7 Indie Labels Keeping Vinyl Alive in China

By Bryan Grogan, April 12, 2019

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In preparation for International Record Store Day, which takes place on Saturday, April 13, we've put together a handy guide of independent record labels around the country who have gotten into the niche of releasing vinyl records. Spanning the length of the country, these seven labels are vital in ensuring that vinyl releases stay relevant around the country. 

1. Qiii Snacks Records

Image via @hakhakmanufacture/Instagram

South China favorites Qiii Snacks Records have contributed greatly to the appreciation for vinyl of all forms in the indie rock scene. They’ve also grown a tendency towards turning foreign bands onto the charms of vinyl, as seen with Singaporean band Cosmic Child’s 「Blue / Green」 Lathe Cut 7” and Taiwanese act VOIDD’s 新月/礦石 Lathe Cut 7”. This year, the guys at Qiii Snacks Records will release a special edition lathe cut vinyl featuring two singles from Xiamen band Cheesemind, which will be on sale in Guangzhou and in Xiamen on April 13, or via the label’s Bandcamp page. 

2. Eating Music

Image via Eating Music/Facebook

One of the newer labels on this list, Eating Music packs a punch when it comes to distribution. Founded by Cookie Zhang, one of the people behind Shanghai Daily Vinyl, Eating Music are committed to distributing across various physical formats, mostly CD and cassette tapes at this point, though their vinyl releases include Knopha’s Nothing Nil and Jiafeng’s 蹦迪治大病 / 报菜名 7-inch release. 

3. Boring Productions

Image via BoringProductions/Facebook

Like Qiii Snacks Records, Shenzhen-based Boring Productions have played a key role in maintaining South China’s indie rock vinyl culture. While they’ve only just gone and put out a pair of unreleased songs by the awesome Chestnut Bakery, other excellent releases from the past 12 months include Odd F**king Gesture by Indonesian act Odd Gesture and EP by Scarlet’s Other Parts.

4. Maybe Mars

Image via Maybe Mars/Facebook

Maybe Mars had a strong 2018, with releases from a number of old and new favorites, including Snapline’s Shou Hua, PK14’s What We Talk About When We Talk About His Name and Hiperson’s She Came Back From the Square. Since the beginning of 2019, Xi’an band Fazi released their Mountain of Time record on vinyl (shown above) and Maybe Mars are putting together a Record Store Day compilation release which will go online on April 19, as well as a release party at Yue Space in Beijing on April 21. The RSD compilation will feature new tracks from PK14, Lonely Leary, Dear Eloise and Streets Kill Strange Animals. 

5. Genjing Records

Image via Genjing Records/Facebook

Recent releases from Genjing Records include a split 12-inch by Shanghai-based Alpace and Beijing-based Shas, as well as a split 7-inch from Struggle Session and Test.  Their vinyl clout runs deep, and Dormer is something of an advisor on the format, having helped out Qiii Snacks in their early days of releasing vinyl. Key titles on the label include Split 12” by Die!ChiwawaDie! and Struggle Session, I'll Be Your Mirror 7” by Dear Eloise and Split 7” by Little Monster and Negro Leo, some of which may be extremely difficult to find. 

6. Space Fruity Records

Image via Edward Sanderson/Facebook

Having begun life with some great limited 7-inches in the form of The Mold’s 4 Live Tracks in Obiwan Bar and Boiled Hippo’s Mystery/River EP, Space Fruity later jumped on the cassette format with Dolphy Kick Bebop’s epic Smoke a Haiku Cigarette. We think that’s great, but it could use more vinyl. Anyhow, having grown out of performance space and shop Fruityspace, their vinyl chops are pretty strong. 

7. Space Circle

Image via Wang Wen (惘闻)/Facebook

Largely a vehicle for new releases by Dalian-based acts Wang Wen and Ruining, although also home to Shaoxing-based Little Wizard, Space Circle released two of the best records of 2018 in Wang Wen’s Invisible City and Xie Yugang’s joint album with Serge Teyssot-Gay, A Nano World, both of which dropped on gorgeously designed vinyl. 

[Cover image via Unsplash]

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