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[Music Monday]: Kick Out the Winter Jams

Tons of good stuff on Shanghai stages this week. It's time to... kick out the (winter) jams, motherfu-
2015-12-07 14:09:46
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.

Packed house at Mao Live last Friday for a solid show with Battles & Moon Duo. More photos in our party pixx

Well, the KTGA Winter Market is over and I'm back sitting behind the counter of my family convenience store, staring at the puppies in a basket gracing my computer desktop background. The winter market was actually a positive experience despite the burnt-out abandoned mall setting, cold draft blowing through the place, and DJ Cavia’s mall playlist that kept rotating back to Pharell’s "Happy" one too many times. All the vendors were in good spirits, tons of good food stands, and enough shoppers to help cover those table rental fees. Back on Yongfu Lu, the cold snap has slowed down foot traffic on the block and I haven't seen a punter in my store for hours. Despite the lack of distraction, I'm still drawing a blank on this week’s article. Just as I'm ready to give up and just start drinking the day away -BAM- a customer walks in. Oh, wait, it's not a customer at all; it's a young street-team kid, braving the elements to hand out gig flyers around Shanghai.

I didn’t even know person-to-person promotion still existed but these live show flyers are just what I need for some Music Monday material. So, from flyer stacks at RnB: we've got on Tuesday night, a saucy two-piece British instrumental math rock band whom go by the name "That Fucking Tank" playing the Yuyintang stage. I had never heard of That Fucking Tank before but after listening to a couple of their Bandcamp albums I'm sold. Will have to check that out. Continuing with the week, Friday has two solid shows in the form of Split Work’s Perfume Genius concert or you can feel out your experimental side with legendary minimalist composer Carl Stone performing at Yuncai Cafe. Finally, on Saturday we have a live PA set from heavy hitter Daedelus of Ninja Tune / Brainfeeder fame. Not too shabby Shanghai, not too shabby at all. Now let’s check out some tunes from these.

That Fucking Tank, Tue @ Yuyintang

Image Source: Artist's Facebook

That Fucking Tank are a couple lads from Leeds that are in a serious bromance. Their love for instrumental rock started when they met in primary school and eventually lead to the forming of That Fucking Tank. Since 2003 they have been spreading that math rock like a plague across Europe in the vein of similar acts Lightning Bolt, Death from Above 1979, and the Fucking Champs. The boys don’t just lay down sweet riffs but also run a small rock label Obscene Baby Auction that has a focus on post-hardcore and keeping that DIY spirit alive. A couple of the notable Obscene Baby Auction roster includes the brutal hardcore band Young Conservatives and the more introspective outfit Nope who play longer drawn out ten plus minute songs.

Even though That Fucking Tank work hard at building and maintaining a DIY rock scene they have a softer side that comes out in their song titles like the Chinese tour 7” that goes by the name Chumbawambanger. On top of that you have back catalog songs like Bruce Springstonehenge and Keanu Reef that are just pure gold. Don’t forget about side projects like the drummer’s punk rock band The Magnificent who tear up the West Yorkshire countryside. Make sure to brave the cold streets on Tuesday night to check out That Fucking Tank playing Yuyintang. Let’s just hope they brought some of those sweet vinyl records from their label to sell.

That Fucking Tank - "Making a Meal for Beethoven"

That Fucking Tank – "Chumbawambanger [Game_Program Remix]"

Perfume Genius, Fri @ QSW

Image Source: Artist's Facebook

Our favorite home-town independent promotion group and festival organizers Split Works have been busy lately hosting a steady stream of quality touring acts on top of their Woozy Offline club gigs. This week, Split Works are stepping up their game bringing in Mike Hadreas aka Perfume Genius to the QSW Culture Centre stage. The Seattle based singer, songwriter, and artist has been performing under Perfume Genius moniker on his last three albums. Back in 2012 Hadreas signed to the highly respected Matador Records and has been headlining large shows and festivals ever since. Recently he also toured as the opening act for Interpol which doesn’t hurt on the old CV.

Musically, he performs soulful electro pop on the same level of gender bending forefathers like Antony and the Johnsons. His songs are intimate in nature yet still contain large symphonic productions that should play well on the QSW sound system. The latest album, titled Too Bright, deals with Hadreas confrontation of becoming a gay icon and the pressures of the public. Pressures like the struggles of going through an identity crisis of what people want him to be and staying honest inside. Human condition, be yourself, kind of stuff. Check out this interview on Stereo Gum from last year that dives deeper into said topics. For now, check out some of Perfume Genius songs below and decide if ya want to shell out that 180rmb at the door or try and figure out how to use Split Worksonline payment provider for 140rmb pre-sale tickets.

Perfume Genius – "Queen"

Christine and the Queens – "Jonathan (feat. Perfume Genius)"

Carl Stone, Fri @ Yuncai Cafe

Image Source: Artist's Wikipedia

It’s Friday night and you want to get weird. Now, do you really want to get weird or are you just saying you want to get weird? 'Cause if you really want tackle the strange and unknown, then make sure to head down to the parkside café Yuncai for a experimental show featuring Tokyo-based artist Carl Stone, supported by Peng Zhuang and Soundspade. Not many experimental artists playing today have the history that Carl Stone has. Performing his brand of strange electronics since the 1970s, the American studied composition at the California Institute of the Arts. While he was at CalArts, Stone was in charge of “backing up” rare records from around the world onto tape. During this process he discovered that it was possible to mix these records together making a new music from a collage of avant-garde, electronic, jazz, and world records. This guy was looping and mixing way before anyone from the contemporary electronic or hip hop scenes.

Since 1988 when Stone was awarded his first residency in Tokyo, he has been splitting his time between California and Japan. Into the 1990s, he switched to primarily using a laptop and incorporates field recordings to create his far-out sounds. Being partially based in Japan so long has lead to Stone working with some legendary Asian musicians like the pipa player Min Xiaofen. I love me some pipa. It’s hard to say what Friday’s show will include but check out this live session recording from last year to get an idea of what will go down in the parkside café. When there is good weather, you can see a nightly parade of hundreds of aunties dancing in a line past the large café windows. It’s awesome.

Carl Stone - Live at Ftarri 06-06-2014

Daedelus, Sat @ Shelter

Image Source: Artist's Facebook

Another huge booking down at The Shelter in the form of LA-based sound scientist Daedelus playing Saturday night. The last few years, Daedelus has really came into his own releases records on labels such as Ninja Tune, Anticon, and, more recently, Brainfeeder. Like Carl Stone the previous night, Daedelus is not running amateur hour either, having studied jazz at the University of Southern California School of Music. Over the years, he has developed a various electronic styles both utilizing hardware and conventional instruments alongside laptops. This cut-and-paste techno artist often plays with the likes of fellow Los Angeles artist Flying Lotus, who recently killed it at his Shanghai show just a few weeks back. Also, his production work can be found alongside the likes of The Gaslamp Killer, Prefuse 73, Subtitle, and our good friend Mochipet.

Daedelus has been able to straddle the worlds of hip hop, experimental, jazz, electronica, and indie rock putting his own abstract spin on a seemingly chaotic sound that if you try hard enough the structures will appear. With his strongest roots in trip-hop it’s not really appropriate to pigeonhole the Daedelus sound, either you like or don’t. An artist who knows the value of showmanship expect a dandy 18th century outfit or circus face paint to be in the mix. He's got some style. Saturday night Daedelus is performing a live set at Shanghai’s Shelter club and it is destined to go down in the history books.

Daedelus - "Eureka"

Kneebody & Daedelus - "Platforming"

Well, shucks, listening to all this incoming live music has made me tired. I’m going to stay in bed until Wednesday and watch Broad City. See you on the streets of Shanghai after that friends.


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.