I guess I better think up a way to spend my time – 20th November 2010

I forget who made this poster now….? Own up! Maybe Marnie Vaughan or a Fag Panic?

25th Sept 2021 – When I look at the line up for this show I wonder how it happened! The initial inspiration was to put on a show for Mekare-Kare from Japan. I’m not certain how they got in touch with me now but possibly through friends in Perth. Struggling to find a venue, Dirty Shirlows were willing and able to help me out but it was a big space for an unknown band from Japan to try and fill so I came up with this crazy idea for an all day show.

I still don’t know how all these bands managed to pull together to make this show, except Spider Goat Canyon and Teratova, who got added to the bill at the last minute. Both these bands were touring together and were on their way through from a show the night before, to another show that evening and asked if they could play. They were happy to start the event off and didn’t need to be paid. They just wanted to be part of what was going on.

As the show date approached the Shirlows crew were getting jittery about law enforcement interest in the space and they mentioned that they had had other things go on in their space, such as film shoots, without any issue. So I hit on the idea that this wouldn’t be a show but a film shoot instead. Of course, 20 bands would be playing and the ‘paying’ audience would be the film crew. This was more a subterfuge cover than a directive and at the end of the day little film footage was taken.

I was generally busy running around making sure things happened when they were supposed to happen. People came and went and whilst it wasn’t the most successful event attendance wise, everyone got paid something if they had asked for it. Others were just happy to play and take part. There were so many great bands that night but for me Mekare-Kare stole the show. I’d never heard them before but they blew my mind with their complex and super tight musicianship. As they were tuning up and getting ready, the sound guy was growing impatient, telling them and me that they could start. But these guys knew exactly what they wanted and what they were doing. When they started their first song, jaws hit the floor (including the sound guy), soon replaced with joyful smiles. At least, that was my impression. Mid set, this crazy bass and drums two piece started circling around a duelling banjos theme before super-tightly repeating the whole piece together at an even faster pace.

The whole shebang was worth it to me just for this 25 minutes of bliss.

And to round things off East Brunswick All Girls Choir played a stirring set of their soulful rock which was lovely and poignant.

I’m still grateful for everyone who helped out with this show and all the wonderful members of the bands who played. There were no dickheads and luckily no cops. It was also Kevin Duo Jin’s 16th (?) birthday. A newly arrived scene protagonist who became a regular at these shows as he wasn’t able to attend bar venues.

25th Sept 2021 – Well, searching around the internet to remind me more about this day and I found this, which I had completely forgotten about and don’t even have a copy myself. I think I sent this out to radio stations and drop into records stores as giveaways.

From Two Point Eight blog by Dimity Katz:

An all day/night festy put on by tenzenmen featuring a really versatile line-up of mostly Australian bands from all over the country, but also a couple from Japan (full line up here). The idea was that people shoot videos and submit them to the YouTube channel, and in turn receive $5 off (the $20) submission, with the result being a bunch of footage at the disposal of all the bands I guess. I’m not sure how much of a success that part was, but it was a fairly enjoyable day spread across two stages so there was always something going on. I was mostly there to see The Native Cats in what was their first Sydney appearance. They played all new stuff and all good stuff and I wish more people hung around to watch them so they’d come back soon and play their own show, but what do you do (come back anyway). I also caught Fag Panic of whom I was at first very sceptical (could have done without the ‘wacky’ outfits) but pretty soon warmed right up to their tropical pop jams. Though they look like a novelty band their songs were actually really good, substantial pop music. I don’t know that it’s something I’d listen to at home, but they got people in a banana suit and what I think was a snow-pea suit to dance and that is awesome. These photos go: Fag Panic, Axxonn who seemed to be having a wonderful time with his synth (I didn’t mind it either), The Holy Soul (who have supported and played with the likes of Can’s Damo Suzuki but I wasn’t all that impressed), and then the Native Cats. I kind of left wondering when Dirty Shirlows turned into a hippie-haven, though. So much incense was goin’ on.

Fag Panic

Real-life evidence that this event did occur can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nUU5M1WQgM

Ya Aha – Novelty – 1st June 2010

Cat #: 042TZM

These folks approached me with an already pressed disc and wanting to be part of tenzenmen. I liked their music well enough though find the vocals a little lacking on this recording. Live they really killed it though. I often ended up working with folks that approached me for help regardless of whether I loved their music or not – sometimes not even listening fully until it was released. I figured if anyone thought enough of tenzenmen to want to work together then they were worth a shot.

Fanzui Xiangfa/Daighila – 1st June 2010

Cat #: 028TZM

The Fanzui Xiangfa / Daighila split 7″ came about after Fanzui Xiangfa’s 2009 SE Asia Tour. The two bands played together in Malaysia and Singapore discovering their common love for hardcore and devotion to the DIY scene. Fanzui Xiangfa’s side is a collection of newer songs in their typical oldschool style reminiscent of DS-13. While Daighila brings three raging screamo tracks that encompass elements from many different classic schools of hardcore. Taken together the split represents two of the most exciting bands from China and Malaysia.

Nikko – The Warm Side – 1st May 2010

Cat #: 036TZM

The Warm Side is the debut album from Brisbane band, Nikko. It is a collection of nine songs written over the past three years. The album was recorded in August 2009 at Black Box Studios in Brisbane by Melbourne- based engineer Naomune Anzai (Laura, Because of Ghosts) and Matt Taylor. It was mixed and mastered by Naomune Anzai at Reel to Real Mix Master in Melbourne. 

With its eerie yet beautiful guitar melodies, driving rhythm section and droning violin, organ and trumpet parts, The Warm Side encompasses an array of lush textures that create an engaging dynamic. This unique sound embodies what Brisbane has come to expect from Nikko, capturing the energy of the band’s well-renowned live show with the polish of Naomune Anzai’s reputed flair for treating atmospheric rock. This debut album is the culmination of years of solid gigging, self-recording and self-releasing that has seen Nikko refine their genre-blending style.

24 Hours – No Party People – 1st April 2010

Cat #: 040TZM

24 Hours are one of the most intelligent newcomers in China’s rock scene. Hailing from Xi’an, one of the four great ancient capitals of China, they create, in their own words, passionate rock and roll. Their music is often the reflection of the relationship among the three members: constantly-changing but always-intense. 

After relocating to Beijing in early-2008 they quickly dove into the city’s challenging sonic environment, becoming one of the city’s most prolific bands by playing several gigs per weekend, developing both a devoted following and attracting local media in the process. 

After two years together, the band released their debut album No Party People produced by Martin Atkins (PiL, Pigface, Nine Inch Nails) the famed Chicago-based producer who initially cut his teeth in Beijing producing Snapline’s debut LP, Party is Over, Pornstar. Using his unique style to capture both the rough and fresh feeling of their music, Atkins has succeeded in elevating their sound to an international level. The 8-song effort maintains the fury of their live sets while adding a dreamy sonic dimension awash in subtle nuances.

26th Feb 2021 – Another one of my dumb ideas – to release 4 new (to Australia) albums on the same date (see White, Snapline and AV Okubo). At least this time I just imported 100 copies of each from China, rather than pressing 500 of each in Australia.

AV Okubo – The Greed of Man – 1st April 2010

Cat #: 040TZM

Hong Kong experimental cinema, 80’s Kungfu movies, triad gangsters, Chinese and Japanese cartoons and China’s early space program all collide together in AV Okubo’s sound to create a weird kaleidoscope of modern Chinese sensibilities. 

AV Okubo’s combination of retro-amusements combined with deeper social critique, along with their ferocious dance rhythms, has quickly brought this young band to the attention of fellow musicians and audiences across China and got them a coveted invitation, even before the release of their first CD, to Austin’s SouthbySouthwest festival in 2010. 

Formed in 2006 in the dirty industrial megalopolis of Wuhan, AV Okubo has captured the eyes and ears of China with the members themselves living out their music’s conflicts of a changing society. Frontman Lu Yan (vox/keyboard) is an aspiring film director while Tan Chao (guitar) works a day job as a train engineer in a major steel factory. Filling out the band, Zuo Yi (bass) and Hu Juan (percussion) are both active in the local music scene, traditionally the home of China’s hardest and wildest punk scene. 

They have played with, and at times overshadowed, such bands as Orange (Uruguay), The 4 Sivits (Germany), Ratatat (USA), These Are Powers (USA) and Battles (USA).  Several large festival appearances, including 2008’s Modern Sky Festival and 2009’s JUE Festival, have exposed them to larger audience and their infrequent trips to the capital have become occasions for packed and crazy shows at Yugong Yishan and D22 attended by eager fans. In late 2008 the band set up in A-String, Asia’s largest studio, to record their debut album with acclaimed producer Martin Atkins. 

For the band, music is the half-remembered memories of growing up in the social construction project that is China, the places they’ve been to, the people they’ve met and things they’ve experienced along the way. New wave, experimental noise, disco punk, ultimately their sound smashes together everything they have encountered set to a massive beat. AV Okubo has grown up in the entertainment era. Neither punky criticism nor a complete overthrow of modern culture, they slide obliquely through a loophole and force on us their version of change. 

Australia’s world renowned Asia music specialist label tenzenmen brings AV Okubo’s debut release ‘The Greed of Man’ to these shores as the band rip it up in North America as part of the China Invasion west coast tour. 

White – White – 1st April 2010

China’s experimental music scene spreads it’s wings. Beijing’s White play SXSW. 

Formed by Shou Wang and Shen Jing, White has quickly become one of the most acclaimed outfits in the new Beijing music scene. White’s sound is ever evolving, spiralling outwards from the core stars of noise and minimalism to take in everything from the phase patterns of Steve Reich, the atonal chords of Glenn Branca, Throbbing Gristle’s aggressive electronic shimmer, Neubauten’s rhythmic invention, and the gu zheng masters of Chinese classical music. Their pieces can range from highly organized agglomerations of atonal chords that have an almost rock and roll ferociousness, to a completely anarchic attack of weirdly syncopated drum sounds derived from a chance encounter with old furniture or a dysfunctional machine. 

Shou Wang, who plays guitar, organ, toys, analogue pedals, drums, and effects, is a founder member of the Chinese new music movement ‘No Beijing’ and is the guitarist/vocalist for Beijing noise band Carsick Cars. Despite his extreme youth he is considered at the very heart of the new generation of Chinese avant-garde musicians, in 2006 flying to New York to take part in Glenn Branca’s famous No.13 recording “Hallucination City” for 100 guitarists. 

In 2005 he formed White No.1, a septet that paid tribute to the early work of Glenn Branca, and White 2J, in which he played keyboards. Finally he and Shen Jing, who had been admirers of each other’s music from afar and who shared the same passion for New York noise and kosmiche rhythms, formed White as an outlet for their more avant garde tendencies. 

Shen Jing plays analogue synth, drums, percussion, sampler, vocals, tape manipulation, and effects; she has been deeply immersed in Beijing’s music scene since 1998, participating in the vibrant explosion it has undergone in recent years. Until 2006, she was the drummer in Beijing indie/punk legends Hang On The Box, but since 2003, her work has increasingly demonstrated her own unique form of cosmic industrial noise.