Before we get the ball rolling on my year-end list, let’s get some new releases out of the way, including the latest We Are Shanghai compilation album, the newest from Chengduan folk metal group The Samans, a spilt from Shanghai rockers Pairs and Stegosaurus?, and of course it wouldn\’t be 2014 without the latest from drone advocate Noise Arcade. Enjoy.
Oh Shanghai, you so organized. Three years and counting, the ‘hard-at-work’ artists have compiled yet another extensive collection of the music that’s been making headlines down south. We Are Shanghai Vol. 3 – twenty-nine tracks reflecting the diverse and eclectic scene, including favorites Reykjavictim, The Other, Spill Your Guts as well as recently defected Rainbow Danger Club and Death To Ponies. But really, it’s a nice way to catch on what Shanghai’s cooking and figure which band we gotta bring up here next – I’m thinking Air Walker! Download for this bad boy for free here, and if you’re in Shanghai be sure to check out the release party, featuring ten of the albums participants at Yuyintang this Friday, January 18th.
Changchun-based folk metal outfit The Samans have earned quite the following since their formation in 2007. Their latest Lionheart continues to follow their love for all things Celtic, Viking, and of course metal. And while it most certainly lacks the punch their live performance garners, I dig the composition and detail given to melodic drive. Utilizing electronic samples that could of easily come across as cheesy, the album really does invoke some epic imagery. And plus, it’s nice to hear some folk metal that doesn’t feel the need to go the Mongolian route. Grab it over at Indie Music.
Jumping back to Shanghai, rockers Pairs and Stegosaurus? have joined forces and have jumped on this year’s hottest trend, the spilt release. Splits Don’t Work, features the two bands covering each other songs, as well as an original from both. It’s gloriously lo-fi, to the point where one wonders if they’re just pulling our legs here – heck, Xiao Zhong’s voice is barely audible on their cover of ‘Stinky Tofu’, whereas on ‘Parasites’, none of the singers biting lyrics are lost. Stegosaurus?’s cover of ‘I Wanna Die In The Ocean’ fares a lot better, an unhinged mess of emotions. One thing’s certain – this deserves a live show. Grab the freebie over at bandcamp.
Last, time for a little Noise Arcade loving – collapsing on itself is the latest release from the drone analog catnapper and as always, it’s a headtrip, albeit a faster paced headtrip from the artist’s usual MO. Schizoid even. Five tracks of densely packed soundscapes which is either going to get your through your workday (there is something surprisingly calming at times about the music) or make you want to tear your hair out. Your move – grab it over at bandcamp.