Montreal act Braids perform at Yuyintang on Thursday
Greetings Shanghai and welcome to a little place I like to call anytown PRC. Now is the time to throw away those USA flag short shorts and return to that pure red love. Word on the street is last Saturday’s Low performance at QSW was the show of the year and you most likely missed it. There is a new promotion crew called Orion bringing in bands and they are off to a good start as that post rock gig was one for the record books. The stars were aligned with no issues on the band getting into the country and the sound was solid as usual in QSW. Around 90% of the 200 or so concert goers were Chinese which is a little surprising since the band is so well known in both Europe and the Americas. Most likely the new promotion startup Orion lost money as if you book Low that means their kids must be flown over with them on top of the road crew which as you can imagine makes the whole show bottom line pretty pricey.
Unfortunately, we live in times were EDM gigs can command thousands while even the biggest dinosaurs of this Paleolithic form of music called rock n roll is lucky to command a couple hundred audience wise. Well I never liked crowds much anyway so let’s continue on with my rock show suggestions of this week. Before all that I’d like to mention an experimental showcase at Inferno on Friday from Shanghai upstart Bipolar Records. Inferno has recently become the hotspot for these experimental acts and American expat label head Adam Cah has been at the forefront of the bookings. Friday features the first Shanghai performance from Eli Osheyak which I’m very curious about along with recent Red Bull Music Academy participant Pan Daijing. Then you have Other, Aming, and Zhu Songjie breaking hearts and turning knobs to fill out the bill. If harsh noise and crazy beats are your bag, then that’s the show for you.
Coming to us from Montreal-via-Calgary is Canadian dream pop aficionado magazine cover girls Braids. It seems over the past few years I’ve been hearing more and more amazing bands come out of Calgary, such as Women and Viet Cong. My mental image of Calgary is pretty much just one big hockey rink.
After the release of their debut album Native Speaker, the band ditched the ice rink for the French speaking ways of Montreal, where they still reside today. That Native Speaker album met with critical acclaim and many were expecting the band to be an updated form of Animal Collective, but not wanting to be pigeonholed they went the opposite direction with the next album Flourish II Perish, which is more electronic with minimal elements. That album proved more difficult to tour with as it was more of a conceptual piece written on computer and they received some backlash from their purest indie rock fans.
Currently Braids is touring in support of their third album Deep in the Iris, which continues on with their chillwave campaign. While musically the album is closer to Flourish II Perish than Native Speaker, the new album has larger sense of warmth. Throughout their existence Braids has always put out deeply personal music and I’m pretty excited to experience it in person at Yuyintang on Thursday. Thank you Canada.
Braids – "Taste"
The Machinery Of Other Skeletons
If you are looking for a no holds barred metal slug fest then Friday’s Machinery of Other Skeletons EP release gig should quench your blood lust. Hmmm Machinery of Other Skeletons is kind of a long name. The abbreviation is TMOOS but I’m not sure how that is pronounced. For productivity sake let’s just imagine the abbreviation is pronounced T ~ Moose.
This will be the second EP released since last July’s Beyond the Circular. While their new EP coming out Saturday has live drum recording, the first album featured computer drum programming which I’m finding more common in the metal and hardcore scenes (both in Shanghai and abroad). To be honest I didn’t know that was even an option and makes me want to take a stab at that black metal project I always wanted to record and not show anyone. Basically, recording drums properly is both expensive and requires a high level of expertise to achieve the desired sound. Vocalist Ivan Belcics says the next album will most likely have a combination of live drumming with triggers to reach the proper level of pain.
While the new EP titled Static Fades is officially the band’s second EP, they released a remix album last December featuring various China-based producers like MIIIA, DJ Caution, and Beijing’s thruoutin. That album is really fun as it took producers from different types of music scenes (hip hop, classical, techno) and gave them a chance to re-interpret a metal song, which for most is not any of their primary genres. The full EP will be released on the TMOOS Bandcamp page later this week but just this morning they dropped a little sample titled “CHUG” fresh of the virtual presses. Also I’m including a remix track from MIIIA, enjoy!
The Machinery of Other Skeletons – "Chug"
MIIIA – "Blackness (Blacknexx Remix)"
Centaurs is a show series I’ve been wanting to feature for a while now and lucky for us they have another installment this Saturday at Yuyintang. This is a conceptual gig from the minds of Han Han of the band Duck Fight Goose and Yuyintang owner Zhang Haisheng. I talked to Han Han last night about the concept and he had this to say;
“For now we choose bands based on one rule -- it's not pure, in terms of genre. If you are just very minimal avant-grade, or simply drone music, or anything that could be easily defined, then it might not be the right band for the show. I call this future fusion, kind of like fusion jazz, but broader. Like centaurs, they are mythical creatures, and you can't say it's a horse or a human being, but it's something there, though mostly in a magical context. I think that is the concept of the centaurs series. If you are afraid that people can't get your music because you have so many different styles, don't worry and you don't really have to be only focus on one kind of music, embrace your difference, come and join the family of centaurs.”
The primary focus of Centaurs is to shed light on Shanghai acts as Han Han explains musicians here are too complaisant and lack the motivation to form a strong community. Saturday features Han Han’s Gooooose along with Jum Ei Zu, Give Band, and Dong Heimu, who is from the band Nonplus of Color. The show's flyer art was created from fractal generator software which reflects that randomness of the shows yet still a common thread that binds them together.
To me local musicians like Han Han and Heimu represent Shanghai in her best form and hopefully they encourage more local kids to pick up that guitar or Roland drum pad. Check out this Gooooose Remix of the classic WangWen track Welcome to Utopia and make sure to head down to Yuyintang on Saturday for the third installment of Centaurs. Note: Centaurs is a free show that starts at 10pm but there is an early show 8pm show at Yuyintang the same night which is 80rmb. So basically don't show up early.
WangWen – "Welcome to Utopia (Gooooose Remix)"
White man came across the sea, He brought us pain and misery, He killed our tribes, he killed our creed, He took our game for his own need.