Some big big releases coming those the airwaves these days – the return of yaogun greats Tongue; the emergence of soon-to-be folk sensation Moxizishi , the latest power pop anthem out of Shanghai, Xiaoxinyiyi, and a nicely put together compilation from the folks at Maybe Mars and XP. Get at it and relish the tunes.
Beijing-based Yi (that’s southwestern Sichuan) musician Moxizishi, has been steadily making a name for himself these past few years. For starters, he’s collaborated with Dou Wei, one of China’s scenes heavyweight veterans. On top of that, his work ahs been performed on The Voice of China. If that wasn’t evidence enough of the waves this young man is making, then let his debut Open Country speak for itself. The twelve-track album is a masterpiece – one that takes utilizes a lot of the traditional Yi minority music features, prominently, rhythm and vocal stylings, but takes an almost improvisational approach to the poetic lyrics spilling forth from the singer. It’s a delicate piece of work that takes its time, finds comfort in the unlikeliest places, and never takes a false step. It’s literally seeped in life. Purchase it here and listen to it over here. Ladies and gentlemen, meet 2014’s folk artist of the year.
One of the yaogun scene’s most important bands to come out of Beijing, Tongue, has returned. After going on a hiatus in 2009, the band quietly reemerged in 2013, playing festivals here and there, the band has ready to give rock n roll a piece of their mind. Their newest album, Mama, Let Us Take Flight, Let\’s Rock\’n\’Roll, is an re-imagining of the band’s previous work. Which essentially means you’re getting a whole lot of old Tongue songs with a make-over – which isn’t particularly a bad thing, considering how many of the ‘great’ yaogun classics sound dated. In fact, it’s a great entry point to what of yaogun’s more ambitious, lyrically ruthless, even off-putting bands. And though the bands funked up, stripped down re-interpretations don’t always work, it does lead to some interesting takes on the bands greatest hits. Plus, you get the brand spanking new title track, which is like the perfect ‘lighter in the air’ song. Preview it here and purchase it here.
Last weekend, Maybe Mars finally got around to releasing their latest compilation album, entitled The XP Sound – seriously, I remember hearing about this thing a year plus back. And yeah, pretty certain a few of these groups don’t even exist anymore. But I have to hand it to Maybe Mars – this a great collection – one that I wouldn’t expect from the indie label hotshots. It highlights a host of lesser known artists who deserve love, including one of my first loves, post punk outfit Me Too, as well as a kille The Dyne track, as well as some talent across the country, like The Maples and The Fuzz. Better still, most of the songs were recorded by Yang Haisong – so really I like to look at this as a Yang Haisong playlist. And that’s a damn fine thing. Give it a listen and purchase it over here.
Power pop gets its kicks down in Shanghai in the form of Xiao Xin Yi Yi (XXYY), the three piece band that includes fellow blogsmith Mike Herd. Their debut is PM250 and it’s a shameless throwback back to the high-octane punk pop rock and roll of my youth that feels fully embodied. It may not win awards for originality (one song gives me freakish O.A.R flashbacks), but boy does it sound like they had a great time putting this thing together. It’s a sugar rush of power chords and hooks, with some, once again, stellar production work from Laura Ingalls (R.I.P), and sometimes that’s all you need. The threesome releases their album this Saturday, September 13th at Yuyintang for all you Shanghai readers out there. Preview it here.