Xiao He – Silly’s Ballad – 19th July 2012

Cat #: 100TZM

It’s been 2 years since Xiao He’s bizarre double CD “The Performance Of identity” (2010) was released thru tenzenmen as catalogue number 050TZM, marking a half-century of releases for the label. As one of the most important avant-garde artists in China, his astonishing creativity doesn’t change or vanish with the passing of time, instead he becomes more distinctive and interesting. He keeps on playing his solo symphonies and “universal experimental folk”, which has gained him much appreciation and a glowing reputation. Xiao He and his songs have been to dozens of countries and whilst performing last autumn he jumped off the stage and broke his feet! This new album, Silly’s Ballad, was created while he was instructed to rest at home by doctors, with his feet set in heavy casts. Xiao He wrote all 12 songs with an acoustic guitar, he even recorded them while in bed and on the couch. The new album overflows with beautiful melodies and classic folk arias.

He writes of the album, “While I was recording [the songs], cicadas were tweeting, and sometimes even a plane passed by. I tried to record without any external sounds before by thickening the walls of my studio, but at the same time I was isolating beautiful things outside.” So, when Xiao He returned to write love songs again, he was inspired by diverse colours and sounds. Besides the self-deprecating title, natural feelings hide in every sentence of the lyrics, reflecting Xiao He’s wisdom and philosophy. The use of narrative poems throughout the album helps Xiao He express his mystical world in sounds and words.

More to the point, this being catalogue number 100TZM, marking the full century for tenzenmen, this folk album will be released in a very special and limited format: not on CD, tape or vinyl, but as a ‘musical artbook’. It is perhaps the first of its kind. This multimedia truly enables Xiao He’s creativity better expression. The artbook contains 12 different pictures of leaves, drawn by Xiao He in Zurich in 2010. Those leaves lay scattered on the mountain road Xiao He walked along every morning to exercise. The 12 songs correspond to 12 different leaves. High-end headphone brand 233621 has generously provided specialized custom-made headphones for this ‘album’. Furthermore, this musical artbook also includes three music videos that were commissioned to three up-and-coming and very talented directors: Yu Liwei, Yang Jin and Zhang Yuedong.

Xiao He expressed his wishes for the artbook: “I hope this album will become the glorious road along which a silly person is looking for another silly person.” 

Dear Eloise – Beauty in Strangers – 15th July 2012

Cat #: 099TZM

Dear Eloise is the side project of P.K.14 frontman Yang Haisong together with his wife Sun Xia.

Connoisseurs of DIY and lo-fi bedroom recordings the pair create beautiful melodies amongst layers of distortion. Playing all the parts themselves while recording and editing in their home studio they experiment with song structures and recording techniques their songs are interesting and layered while still maintaining a simple innocence.

Even though they do not perform live and have released their recordings rather inconspicuously, Dear Eloise has still managed to gain a loyal following in the Chinese scene.

Various Artists – Give and Take – 14th July 2012

Cat #: 064TZM

Give and Take is a compilation project initiated by us because we (Nervhous Records) think local Malaysian bands deserve the attention and exposure. We asked our friends’ bands to record a song for this compilation and this is the result. So, the bands on this disc represent just a small slice of the ever-growing local DIY music scene. As the title suggests, we need to have tolerance and respect towards each other and at the same time be opened to others, not only our little hc/punk friends circle.

This is a co-operative release between Nervhous Records, Red Ink Entertainment, Pissart Records and tenzenmen

Low Wormwood – Lanzhou Lanzhou – 8th July 2012

Cat #: 098TZM

The cliché goes that some geographical areas are synonymous with certain sounds: Merseybeat from Liverpool, for example, or grunge from Seattle. But it’s also the case that certain bands define their locales. Here, one tends to think of such acts as Arcade Fire, who did just that for Montreal with Funeral and The Suburbs. Such is the case with Low Wormwood, whose latest album, Lanzhou Lanzhou (their second licensed to tenzenmen) is perhaps a defining moment for both the band and the city of the title.

Unlike many bands from Lanzhou, this quartet don’t practise harmony- driven guitar folk. The metrics of this album depart from their early grunge and shoot for a less fiery but more coherent structure, coupling string-soaked flourishes of folk-rock with mundane lyrics about day-to-day living in Lanzhou. It borders on being a concept album, but the catchy rhythms manage to dilute the anthropological solemnity and make this something special.

‘Recording this album is almost like being in a relationship,’ explains lead singer Liu Kun. ‘When you love each other, it really burns. When you hate each other… well, it also burns.’

Boyz and Girl – 8th July 2012

Cat #: 096TZM

This four-piece shoegaze outfit quickly raced to the forefront of Taipei’s fast growing independent music scene – and for good reason. The completion of their warmly received eponymous freshman album has cemented their place in the hearts of an ever-growing fan base.

Though Shoegaze is hardly a new phenomenon, Boyz & Girl has found a contemporary home in the genre, due largely in part to their fresh sounds and mature songwriting. The raucous yet dreamy guitars of Jon, pieced masterfully with Sonoko’s artistic drumming and Guo Guo’s steady basslines, creates an impeccable balance with the juvenile youth and innocence discovered through BenBen’s vocals.

Keeping up with tenzenmen – 4th July 2012

New titles

Duck Fight Goose – Sports CD
Due: July
After their white vinyl 7″ here’s an album full of the wonder of Duck Fight Goose.

Low Wormwood – Lanzhou Lanzhou CD
Due: July
Low Wormwood’s 2nd album for tenzenmen is dedicated to their hometown.

Dear Eloise – Beauty in Strangers CD
Due: Mid July
A more subtle and nuanced outing for their second album on tenzenmen.

Boyz & Girl – CD
Due: July
Taiwan’s Boyz & Girl bring you their noisy shoegaze psychedelia.

Xiao He – Silly’s Ballad artbook with built in mp3 player
Due: July
The extra special Xiao He makes 100TZM extra special with this beautiful book containing audio and video!

Various Artists – Give & Take CD
Due: July
Co-operative release of 22 Malaysian punk and hardcore bands.

New photographs

Zita Grimm at Black Wire

As mentioned last month, I’m a little slow at editing the pictures I take but I had to get a recent batch out whilst they were hot as I had such a great time at this particular show which was to say Bon Voyage to Mitzi (Zita Grimm, Thylacine, Bare Arms) as she heads over to Europe to get some culture.
Check them out and post some comments to let me know what you think.

You can find all my pix here.

Packaging options

Maybe you didn’t know that tenzenmen also stocks Stumptown Arigato packs for CD, tape and 7″!

This month’s special

Scul Hazzards – Landlord
Get yourself the 45% off the SCUL HAZZARDs ‘Landlord’ CD by entering the code ‘scazzards’ at check out!
Offer valid til 20th July.

It’s pretty crazy this month at tenzenmen – there’s probably a few other releases making their way into the catalogue too so check back often!

Vote for your favourite release for the first half of the year here at the tenzenmen facebook page and add your voice to the conversation – your feedback is always appreciated.

Recent posts at tenzenmen.com

mere women ‘old life’ launch shows
idylls oz/south east asia tour for ‘farewell all joy’ lp
nikko shows for ‘gold & red’ album release
sunken seas – paid your price video

Mere Women tour dates
07 July Gasometer MELBOURNE
08 July Ritual Records MELBOURNE
12 July Terrace Bar NEWCASTLE
21 July The Waiting Room BRISBANE
26 July FBI social SYDNEY
11 Aug Yours and Owls WOLLONGONG

Idylls tour dates
07 July Crown & Anchor ADELAIDE
08 July Squatter’s Arms ADELAIDE

Hira Hira tour dates
20 July The Square, Haymarket, SYDNEY
4 August Venue TBC, MELBOURNE
5 August Venue TBC, MELBOURNE
11 August Yours & Owls, WOLLONGONG

Nikko tour dates
6 July Turbine Platform, Brisbane Powerhouse (6pm start)
7 July In-store at The Time Machine, Nambour (midday)
13 July Turbine Platform, Brisbane Powerhouse (6pm start)
14 July Waxing Lyrical, Brisbane Powerhouse (acoustic)
20 July Turbine Platform, Brisbane Powerhouse (6pm start)
21 July In-store at Tyms Guitars, Brisbane (afternoon)
27 July Turbine Platform, Brisbane Powerhouse (6pm start)
6 September The Phoenix, Canberra
7 September The Lass O’Gowrie, Newcastle
8 September FBi Social, Sydney
20 September The Empress, Melbourne (acoustic)
21 September The Old Bar, Melbourne
22 September The Metro, Adelaide

Nikko – Gold and Red – 3rd July 2012

Cat #: 106TZM

‘Gold & Red’ is an album characterised as much by its melodic grace as by its pervasive sense of doom – recorded in the cavernous orchestral hall of Brisbane’s historic Old Museum with Cameron Smith (Velociraptor, No Anchor), mixed by Aaron Cupples (The Drones, Paul & Dan Kelly, SNOWMAN) and mastered by Nao Anzai (Laura, Because Of Ghosts, These Hands). The nine songs here recognise a growing maturity and depth that has been brought to life by the considered approach to the compositions.

Ryan Potter – vocals, electric & acoustic guitars
Sam Whiting – bass
Jackson Briggs – electric guitar, slide
Blair Westbrook – drums, percussion

Piano by Daniel Kassulke
Violin by Adam Cadell
Cello by Elanor Khan

Recorded by Cameron Smith at The Old Museum & Browning Street Studios in Brisbane, June/July 2011

Mixed by Aaron Cupples

Mastered by Naomune Anzai at Reel 2 Real Mix Master

Photography by Archie Moore
Layout & Design by Sam Whiting & Bronte Coates, with thanks to Trent Evans

Special thanks to Daniel Kassulke, Cam Smith, Nao Anzai, Adam Cadell, Elanor Khan, Jacinta Walker, Trent “Big Dog” Evans, Shaun Tenzenmen, Bronte Coates, Luke Smith, Tom Noakes & all of our wonderful friends & family, anyone who’s ever bought a recording, come to a show or let us sleep on their floor, and the Brisbane & Australian independent music community. Cheers!

Alternative China – 2nd July 2012

Alternative China tumblr

Underground Baby, Liz Tung, World of Chinese, Live Beijing Music, Jia Huizhen, XP, Split Works, Chui Wan, Deadly Cradle Death, Yan Jun, Raying Temple, Soviet Pop, Torturing Nurse, Li Jianhong, Joshua Frank, Hot and Cold, Howling Into Harmony, Jingweir, Hot Cat Club, Xiao Rong, Brain Failure, Cocktail 78, Sikhara, Perpetual Motion Machine, Xiao He, Layabozi, Beijing Daze, David O’Dell, Inseparable, Old What Bar, Misandao, Red Rock, Yaogun, Jon Campbell, Artspace China, Rainbow Danger Club

Snapline – Future Eyes – 1st August 2012

Cat #: 107TZM

Back in 2009 Snapline started asking questions such as ‘if there was a future eye – what would it see?’ Would it see a dirty industrial city? A crowded street? A beam from a huge dome?

At this time Martin Atkins (PiL/Pigface) picked out Snapline to work with and create this album “Future Eyes” featuring 11 possibilities and thoughts.

The album was only released in the US on Atkins own label Invisible Records. Snapline, however, didn’t want to see it released anywhere else at the time as their own vision was constantly changing.

tenzenmen is proud to now make this recording available in Australia, at the same time as the latest Snapline album Phenomena – their own revision of the future eyes.