Sunday, March 16, 2008
Music in Beijing: Young and Tender
My brother (living in London) sent me an article from The Guardian about the BJ music scene. I was pretty tickled that the author was detailing a quirky show which i had attended some while ago.
The scene is definitely alive and happening and, optimistic people feel, burgeoning and breaking out. There's definitely hype around BJ bands who are totally deserving of a Pitchfork Review, whether it be good or bad.
A couple weeks ago i went to see these BJ bands New Pants and Queen Sea Big Shark (a horribly translated name, i read somewhere). And i had a good feeling about everything when in between bands they played this CSS song that i love. New Pants were a pretty comical brand of electro-pop, and QSBS had this crazy shakin' skinny girl of a singer, who sounded bizarrely NYC. Maybe a surfy sort of Le Tigre.
Check this episode of Sexy BJ about women in music. It features Atom (named after Astroboy's size and power), the cute-as-a-button hardcore drummer of my fave local band Hedgehog. She's too cool. It's so funny to hear the Hedgehog frontman say that she's the one everyone wants to see.
Punk rock is very very big in China right now, though i'd hardly call it the cutting edge. Think about it. You've got a country where the masses were musically deprived for decades, and then suddenly they have access to as much as they can handle.
Also you've got a population which is suddenly able to express itself more freely than it's ever been able to. No kidding you've got a lot of angry people who want to yell and shriek for the first time, and a lot of people who are willing to listen to it.
Do what you gotta do folks, and power to you, but sorry that music isn't my speed rt now, not to mention punk is a sort of musical early adolescence.
But there's still enough other people who are doing more experimental and innovative music. And some of it's not so innovative, but hell it can still be great.
i think China's music scene is in a stage of crazy development. The Sex Pistols and Ramones were making their mark in the late '70s, and i kinda think that's where China is too. The Pistols and the Ramones had to pave the way for new ways of viewing music, paving the way for more sophisiticated artists. The likes of Beck, Wilco, Broken Social Scene, etc all owe their inspirations to a comprehensive understanding of music, history and culture. China may not have everything under its belt now, but hey, give 'em another 6 months. Then we'll see where they're at.