A slew of great music coming to town this month. Hard to keep track of it all. So we made this handy dandy list! Hip hop, electro pop, indie rock, punk rock and more on Shanghai stages in May.
May 5: Peanut Butter Wolf
Los-Angeles based DJ and founder of independent record label Stones Throw Records, Peanut Butter Wolf's been spinning bold, technically masterful hip-hop beats since 1984. Best known for his record collection, themed vinyl sets (including an extended, marathon 12-hour set at Boiler Room on December 12, 2012 get it), his video DJ shows spanning decades and highlighting rare and vintage footage, and his role as music supervisor on the seminal A Tribe Called Quest documentary "Beats, Rhymes & Life." His music's old-school, head-bobbing hip-hop cut with just about anything he likes. 120rmb pre-eales, available here.
May 10: Rhodes
Singer-songwriter David Rhodes, known by his stage name RHODES, hails from Hertfordshire. Since his first single in 2013, he's gone on perform with the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Sam Smith, Hozier and London Grammar, played live at Christopher Bailey's Burberry catwalk shows, and racked up an impressive 47 million views on YouTube for his single with Birdy. His music is poignant and introspective, and his his soft, soulful voice and ethereal guitar riffs hint at a tenuous just-barely-keeping-it-together-ness that's deeply relatable. He's in Asia on a short break from recording his next album, making a stop at Yuyintang in May and trying out new songs for the first time. Expect an evening of tunes in the vein of Jeff Buckley. Tickets are 120rmb, available here.
May 11: The Cribs
UK cult indie darlings The Cribs are gracing Shanghai's Modernsky Lab with their ultracool brand of punky, sincere rock. A criminally underrated band, the three brothers Jarman have gathered a massive underground following since 2003 for their DIY attitude, powerful sound and humble personality. Expect huge choruses, hand waving, driving guitar riffs, thickly-accented screams for more, and some of the most memorable lyrics in indie-punk history. On support duties will be Shanghai's own punk-rock outfit Dirty Fingers. Pre-sales, 180rmb, available here.
May 15: Shigeto
Shanghai music scene stalwart Zachary Shigeto Saginaw, better known as Shigeto, is hot off last year's release of 'The New Monday.' The nine-track album was dedicated to the shows he'd put on regularly in Detroit, showcasing both his trippier, more abstract work, as well as diverse, jazz-infused, lyrical and melodic collabs with artists such as ZelooperZ and Silas Green. Wherever he draws his inspiration from, Shigeto keeps the final track laced with the infectious beats-driven, atmospheric mood he's known for. The Michigan-born artist is hitting up Yuyintang in the middle of May for a one-off performance. Pre-sales 80rmb, available here.
May 17: Tove Lo
One of Europe'ss most promising recent pop singer-songwriters, Tove Lo blasted straight to no. 3 on Billboard's Hot 100 with her very first single, the heartbreaking Habits (Stay High). You've probably heard it. You've definitely heard it. Her first platinum debut Queen of the Clouds hit No. 14, and since then, she's continued writing and singing her own bruised, battered and authentic style of pop, earning her the nickname "the Saddest Girl in Sweden." MTA Festival's bringing her to China in support of her third album, Blue Lips. Expect dark, intense lyrics and grand pop sound from an artist who famously said, "it's okay to be pissed off or depressed... we shouldn't be so scared of our emotions.” 380rmb pre-sales, available here.
New Noise presents this trio of acclaimed Icelandic musicians, coming to the Shanghai stage for an evening of special solo sets, culminating in an ensemble performance of the collaborative album "Team Dreams." The album was a year-long labor of love/absurdity, where the artists from Reykjavik committed to writing and releasing a song within a few days, once a month, for a year. The result is a seamless melodic journey that defies the ridiculous free-form improvisational creative process that created it. Their folky, emotive future-pop is inspired by the likes of Iceland's electronica icons múm (co-founded by Örvar Smárason), featuring Sóley’s ethereal soundscapes and Sin Fang's powerful pop anthems. Perfect for music lovers who believe 'quiet' can be more powerful than loud. 100rmb pre-sales, available here.
May 20: Iron & Wine
New Noise hosts an exclusive China show for one of the biggest contemporary indie folk acts in the world today: Iron & Wine, in Shanghai. Sam Beam, under the alias Iron & Wine, performs with his full band and plays a special show featuring songs from his rich catalogue, consisting of classic albums such as “Shepherd’s Dog” and his latest grammy-nominated effort “Beast Epic”. It's been five live albums, numerous EPs and singles of distinctly cinematic songs that've topped the US Billboard charts. Sam brings Iron & Wine full circle on his sixth album, using the warm acoustic instrumentation of his early work and some of the most moving singing of his career. They've got a nearly cult-like following, but perform live very rarely – maybe that's the trick to staying mysterious? Whatever the reason, it's kind of a big deal they've chosen to play Shanghai. 280rmb pre-sale, available here.
May 20: Nils Frahm
Nils Frahm works as an accomplished composer and producer from his Berlin-based Durton Studio. His unconventional approach to an age-old instrument, played contemplatively and intimately, has won him many fans around the world. For a musician this early in his career, Frahm displays an incredibly developed sense of control and restraint in his work, catching the ear of many fans. In August 2015, Nils announced his continued musical partnership with fellow artist Ólafur Arnalds which culminated with the release of their ‘Collaborative Works’ in October 2015 and included ‘Stare’ (2012) their very first recording together which took place in 2011 between Reykjavík and Berlin, featuring cellist Anne Müller. ‘Loon’ a synthesiser-led 5-track EP that was recorded in autumn 2014 across five days at Nils’s Durton Studio in Berlin. ‘Life Story Love And Glory’ (2015) a 2-track live improv affair on two pianos and ‘Trance Frendz’ (2015) the audio recording of their intimate 45-minute studio film. 480rmb and 680rmb tickets left, available here.
May 26: Split Works pres. METZ
“Bold, unsympathetic and brutally effective.” – NME. “One of the best… a punishing, noisy, exhilarating thing” – The New Yorker. “They sound pissed off, which I fuckin’ like” – Liam Gallagher. METZ are punk rock incarnate, as those who were there for their last China shows know too well. They are an empathic but artful hammer swing to the status quo. Pure yet intricately arranged redline chaos. Their music is uninhibited and urgent, a kind of sonic venting, a truculent social commentary that bludgeons and provokes, excites and unsettles. It’s important noise. They're playing the new Yuyintang Park w/ Ugly Girls on support. 120rmb pre-sale; 140rmb door. 9pm, tickets available here.
June 8: Devandra Banhart
“New Weird American” artist Devendra Banhart first attracted international notice with his 2002 debut album, ‘Oh Me Oh My… The Way the Day Goes By the Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs of the Christmas Spirit’—a collection of recordings he had made for himself. Subsequent albums have won massive musical acclaim and cemented the Venezuelan America singer-songwriter as one of the key artists of the ‘00s. His ninth studio album, Ape In Pink Marble was released on September 23, 2016 on Nonesuch Records. 280rmb to 680rmb tickets, available here.