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Carsick Cars


(Maybe Mars)

Carsick CarsFor their third album, Beijing’s Carsick Cars — per­haps the pre-emin­ent Chinese indie rock band — trav­elled to New York to record under the watch­ful ears of pro­du­cers Peter Kem­ber (formerly of Space­man 3) and New Zealand’s very own Ham­ish Kilgour, drum­mer to The Clean (pos­sibly the most influ­en­tial indie band of the 1980s and 1990s).

Open­ing with the sun-kissed euphor­ia of ‘Wild Grass’, 3 sees Carsick Cars expand­ing on their repu­ta­tion as China’s answer to Son­ic Youth. While the abras­ive noise tones, hero­ic gui­tar ges­tures and pound­ing rhythms this com­par­is­on sug­gests remain, pop melod­ies and major-key hooks join the fray, shav­ing the harshest edges off their gal­lop­ing grooves, crys­tal-toned riffs and fuzzy gui­tar solos.

As a vocal­ist, guitarist/singer Zhang Shouwang is in fine form — as is his fret­work — some­thing his bilin­gual per­form­ance makes clear in a num­ber of ways. Be it the faded, shouty sing-along of ‘15 Minutes Older’ or the yearn­ing pas­tor­al pop psy­che­del­ica of ‘Wei Cheng’, he con­tin­ues to impress. The same is true of bassist He Fan and drum­mer Sun ‘Mon­key’ Het­ing, who con­struct a robust pock­et, which while exper­i­ment­ally rooted, ulti­mately serves to sup­port the over­all vibe. Impress­ively listen­able, 3 is a beau­ti­fully access­ible body of work.


Dada Baba



Dada BabaThrough­out 一半 GREASY 一半 JUICY, Hong Kong-based quar­tet Dada Baba cham­pi­on a lo-fi post-rock sound­world, which while rooted in Chinese folk songs bru­tal­ised by avant-garde noise, also shares aes­thet­ic sim­il­ar­it­ies with the psy­che­del­ic folk and proto-art rock of 1960s US music titans Love and The Vel­vet Under­ground, respectively.

With front man Tam Ka-kit and drum­mer Lau Hei-lok deploy­ing yearn­ing vocals and fast-paced pound­ing rhythms, gui­tar­ist Car­los Lam Wing-yat and bassist Iris Heung Cheuk-yu paint in rich col­ours and strokes. Mov­ing in uni­son, they gift us with sev­en beau­ti­ful songs, which while famil­i­ar, artic­u­late invig­or­at­ing jour­neys com­pletely and utterly their own.

No One Remains Virgin

Life F**** Everyone


No One Remains VirginOkay, let’s get the ele­phant in room out of the way first. Yes, this is a con­tro­ver­sially titled album by a con­tro­ver­sially titled trio. No, shock value isn’t all they have, as No One Remains Vir­gin (NORV) soon reveal on even a curs­ory listen through Life F*** Everyone. 

Formed in reac­tion to sickly sweet Chinese pop music and the sup­pres­sion of Hong Kong under the Com­mun­ist Party of China, NORV pos­sess a palette informed by 1990s shoegaze rock (think Slow­dive and My Bloody Valentine) and the haunted dream-pop of Broad­cast and the Cocteau Twins. They’re polit­ic­al, and they sure can play.



{equal unequals to equal}

(White Noise Records)

Picture for Features, Sunday Review. Album of Week - tfvsjs band album cover tfvsjs "equal unequals to equal". UNDATED HANDOUT.   [29SEP2013 REVIEW, Note: tfvsjs is correct spelling]While Hong Kong post-rock­ers tfvsjs are 10 years strong as a band, {equal unequals to equal} is the only album they have released in their time togeth­er. Thank­fully, it’s a beau­ti­fully eleg­ant jour­ney through some of the most com­plex yet access­ible songs I’ve encountered with­in their region­al music scene. Pre­dom­in­ately instru­ment­al, their music leans on multi-part inter­lock­ing gui­tar lines, spir­ited rhythms and edge-of-your-seat dynam­ics, lead­ing to listen­ing jour­neys, which while pro­gress­ive, are nev­er prog for prog rock’s sake.

Out­side of music, tfvsjs run a café/drum store/band rehears­al space in Kwun Tong. It spe­cial­ises in Itali­an food, pol­ished wood sur­faces and a sur­pris­ingly tran­quil ambience.

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