Here are three new homegrown albums from musicians around China on our radar this month.
1. Mountain of Time by FAZI
The Beijing-based indie record label Maybe Mars has become a major bridge between international music audiences and China’s underground, which is only reinforced by their first release of 2019, Mountain of Time by Xi’an-based post punk group FAZI. Coming up on nearly a decade of making music, their new two-track 7” was mixed and produced by Duan Xuan and recorded at Bangkok’s Stolen Studio. Both songs share a vaguely 80s rhythmic backbone, complimented by Jixuan’s vintage-sounding vocals and Mandarin lyrics. With their polished noise and reverberating guitar chords, FAZI feels at once before their time and ahead of the current wave. The last minute of ‘Ninja’ boasts the best of classic rock and cutting-edge punk. This month, the group embarks on their second European tour, and we’re impatiently awaiting their return.
2. We Are The Lights by Android Apartment
Five hundred years from now, you’re sitting in an upscale bar and being told, “It’s not too late to run away. Somewhere, the party’s still going strong.” This is the story, more or less, that futurefunk artist Android Apartment (Alberto Rojch) tells with his newest album, We Are The Lights. Mixing danceable beats with sophisticated synths, Rojch’s sound is tailor-made for those late-night hours when we’re suspended between yesterday and tomorrow. The album’s six tracks are dreamy and futuristic, familiar but far-off, and they break from predictable electronic numbers by featuring brass and Spanish-style guitar. Perfect for both bustling rooms and headphones, We Are The Lights reminds us of the importance of nostalgia and the power of modern funk.
3. Apart by Well Said
Emo punk group Wellsaid is releasing their latest album, which is set to drop on April 27, on Hong Kong’s DIY label Sweaty and Cramped. From their four pre-released tracks, it’s clear that when it comes to 90s indie music, Wellsaid knows their stuff. They’ve mastered the twinkly intro reminiscent of American Football’s ‘Never Meant’ and emo’s iconic now-pleading-later-screaming vocals, but their stylistic range and robust sound is entirely their own. ‘Spilling My Guts’ mixes lithe fingerpicking with punchy percussion to make a compact and cathartically angsty track, while ‘Devotion’ is a sparse lover’s ballad that’s unafraid of negative space. Despondent, disappointed and surprisingly relatable, Apart is a modern, mildly misanthropic nod to the 90s most-loved.
[Cover image courtesy of 88rising]