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[Music Monday]: Back On That [Chinese] Rock

Music Monday heads back to the mainland with four straight nights of Chinese bands, with tunes from White+, Glow Curve, Hiperson, and ANWIYCTI.
May 25, 2015 | 14:26 Mon
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 Hiperson play Yuyintang on Saturday

Easy breezy Shanghai cover girls. In recent weeks my Music Monday column has featured too many foreign acts. That is flipping lame sauce. It’s about time we got back into the world of Chinese rock, which is in full swing this week. Thursday we have White+ playing the Voltage Divider gig at Dada. Friday is Modern Sky post rock giants Glow Curve at Yuyintang. Then Saturday is a personal favorite with the indie rock band Hiperson playing Shanghai for the first time, also at Yuyintang. Finally, on Sunday, straight from Hong Kong we have another big–name indie rock band who go by ANWIYCTI playing at -- you guessed it -- Yuyintang.

First, a little weekend recap.

I caught our main man Damacha’s new set at Shelter last Friday and have nothing but good things to say. He has been working on a concept album for the past few months and the result is nothing less than groundbreaking. Look out for that guy to put our little 24 million strong hamlet on the map. Saturday night was a fun one with the last Rat On show in Shanghai at the art / club space Factory 54. It’s always nice to do live gigs at "not live–friendly" spaces. Of course, the police were called but not before all the bands finished, so all in all a success. I wish Nathan the best of luck in Bali -- hopefully you didn’t lose all your retirement money renting the gear for that show. On Sunday at the new Basement6 space, I caught the new Chinese band Red Scarf with lots of modular hardware, loud-as-fuck drums, those gong things on strings, a wood wind section, and distorted guitars.

Also over the weekend was another glimmer of hope for the local Shanghai rock scene with the band Forsaken Autumn opening up for post-rock mega band This Will Destroy You. I thought they were a new band but turns out they had a short–lived introduction in Shanghai back in 2011 before disbanding. The singer Ecke had a child since then but it looks like they got a decent babysitter, because Forsaken Autumn is back in full swing and killed it at Mao Livehouse. Check out this new song from their Soundcloud, which doesn’t do justice to their hard-hitting live set. If you come across Forsaken Autumn on upcoming bill, make sure to turn up early for these Shanghai shoegaze spinsters.

Forsaken Autumn – "Soft Wing"


A big one down at Dada this Thursday with five live electronic acts performing at the Shanghai launch of the Voltage Divider night, which started in Beijing a few years back. Dada has been doing more live sets and this new party will happen every two months with a focus on the experimental side of electronic life. Headliners White+ from Beijing features members of Carsick Cars and The Gar. Their style is hard to pin down, probably because they have often changed lineups and styles since forming in 2004.

For their Thursday set, expect the unexpected. I’ve seen them four or five times and it’s never the same. Also on the bill is FM3 from Hong Kong, who you may know from the infamous Buddha Machine project. He's performing a collaborative piece with Beijing based drone pioneer Charm. Also doing a live set is Shanghai based Soundspade, who is the organizer of the event along with Peng Zhuang. The Beijing Voltage Divider parties are known for extensive visuals and Thursday’s Shanghai edition has promised to provide even more projectors to do damage to your poor retinas.

White+ - "silver"

White+ - "reD"

Glow Curve

For nearly ten years, Beijing’s Glow Curve has been running circles around China’s ever–expanding post rock scene. The project started out as Maze, who were heavily influenced from bands like Wang Wen from Dalian. After the name change to Glow Curve, they dropped their debut album NOJIJI to much melancholy joy from China’s post rock community. After a few more years on the touring circuits, Modern Sky signed them and they flourished with the wider support of China’s biggest independent music label.

The members of Glow Curve are also active in Beijing's experimental electronic scene. Guitarist Xing Jiangbo has a side project titled iimmune, which varies from glitch to IDM to techno. I’m surprised this show is at Yuyintang and not Mao or another large venue, but that’s better for us fans. If you are a fan of post–rock or just interested in the Chinese music scene, this show is a guaranteed doozy.

Glow Curve – "Floating Mountain"


The winner of ‘Sacco’s Show of the Week’ goes to incoming Chengdu outfit Hiperson. They just dropped a full length album on Maybe Mars titled No Need for Another History and have more hype then surrounding them than that new pulled pork sandwich at KFC (which is delicious by the way). The five angular rockers from Chengdu spent the past year developing their sound and playing around China, then traveled to Beijing to record this full length for Maybe Mars, which label head Yang Haisong recorded.

You might notice a strong similarity between the Hiperson sound and Yang Haisong’s main band PK14. Don’t blame Haisong’s recording technique on that, as the band drew comparisons to PK14 long before they met. Some have dubbed Hiperson's singer "the female Yang Haisong", which is in no way a slight. I’ve listened to the album maybe ten times now and just love it. Some songs are more obvious in their like-ability and some take a few listens. Keep it coming kids.

Hiperson – "You Don’t Need Sacrifice Your Innocence Here"

Hiperson – "Reaping"


What is this? A little Sunday gem from Hong Kong? Hey it’s been three solid nights of rock, why stop at Saturday. Apparently they are hot shit down on the Cantonese Delta and after watching a few of their videos it’s clear these kids have their shit together. The ANWIYCTI sound leans more towards alt rock with a little bit of post–punk thrown in for good measure.

Probably one of the most unique elements of the band is the three bass one drum no guitar setup. Not since the infamous Spinal Tap song "Big Bottom", which also features three basses, have I seen such low end. They do use some synth elements that help mellow their chaotic transitions.

A New World if You Can Take It is their full name, and even though it’s hard to pin down the exact style, they have many dark elements that peak my interest. Muster up that last bit of weekend energy and check out their Sunday set at Yuyintang.



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.