Liu Kun – Hey, Young Man – 23rd September 2011

Cat #: 072TZM

Liu Kun, born in Zhelaizhai county after the 1980s, firmly believes that he is the descendent of a Roman soldier, who was besieged with his army during a war in Zhelaizhai two thousand years ago. He often dreams of himself being a soldier, raising his sword on a running horse, breaking open a way through brambles and thorns, however, wakes up to find his arms painful and aching, realizes that all was nothing but a dream. Anyway, he isn’t bothered by the mysteries of his DNA at all, because he finds art more fascinating. As a little boy in a town, he was never too eager to show himself by dancing, singing and playing drums and guitars, despite the rough stage of that little shabby theater. There he would feel like being in a dream once the lights were on. Years later, he went to Lanzhou for further education, and that was a university. He soon became a sincere and dedicated lover to drama, joining the school drama troupe, writing plays and acting on stage, he was full of energy to lead his company to success. And quite out of expectancy, a feature program was made for this energetic young man by the local TV station. Anyway, he isn’t bothered by this issue at all. It is the parents who were worried: Will you study ,study, or study? 

When graduation time drew near, he encountered a life-long buddy: Rock. Moved by his braveness, purity, and persistence, he followed this buddy onto the road of music, and realized that music is connected with soul. He established the band ‘Rust on the lip’ in 2003, which then got the present name, ‘Low Wormwood’, and became the lead singer. Every year he leads his band for a tour around China and has made several albums: <The absinthe>, <Low Wormwood>, <Upstream of Yellow River>, and <We can’t help kissing each other>. He plays football during part time, meets friends and makes plan for art exhibitions. Cooperated with the Barn Gallery in Lanzhou, he held a modern art exhibition called ‘Replacement’ in 2007, in which his works ‘Sound field in Lanzhou’ and ‘Talk’ were displayed, together with the works of Wang Dong, a young artist. He also planned an art exhibition of sound and devices in 2009. 

He met Michael, boss of Maybe Mars, on his tour in Beijing during October 2008. Their ideas on music are unbelievably alike, so he then joined Maybe Mars and co-founded with Xiao He the folk music brand ‘Maybe Horse under Maybe Mars. He published his first record <Hey, Young Man> in 2010. 

• 2003 formed the band Low Wormwood in Lanzhou 
• 2007-2009 modern art exhibition “Replacement” held in Lanzhou 
• 2009 formed Maybe Horse as a unit of Maybe Mars Records 
• 2010 debut album released Hey, Young Man 

Dear Eloise – The Words That Burnt – 1st April 2011

Cat #: 056TZM

It’s not surprising if you haven’t heard of Dear Eloise. They are a mysterious band known by very few people. But once you have listened to their songs, they will be branded into your heart. 

The band came out around 2007, no definite date. It’s just an extension from a simple idea. Dear Eloise are Yang Haisong (P.K.14’s vocal) and his wife Sun Xia (P.K.14’s former bassist). No more words are needed, you will know how fantastic they are. 

In their new debut album, 8 songs, like 8 journals, are the monologue of frail, words that were burnt. Not only is the melody as pure and beautiful as a childish rhythm, but also the background is as noisy as an aged guitar factory. However, the songs have delicate fluctuations and layers similar to a possessed river, the water of which keeps flowing without stop, while rumbling in marvelous dark and light colors. After silence is demolished by noise within a second, a sweet but defenseless angel appears on the ruins with a peaceful and merciful look. She has a voice like a beam of light. Besides, her white feet moving in the darkness not only seem to be a piece of poem flowing in summer, they also sound like mumbling in cool well water or under large shades. In addition, the noise is performed magically and mysteriously appears to build up like looming rain drops. In this aural atmosphere of dimness, the swinging lights bring discomfort and anxiety . 

For most people, it is a brilliant album. What is rare is that it attracts people with its’ innocence and purity. Let’s imagine a picture in which the stars scald the sky and we crouch down on the lawn, stretching out our necks putting pressure on our knees. We look up to the dim but exciting glimmer, which hurts our eyes. Will we then cry? 

The world you imagine is very far away. It resembles a fading cigarette end or a scar… If you can find meaning to my voice, then you can comprehend this fairy tale. Get out of the fluttering dream, dear Eloise. I am going to take you to a lively and awesome place where there are castles and festivals and days go by with a roar. 

Joyside – Maybe Tonight – 28th February 2011

047TZM

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. 

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. 

Alternative China – 11th November 2010

Alternative China tumblr

Post-Concrete, Hang On The Box, Brave New Eye, The Beijinger, Pangbianr, Beijing Daze, Skip Lunch, You Mei You, Flying Mantas, Doc Talk Shock, Dalian, IDH, Smart Shanghai, Little Punk, Qu Records, Subs, Kang Mao, 2 Kolegas, Lucifer, Rustic, Top Floor Circus, Queen Sea Big Shark, Matthew Niederhauser, Modern Sky, Guai Li, Maybe Mars, ShanShui, Sulumi, Torturing Nurse, Hong Qi Le, Xiao He, Glorious Pharmacy, Josh Feola, D-22, Gum Bleed

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. 

Snapline – Party Is Over, Pornostar – 1st April 2010

Cat #: 038TZM

Snapline have become Beijing’s fastest rising young band and recently they have taken on an identity all of their own, earned full page interviews in the local media and released their first 7” single in the US. 

When producer and ex-PIL drummer Martin Atkins came to Beijing to check on the local scene, he was delighted with dozens of bands, but wholly awestruck by Snapline’s uniquely weird melodies, and immediately insisted on producing their first CD. Within weeks they had laid down the tracks in Beijing and over the next few months began the mixing process in Chicago, at one point flying vocalist Chen Xi to Chicago to add additional tracks. 

As snippets of the recording filtered through the scene in China, the band’s shows started drawing larger crowds, and they soon began to develop a very strong following. A series of concerts at D22 established them as one of the central bands in the scene, much loved by critics and musicians, although difficult at times for audiences to follow. 

The subject of many articles in the Chinese press, the band was listed in That’sBeijing as one of the ten best bands in China and in an article in Rolling Stone Li Qing was listed as one of China’s four major guitar innovators.