The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #12 – 16th November 2019

Music from Ibrahim Maalouf, Pm 7_Jupiter, Vialka, Doctor Coffee, The Fugs, The Fall, Pavement, The Dickies, Turnpike, France Gall, WannFunTastiKlons, uSSSy, Birthday Party, Ween, The Who and And So I Watch You From Afar.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful that I have learned not to be afraid to stand up for what I believe in and also accept those consequences even if they are not in my favour. Others may do things differently and that’s their choice.

11th Apr 2021 – You’ll have to keep reading to find out more about those consequences – the period between September 2019 and March 2020 was very trying indeed! The last sentence mention of ‘others’ is just about the advice given by other teachers to me and how some considered that it is impossible for a farang to change and improve things within any Thai system. I fought against it and arguably, I lost – at least at the time. Longer term though I consider the minor changes I did create were worth the effort. Being a teacher is not about taking it easy for me, it’s a responsibility. I see others putting up and shutting up, but to me, that is just lazy. Never give up.

The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #11 – 9th November 2019

Music from The Misunderstood, Angelic Upstarts, Passage, Surveillance, 13th Floor Elevators, Lozenge, Vaz, Hard-Ons, The Damned, Queen, Captain Beefheart, Melt Banana, Crass, Hitler SS, Meat Puppets, I Am Above and on the Left, Thee Headcoats, Party Diktator, Supertramp.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to be living in this part of the world. There are many times in a week when I marvel at the views of the rice fields and the mountains. Their depth changes depending on the weather conditions and time of day. There are good and bad points about every place to live but I certainly feel grateful for my time living here.

Proximity Butterfly – Reprieve – The Auspicious Occurrence of Dr. Chen’s Past Lives – 1st December 2011

Cat: 088TZM

Proximity Butterfly melts together with ancient Chinese instruments and cutting edge-rock layered with psychedelia. Established in 2003 by Joshua C. Love (America), Chenduxi (China) and Heather Judson (Canada), Proximity Butterfly landed in China 9 years ago – since then, the tales of performance, power and the world’s unknowns have shaken the space that makes this band so unique and full of genuine expression. The band currently consists of guitarist/vocalist/producer Joshua C. Love, bassist/vocalist Heather Love, guitarist Lenny (Robert Tanner), and drummer Wang Yong. 

Their music is mixed with a complex variety of elements, including the retro atmosphere of Led Zeppelin through complex jazz time signatures, Pink Floyd’s psychedelia and strikingly poignant lyrics, an unidentified aspect of aggressive rhythm structures and an ethereal tactfulness only to be compared to the likes of Jane’s Addiction or Sigor Ros. Creating an almost circus-like attraction to what songs they’ll play next, Joshua C. Love describes it as, “looking for the timeless, a series of works that can be heard in a 100 years and people will say, yeah, I know that feeling.” 

“The live shows are like a ceremony. Not religious, but so full of passion and attention that the energies tie the room together.”

Guai Li – Flight of Delusion – 1st March 2011

Cat #: 051TZM

Taken from a well-known Confucian saying, “Guaili luanshen”, the band’s name refers to weird forces and unexplainable supernatural phenomena. Though Confucius never advised the public to blindly believe in unexplainable weirdness, the band certainly does – they have created sufficient levels of oddity and discomfort in their music and sing highly of it. 

In their much-anticipated debut album, Flight of Delusion, this twisted sense is heard not just in the grammatical chaos but also in the complex music arrangements. 

As a double-guitar band, Guaili is renowned for its daring spirit in musical structure and in this album, they’ve proven a maturing ambition to master the tools of their trade by playing multiple guitars and drums in a single piece. To top that off, they have also shaken up a stunning mixture of celesta, electronic keyboard and artificial industrial noises. But there is more depth than even critics will be aware of. A 20-Hertz sound wave, lower than the frequency that humans can hear, has been added into the tracks to provoke alpha brainwaves and stimulate creativity.

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. 

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. 

Gar – The Gar – 1st July 2009

Cat #: 022TZM

Gar’s music is some of the purest Chinese rock ‘n’ roll. Mixing the beautiful and sophisticated melodic structures typical of the best Chinese music with basic harmonies and a delight in shifting textures, their songs achieve the shimmering quality of folk-rock but with the hard edge that life in Beijing, with its rapid changes, destruction and reconstruction, has imposed on most of its artists. 

The three members of Gar are guitarist/lead vocalist Zhan Pan, bassist Wen Jie, and drummer Wang Xu. Their standard power-trio format, ordinary equipment, graceful Chinese lyrics, and complete lack of stage posturing and fancy gimmicks make them different from most of the other bands in the scene. On the surface they seem very ordinary, but their shows are full of energy and intelligence. In recent years, a number of alternative genres have been expanding the definitions of indie music and rock ‘n’ roll for Chinese audiences, and along with it there have been changes in trends and fashion, but Gar have refused to follow any of the trends, continuing to explore their own sense of real music based on individual experiences. These are classic songs about youth and time, appealing to every generation and era. While the Chinese indie music environment gets louder, more challenging, and wilder, Gar continues singing their hearts out for their very own generation.