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[Music Monday]: Ten Up And Coming Chinese Bands

A locals only musical walking tour with ten bands from ten cities. Tracks from Nonplus of Color, Hiperson, Gate to Otherside, Ghost Bath ...
By Feb 16, 2015 Nightlife

If you are reading this article that means you are one of the unlucky souls whose work won’t let you off a couple days early to go hit that Bali beach with the rest of your kind. This will be my sixth straight Chinese New Year staying in Shanghai and to be honest I can’t wait for you to leave. Sure, a part of me wants to be on a beach somewhere, or meeting my girlfriend’s parents for the first time in Lanzhou. Also, the personal relationship formed with my McDonald’s delivery guy does get a little, let’s just say unhealthy. But the work one can accomplish in the Utopian ghost land that is Shanghai circa Chinese New Year will astound you.

During last year's break I generated one golden idea after another, like a record label that gives away all the music, a restaurant that just serves Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches, and – get this – a bar that replaces all the waiters with a large scale model train. It takes about 2-3 days of isolation from humanity for these gems to start forming, so just be patient.

Today we are going to travel from Guilin to Hangzhou to Chongqing and back again finding the best new bands in each city. There are some damn good Chinese bands on this list so take the time and check out their Douban pages for proper previewing. Btw all these bands are either completely Chinese or feature Chinese members. Yes that’s right, if your band is all foreign then I’m not featuring you, deal with it. It’s not my fault you haven’t made any Chinese friends in the five years you’ve been here.


Nonplus of Color

From: Shanghai
Genre: Psych Rock
Band Website: Douban

These shoe gazing psych rockers that go by the name Nonplus of Color are one of the sickest bands out in Shanghai now. It's fronted by the lady killer Heimu (formally of Himdong) and supported by bassist Bai along with Kiwi drummer Daniel Nagels. You might remember Daniel from the crazy popular band So So Modern. They toured here like a year ago and I guess Daniel just never left. Heimu has put his heart in this project and I look forward to seeing the new EP. Shanghai needs more bands like this!

Nonplus of Color – Live at Yuyintang


From: Chengdu
Genre: Post Punk
Band Website: Douban

Hiperson represents a new generation of fresh-faced indie rockers not afraid to break out of the post-rock grip that has taken hold of China. Proving once again there is something special going on out in Chengdu, I’ve been hearing about Hiperson for the past year but yet to see them live. If you listen to their Douban tracks you’ll find their range goes from post punk to indie pop to experimental. Hiperson needs to drop a vinyl record ASAP so I can wear out it the fuck out. They are just one of those bands you can listen to over and over without getting bored.

Hiperson - "海朋森"

Hiperson - Live in Chengdu by The World Underground

Ghost Bath

From: Chongqing
Genre: Black Metal
Band Website: Bandcamp

I don’t know what the hell is going on with Ghost Bath. They are one of the craziest black metal bands I’ve ever heard yet remain a mystery. Since I can’t find any pictures without their face scratched out I’m guessing it’s an expat band? However since they are based in Chongqing I’m going to assume there is at least one member is local. Ghost Bath has been receiving glowing reviews from metal sites across the globe and hopefully will start a wave of black metal mass movement that ravages our great land.

Ghost Bath – "Golden Number"

The Fallacy

From: Xinxiang (Henan)
Genre: Rock N Roll
Band Website: Douban

The Henan province suburbs just got a lot more rock n roll with The Fallacy holding court over Xinxiang. These three kids drink beer by day and play punk by night without apology. They remind me heavily of a pure late '70s / early '80s post punk sound that can’t be faked. Recorded by the king himself Yang Haisong, the first vinyl release of The Fallacy came out on Genjing Records last summer. If you get a chance check out these wild stylers live, they put on a mean show.

The Fallacy – "时间追杀"

Gate To Otherwise

From: Beijing
Genre: Indie Pop
Band Website: Douban

Yes, yes, Beijing with your countless new bands and your ladies that drink harder than me. I was going to mention the new project from Beijing legends Snapline and experimental group Soviet Pop called Spy Rat 51 but there are no recordings yet. Instead I’m going to share some straight up sweet indie pop from the band Gate to Otherside. Just good ole fashioned indie rock from drummer Sun Heting of Carsick Cars and his girlfriend Jiang Mengyang from Free Sex Shop. I’m pretty sure these kids have listened to Jesus and Mary Chain before and I like it.

Gate to Otherside - Live at XP

The Fuzz

From: Xi'an
Genre: Post Punk
Band Website: Bandcamp

Formed in Xi’an back in 2010, the Fuzz have been steadily becoming one of China’s most popular rock bands. Of course it doesn’t hurt that they are on the mega label Modern Sky and headlining festivals like Strawberry on a yearly basis. They just released a new two-song single titled "Golden Cage" that hints at a slightly darker, more brooding direction. Well brood away Xi’an boys, brood away. Some call the band a poor man’s P.K.14 but I think they have a sound that’s distinct and hope the kids keep it up.

The Fuzz – "西安"

Chinese Football

From: Wuhan
Genre: Indie Rock
Band Website: Douban

Oh just because it’s Wuhan you thought I was going to share some hard-edged SMZB or AV Okubo style punk? Well those days are over and Wuhan is a nicer, more indie pop friendly environment and that’s where Chinese Football comes in. Actually their sound is not so far removed from the band American Football. But hey what’s in a name. These fun loving indie kids lay down a solid Brit-Pop style of rock that has Wuhan coming back for more each week. If you are passing through the dystopian Wuhan make sure to look Chinese Football up at their favorite venue VOX.

Chinese Football – "守门员"


From: Guangzhou
Genre: Indie Pop
Band Website: Douban

Having found out that yourboyfriendsucks started playing shows again I thought this would be a good chance to feature the Guangzhou kings of lo-fi. A couple years back I got to hang out with the band during a practice session and was impressed by their DIY stance on music and positive aspirations. However, Guangzhou is a hard place for live musicians and their hiatus has left a hole in my heart. They mostly play a brand of heartfelt indie folk / pop but also can show their harder side live. Let’s hope they make it up to Shanghai soon.

yourboyfriendsucks – "The capital of Poland is Shanghai"


From: Hangzhou
Genre: Art Rock
Band Website: Douban

Hangzhou you arty little Zhejiang gem. YuRen represents everything about Hangzhou perfectly. Although musically they are not my style the band is probably one of the most famous outfits to come from the city by the lake. I do appreciate their cult like approach to live shows and singer La Dadong does bring the on stage antics. Besides fronting Yuren, Mr. Lu has been featured in modern and traditional calligraphy art shows around the world along with publishing multiple books. This guy runs game.

YuRen – "已得夫人"

Miss Woman

From: Guilin
Genre: Post Rock
Band Website: Douban

Miss Woman has actually been around since 2006 and rocking the Guilin peaks with their brand of instrumental built up rock. Hey these kids were doing post-rock before it was cool so give 'em a break. Also it would be unfair of me not to mention at least one post-rock band. It might be fashionable now for writers (like Josh Feola) to distance themselves from China’s favorite new genre but screw you I like long boring drawn out songs that take five minutes to get to the point. Damn now I wish that I could be in Guilin instead of this concrete jungle. Make sure to check out Miss Woman’s Douban page because this live track here doesn’t really do them justice.

Miss Woman – "Live"

Have a cool holiday! Never change! I hope I see you next semester! Remember me always!



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  • boilerladd

    ' be honest I can’t wait for you to leave.'

    We think similarly

  • ty_canadian

    Ghostbath is amazing, but pretty sure it's just a bunch of studio albums. No info about them having ever played a show.

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