Wanna know a little secret – if you type a recent Chinese album’s name along with the word ‘zip’ or ‘rar’ into baidu chances are you’ll hit a direct download for said album – just a little something for you kids out there who loathe using xiami or douban to listen to the latest. Cause I can’t recommend enough checking out the latest releases including my new favorite thing, a EP from Zhangshan indie rockers Summer Can’t Fall Asleep, as well as the latest earworm from Hangzhou-based electronic wonderboy Chenchenchen. Also, the latest from Mongolian-infused metal heads Ego Fall, and two offerings from the ever-prolific Djang San. Get at it.
Well this one came out of leftfield – Zhongshan, a bit north of Hong Kong, is now home to one of the best debuts to come out of China this year. The band – Summer Can’t Fall Asleep. The album – zzZ. Give it a listen – back yet? How awesome was that. The four piece band fronted by the immaculately voiced Kwan is in a league of their own here – six tracks of stripped-down indie rock and roll that’s brimming with life. From the voice, to the instrumental work, even the subtle addition of backing vocals on a few of the songs, this baby works like gangbusters. Somebody, anybody, get these cats up here already. I need to see this. Purchase it over here.
For those looking for a little electronic innovation then I highly recommend checking out the latest EP from experimental electronic musician Chenchenchen entitled The Mist (疑云). The Hangzhou-based artist who is also part of the electronically-altered indie rock trio Spice (who release two great EPs last year) was been creating bonafide soundscapes since 2009 has created some truly lush soundscapes which weasel their way into your ears – dense, eccentric and not afraid to take its time, a must have for anyone interested in electronica. Give it a listen.
For something a bit heavier, we head back to Beijing, where metalcore outfit Ego Fall has released their latest dose of hard-hitting Mongolian-infused folk metal, Jangar, and boy, does the ethnic tones hinted at in their previous work take center stage here – tsuur flutes, horse-head fiddles, mouth harps – not to mention the backing vocals and programmed beats interspersed through the four tracks. Only thing that’s missing is the throat singing but when you got this much growling who needs it. And while perhaps the band is involving their traditions a bit deliberately (its all the rage kids!) it works for the most part, particularly on the closing track, which finds Yu Chao in full-on somber mode. Dig it over here.
Last, the mad Frenchmen Djang San struts it in his latest two offerings on bandcamp – first up, A Theory of Intelligence, a conceptual experimental project our main man cooked up while on a long train trip. The idea behind the album is to link music and philosophy, which is also available for your pleasure on his site. Cool beans. Usually philosophy makes me want to scream but this I can follow. I’m definitely veering toward raving lunatic territory. On the other side of the Djang San spectrum we have the latest works from the man’s East-meets-West folk rock outfit – Tofu Electrique. Recorded at Yang Haisong’s studio, the 11 track album is a great showcase of the lavish vibrant instrumental talent Djang San and company (Steno and Carlo on bass and drums) continue to exhibit – usually it’s the pleasant melodies created on the zhongruan or the virtuso guitar work displayed further into the album, there’s plenty of sheer talent to go around. Give them a listen over here.