Dense minimalist electronica, noise rock from one of the scene’s most underrated bands, an invigorating fresh take on post rock, and a big ol’ middle finger to Uncle Sam – it’s the newest releases to hunker down with this week including the latest from Gan Jian, Streets Kill Strange Animals, GriffO, and Bastards of Imperialism.
Unsung heroes of the underground rock scene in Beijing (and China for that matter) – Streets Kill Strange Animals return with their sophomore album, McDKids, off of Modern Sky Records. Intense, visceral, and cerebral, the band relishes in the seedy underbelly of noise rock, with more than enough post punk musing and demeanor. Leng Mei continues to be one of the city’s best lyricists, capturing strikingly the dark resonance of an increasingly unrecognizable and ‘carnivalized’ city. And while musically, the band knows no bounds – jumping from shoegaze slow jams to post hardcore firebombs with ease – it remains one of the most assured albums of the year. Jump out of the pot and into the frying pan already. Xiami/Douban/163
Hangzhou post rock band, GriffO, reintroduces themselves to the world with their latest EP, Cosmos Egg, a wonderfully intricate piece of work. Crossing over into some deep math rock territory, the best way to describe their four-track release is innovative. The way the ethereal vocals bridge one angular melody to the next, the shoegaze rhapsody that bubbles beneath the manic verve – there’s a fusing of styles here that feels fresh and invigorated. In a genre that’s often over populated with monotony, GriffO have wisely veered off the path. Definitely a band to keep an eye on. Xiami/Douban
Politically charged Beijing based punk outfit Bastards of Imperialism bring their anti-establishment variety show to record on their debut Homeland Insecurity. And just in time! Capitalism, drone warfare, modern day autocracy, the N.S.A and even the T.S.A – no institution of power comes away clean from the shitstorm that frontman Daryl and company leads listeners into. Dig the theatrically and cohesiveness of the album – one could easily imagine it being turned into off Broadway production (with roughed up, wear for tear muppets of course). And while most of it is focused on the USA, it’s all too easy to connect the dots and hear the deafening devastation of our society today. Rage out over on bandcamp.
Yearning to dip out of your headspace for a well. Look no further. Beijing based sound and visual artist Gan Jian, brings his minimalist soundscapes to beautiful fruituion on his latest digital release ripple. Known for integrating glitch, ambient, dub, IDM, and techno, there’s a control that the artist extends over his creations here that’s hypnotic. Your ears have no choice but to engage and be patient. It’s an aesthetic that rewards both careful listening and background playing. Now if only we got get the visuals to go along with it. Dig in over at bandcamp.