get his master’s in music. Since there, Nature has gone ahead and rerecorded and expanded on the band’s 2010 release Blood Shaman Sacrifice, which hit shelves via Metal Hell Records last month. Recording each of the instruments himself, the album is a much more polished, refined version of the band’s signature vast nomadic Mongolian-infused death metal. It even dials back the ‘death vocals’ found in the band’s previous releases, giving the whole endeavor more of a soundtrack vibe (which makes sense considering Nature is studying film scoring). Nevertheless, it’s good to know Tengger Cavalry is alive and well, and by the amount of media attention this baby has been receiving, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tengger Cavalry back on their horses in the next year or so. Spin it here.
Mohawk wielding, boot stomping punk Molotov cocktails Hell City continue to hold the punk torch (and ignite anything or anyone in their path) with their latest EP, Chaos Has Never Stopped. Six original punk ditties, plus a cover of Blitz’s ‘No Age’, it’s a fast and furious collection of metal-tinged punk that rarely leaves one room to catch their breath. It’s an embodiment of everything punk – from the crass no nonsense titles (‘Chaos PRC’, ‘Drunk Bastard’) to the crunchy melodies which come swift, and the guitar solos aplenty, there’s a bluntness in the band’s latest that feels appropriate. Relish the noise over at their bandcamp and check out the band alongside Unregenerate Blood, D-Crash, and The Demonstrators at Temple on June 19th.
One more for all you sweethearts out there – the Life Journey – which was the first band I discovered in Beijing and therefore will always get a pass – have just released B-Side. The Guangxi-based pop-rock band who signed to Modern Sky in 2004 has been going strong for years, amassing hordes of young listeners to follow their every which way. Their track ‘So I Do Not Sing Again’ was one of 2014’s hottest tracks on Douban. So yeah, while there’s a bit too much tender loving on these tracks, there’s nevertheless some pretty solid tracks, particularly ‘Question Mark’, ‘Drive’ and ‘Sleep’. A surprising amount of restraint (i.e. no pop overload) leads the band to one of their most rounded releases in years. At first I thought the album was a collection of b-sides but actually it’s more of a comment of the dual nature of time. Whatever the case, I’m impressed by the choices the Life Journey are making. Spin it here and here.