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5 bands from China you need to hear

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24 Hours

4. 24 Hours

Until recently referred to as 24 Hour Party People, 24 Hours are tricky buggers to locate on Youtube and demonstrate their brilliance to you. They describe their reference points as post-punk, including Joy Division, Talking Heads and Iggy Pop. The band’s prior name comes from the film about Factory Records, but they figured “24 Hour Party People” was too long to easily remember. They claim it’s easier to sing rock lyrics in English than Chinese, but harbour ambitions to do so in future. Again, there’s a kind of fire and intensity to their sound that you tend not to hear in most Western bands.

[This video doesn’t really do justice to their wired intensity. Try listening here instead – Ed]

5. White

White are Shou Wang and Shen Jing, and together they explore noise and minimalism – again with the Steve Reich and Glenn Branca, a bit of Throbbing Gristle and a dash of Neubauten. However disparate these acts are, there’s a common thread of influence that pins it all together – but the exciting thing is that each group picks it up and runs with it in a different direction. You couldn’t accuse these bands of being “samey” – even if most of these bands are the same band, given that White are another Carsick Cars side project.

Perhaps Manchester circa 1989 was the wrong comparison. It’s more like Chicago in 1993.

Regardless, there’s a lot of genuinely enthralling music emerging from Beijing at the moment. A lot of the music in the West is made by jaded, tired, cynical people, and there’s something incredibly invigorating about hearing music made by people who are excited and delighted by what they’re doing. It’s infectious. It’s like that bit in Almost Famous when Penny Lane tells Patrick to put down the notebook, stop analysing and thinking about it and just let the emotion and energy of the music draw him in.

That is China in 2012.

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