Joyside – Maybe Tonight – 28th February 2011


After a short break Joyside have released their final e.p. – a double disk with 6 new songs and a dvd – a documentary of their 2007 Europe tour.

Beer, cigarettes, hormones, pogo, restless, out of control, sorry…these words have appeared more and more often in the dictionary of cult youths. Vintage guys are everywhere in Gulou street and the girls who come to watch the show keep changing but Joyside still cannot be copied. 

Neon, polka dot, gorgeous peony, aurora over the city – the design of the new e.p. shows perfectly the temperament of the new Joyside – romantic, psychedelic, enchanting, beautiful with sorrow. Joyside desperately prays for the nice things in this new e.p. but sometimes, the dreams are disillusionment.

Joyside has really changed. Their music is no longer the weapon for resistance but the media to convey emotions. As a result, the melody is more fluent and the composing is more fruitful. 

Singer Bian Yuan keeps saying that life is meaningless. Humanity is meaningless. No light, no hope, cold, hard…..these are his usual expressions. But on the other hand, maybe these mean he has a shy and anxious desire for the warmth, light and love! The philosophy of Joyside is contradictory and repeating. They express love by chaos and break, or express despair by sweet and romantic. ‘The Last Song for the Endless Party’ will make you consider what a scene it could be? The last song for the endless party, the last kiss for the endless love. Life is short. We don’t know whether to live happily or to die sadly. 

We Can’t Help Kissing Each Other – Low Wormwood – 1st February 2011

Cat #: 046TZM

The band Low Wormwood (Di Ku Ai), which in the corner of Lanzhou, has got the unique pride and mind to view themselves and the world. Picking a wisp of wind from the Yellow River, scooping up a handful of snow from the Qilian Mountain, collecting a piece of sand from loess plateau, then mix them as a kind of style that is impassioned and forceful but not artificial, close to heart but not compromise. They use this kind of independent attitude to compose their music. Independent and psychedelic, based on simple ballad style with multiple instruments and variety samplings, together made their music strong experimental and national colour. They has won high popularity as they published an album and take around tour each year which not only makes them one of the most active and excellent domestic bands but also one of the representative bands of Lanzhou and northwest of China . 

We can’t help keep kissing each other, originally released in China in 2008. The poetic lyrics were blue and sensitive. Absolutely, lyrics were always the important part that they valued. Some more mature composed passages made their expressions more powerful and beautiful, but not deliberately luxuriant. The whole album focused on the individuals’ feelings in the changing environment, about some hope and despair, loss and obtaining, when the music developed as movies, you may feel familiar with some plots or have been experienced before. When the once radical angry rock’n roll music intends to become some consumer goods for idealism, their faltering monologue under emotions would enter your heart as an outstanding one among them. 

The new album had taken 6 months from choosing songs, recording in studio and to downmix. The former part was done by the experienced sound engineer Yuan Tianfeng from Lanzhou. And the latter part was firstly made by him then the more experienced mixer Dou Tiemin dealt with the post production and mix of the master tape.

It was particularly important to deal with the unique samplings and effects. It was also because of the contemplation of the band and sound engineer, they decided to deepen the integral atmosphere of the songs that appear in the record. The harmonica and harmony were all played by friends, who had tried their best. They made the album more excellent. It can be said that the whole album was elaborate produced by all the people who take a part in. 

I used to receive these one-sheets from Maybe Mars in Beijing and have to rewrite them from the Chinglish versions into something a little more comprehensible. But I opted not to even bother with this one, wondering perhaps if it would add some authenticity and make it more obviously Chinese.

SMZB – Ten Years Rebellion – 1st February 2011

Cat #: 045TZM

Founded in 1996, SMZB was one of the first punk bands to form in China and the first to originate from Wuhan, one of cities at the heart of China’s burgeoning underground music scene. Drawing their own influences from Celtic-inspired bands like Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, and transforming these influences in response to the massive and out of control social transformations taking place in their hometown and throughout China, SMZB is widely recognised as one of China’s most influential bands, whose fans include musicians from many of the most important punk and underground rock bands throughout China. Although they have produced five CDs to date, only the first one, released by Scream, was approved for sale in China, the rest were released only in Europe and North America. 

Originally a trio when they first began playing smoky clubs and small performance spaces in their home town, SMZB has subsequently gone through several member changes and, by the end of 2002, had evolved into a quartet. During the early years the band kept up a rigorous schedule of shows and tours throughout China and eventually abroad. In 2004 SMZB toured across Southeast Asia and in 2005 they completed their first European tour with the help of Norway’s October Party Records. In 2006 the band changed their line-up yet again replacing their guitar and bass players and adding a flute & tin whistle to complete the current five member line-up. Through these changes SMZB has grown and developed, smashing together in their music a mélange of Chinese influences, Celtic noise, and straight punk fury which has resulted in a unique style that is instantly recognisable. 

It is not just as musicians that SMZB has helped create the explosion in music that China is currently experiencing. Since the very beginnings of China’s underground rock scene founding members Wu Wei and Hu Juan have been active promoting shows, booking tours for foreign bands, and helping younger punk bands gain a foothold in the scene. Shortly after they were formed they founded the Wuhan Riot Group, a collective of Wuhan punk bands that was instrumental in forging the Wuhan underground music scene. SMZB continues to serve as role models for a whole generation of Chinese punk rockers and after ten years are considered one of the key bands in the explosive Chinese music scene. 

tenzenmen is proud to present SMZB’s sixth CD release, Ten Years Rebellion, which was recorded in Wuhan and mixed in Norway and is only their second CD to be released by an independent label in China (Maybe Mars). 

Joyside – Booze at Neptune’s Dawn – 1st February 2011

Cat #: 044TZM

Considered by many to be China’s greatest underground band, Joyside was formed by Xinzhiang refugee Bian Yuan in 2001, in a dark dank basement in the north of Beijing. After three years of playing small clubs in Beijing, literally for beer and cigarette money, they lazily released their debut album, Drunk is Beautiful, whose name comes as close to expressing Joyside’s ferociously decadent aesthetic as any three words can – they consider themselves to be bitches of rock ‘n’ roll, addicted to the music and the mad posturing of the pre-punk New York scene. 

The band consists of Bian Yuan on lead vocals, Liu Hao on Bass, Guan Zheng on percussion, and on guitar an astonishing young guitarist, Hong Wei, who was featured in a 2007 Rolling Stone article as one of the four most important guitarists in China. Along with their work in Joyside, the band members are actively involved in other projects. Both Bian Yuan and Liu Hao are members of Johnny’s Teeth, and Liu Hao also plays for Dog 13. Guan Zheng performs regularly with Linga and Believers, while Hong Wei has performed in number of one-off and experimental shows throughout Beijing. Bian Yuan’s acoustic performances are a mainstay at the famous Wednesday night Punk on Wood series at Beijing’s D22 club. 

It is hard to go to a Joyside show without ending up drenched in sweat – they rock ferociously and in the great tradition of outlaw rock they turn every audience into frenzy, especially as Hong Wei’s intelligent, subtle guitar playing suddenly breaks into a nasty, ugly crunch and twists around Bian Yuan’s singing. There are influenced by the full gamut of rock and roll history, completely at home with the early American rockers, the Mods, or the seventies punk scene, with particular influences being the Dead Boys, New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders, Sex Pistols, and the Stooges.