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[Music Monday]: Dengue Hormones And Japanese Puppets
Chengdu electro rock, Peruvian tropical bass, and Kobe acoustic legends on this week’s Music Monday. Plus an interview with a puppet.
By Nov 3, 2014 Nightlife
Music Monday is a weekly SmartShanghai column, serving up songs from bands living and making music in China (or coming to China, or thinking about coming to China, or whatever). Copyright holders: if you would like your song removed, please contact us here, and we'll honor your request promptly.

[Chengdu band The Hormones playing at Yuyintang on Tuesday]

Welcome to November Shanghai. Nothing like heading into work with two day old glitter still stuck in places glitter should never go. Also trying to untag those pictures of yourself in drag before the boss finds them or worse your mum. Yes, it’s the Monday after Halloween weekend. Time to pick up the pieces of humanity and coast through winter until spring time comes knocking on our door like Sherpa’s will be doing on mine every night until April.

For those who pour haterade all over Halloween insisting it’s all one big frat boy orgy, if you had looked a little closer in Shanghai there was independent Edgar Allan Poe inspired plays, nostalgic live shows, doggie benefits, quite a few decent DJ gigs, or house parties with friends. But alas Halloween is not for everyone and even for lovers of the dark arts like myself I think we can all say thank Lucifer it’s all over.   

Moving on with the business of rock Shanghai has a few notable live acts coming into town this week that just might ruffle your feathers. First being the all-girl-but-don’t-call-them-a-girl-band Hormones playing Tuesday at Yuyintang. Following that on Thursday is a live set from Peruvian trouble makers Dengue Dengue Dengue! at Arkham. Then on Sunday take it down a notch at Mao Livehouse with some sweet acoustic tunes from Japan’s Depapepe.

The Hormones

Chengdu band The Hormones have embarked on a Chinese tour and are landing in Shanghai on Tuesday. You’ll be hearing a lot more from these five electro-rock loving ladies as this tour is in support of their first EP album Elephant. With the pop sensibility of Beijing’s Nova Heart, the backing of well respected promotion group/label New Noise, and let’s face it, five pretty girls, this band has all the ingredients for success. New Noise, who basically run post-rock in China along with The Little Bar, has helped the band put together this first EP and book over 15 dates being played in just a few weeks.

Formed in 2011, bassist Ming Ming who writes all the songs had to search out a new vocalist as the original singer went on to work at a bank. That’s where Zhu Men Die comes in wielding her acoustic guitar and passion into the bands dynamic. Half of the band are classically trained musicians and in their short span together have already played some festivals and bigger shows.

Time will tell if they get swept up in the not-so-fast-paced world of the Chinese corporate music playing a mall opening or car launch every other night. Even though there are advantages to being a good looking girl group, I can imagine the disadvantages of having many people brush them aside as having no substance can be frustrating. My suggestion is head down to Yuyintang Tuesday and decide for yourself if the eco conscious band can really rock. 

Hormones - 1 Minute Preview

Hormones - Elephent Live on SoundStage Show

Dengue Dengue Dengue!

Straight out of Lima, Peru you have a couple boys who go by the name Dengue Dengue Dengue! and pretty much run the psychedelic dancehall scene that side of the pond. Keeping heavy elements of Cumbia in their electro sets, DDD are one of many South American artists melding traditional sounds with fancy new electronics. Just from Peru alone you have artists like Animal Chuki and Elegante raising the digital cumbia bar. What is nice about these fresh electro sounds with deep roots is that hopefully kids will seek out the original samples and inspirations breathing new life into a rich history of funky South American beats.

The legend goes Cumbia is the bastard child of Colombian natives alongside African immigrants learning accordions brought over by Germans. The 4/4 missing link of Salsa and Reggae, modern Cumbia replaced the accordion with guitar, flutes, and recently synths. SmartShanghai has pre-sale tickets for this one at 70RMB.

Dengue Dengue Dengue! – Simiolo


A little Japanese down home surprise gracing the Mao stage this Sunday at 8pm in the form of acoustic duo Depapepe. Just two good ole boys laying down sweet soulful guitar riffs to the hungry masses since 2002. You have Mirua Takuya who goes by Depa and Tokuoka Yoshinari who goes by Pepe and boom, Depapepe is born. Now on Sony Music, these kids move units selling hundreds of thousands of albums and also appeared on anime soundtracks in Japan. Yes if you’ve ever watched the popular anime series Honey and Clover you’ve heard Depapepe right there on the second season DVD.

Here's a weird ass interview with Depapepe by a puppet and Japanese girl in a witch hat. There are no translations so just have to imagine what the fuck that puppet is talking about.

The fun loving boys mostly play as just a duo but also are known for putting on shows that include a large backing band. The range of their music goes from upbeat energetic jams to highly contrasted contemplative love ballads putting even the happiest short skirted school girl into tears. They have come a long way from busking on the streets of Kobe and have came even a longer way to see you this Sunday. This one will run you about 250RMB which by Japan standards is pretty cheap but here in Shanghai that’s still pretty steep.

Depapepe – S.E.L.

Well that’s your Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday laid out. If you're looking for Saturday action I highly suggest the DIY film event BYOB at 1933 (7:30 – 10:30pm) then Dubbel Dutch at The Shelter which features a DJ set by Hashback Hashish.


This column is written by DJ Sacco, who runs Uptown Records, Shanghai's dedicated vinyl shop. Ironically, they don't sell Mp3s or dabble in anything digital, instead they have 7" and 12", EPs and LPs from rock to electronic, rare pressings, DJ equipment and band merchandise. Find them in an old bomb shelter at 115 Pingwu Lu.


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