Archive for the 'Taiwanese Indie Rock' Category

04
Mar
13

Saw My Skin Against Your Skin

I was fortunate another last week to discover one of my favourite bands in Taipei was playing at a small bar called ‘The Revolver’. The band is female-fronted post-punk outfit My Skin Against Your Skin -it was an intimate gig with a couple of bands playing first, but well worth the wait.

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(Photo compliments of Laky on flikr

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02
Mar
12

Taiwan band: The Peppermints

WHen I heard about The Peppermints in the Taiwan indie scene and I’d assumed they were bubblegum punk-pop from the name, but having checked them out I realised their songs are alot darker and more like Sonic Youth.

23
Feb
12

Chairman’s Second Album

As the digital environment takes over the ‘bricks and mortar’ it will be a shame to miss the opportunity to go digging through record stores looking for a diamond in the rough. And that’s exactly what I did on my Taipei trip: checked out the second-hand CD stores around Taipei. And in the student district I came across a bit of a gem for me, The Chairman’s second album.

 

It’s always interesting to see (albeit hear) the progression of a band in terms of style, songwriting and production and I’ve been won over with the Chairman’s latest albums.  So listening to their second LP I’m not going to be too critical -at that time they were indie but the songs were often in the vein of ‘Chinese rock’ singalong anthems or fairly mainstream rock numbers. But isn’t that why we go digging, to find the origins of our favourite bands and to see how they ended up where they are?

 

12
Feb
12

Tempting the Tizzy Bac fan…

Tizzy Bac seems to be one of the most successful indie acts of Taiwan recently and with a few albums under their belt they’ve definitely paid their dues. I’m a fan and I’ve collected the last 3-4 records but the one I thought I’d talk about now is their 2002 debut LP called ‘Anything can tempt me’.

I never saw this one on iTunes, and didn’t know of its existence until I was over in Taipei about 6 weeks ago. A local indie record store (White Wabbit Records) had it picked as a ‘staff favourite’ on the shelf, despite it being not as polished as their recent records. So my impression is that this one’s for the serious, die-hard, self-respecting Tizzy Bac fan with essential ownership as a badge of honour.

And after a few spins I’ve found some great catchy piano-infused tracks, wonderfully quirky English lyrics (mixed with Chinese), fine indie melodies and even an exotic Middle-Eastern sounding scale used in one track. And the lead singer, who I think is called “Chen Huiting” in Chinese (but calls herself “Trampe” in English according to the CD booklet), really pours herself out on this album. Without the higher-end production and polish of mainstream pop records, there’s a real honesty that I think listeners appreciate.

I suppose one drawback is that a couple of tracks are quite long, reaching the 7-10 minute territory. But hey, this is the right of any indie artist who’s not going to kowtow to typical radio formats. If you’re on your way to becoming a die-hard fan, I, along with the White Wabbit Records shop staff, recommend this LP.

(Youtube song: http://youtu.be/qs9rXeG5VnY)

http://www.islandofsound.org/indiepopsounds/tizzy_bac.html

02
Feb
12

Looking forward to 1976

The Taiwanese indie band 1976 seems enigmatic to me. I came to like them by cherry-picking five or six songs off their ‘Asteroid’ album on iTunes. Then when I was in Taiwan 6 weeks ago I went looking for more albums, for they’ve done a few. I found their latest album easily enough, but I had hard luck finding any of their older albums which I’m really dying to get hold of (not so hard with other indie acts like Tizzy Bac and The Chairman). When I walked into a second-hand record shop, I asked the shopkeeper about 1976, and he scoffed, as if anyone could find one of their old records! It must be like digging for diamonds under the streets of Taipei!

Anyways, I’m mighty impressed with their latest album, which in mandarin is ‘Buheshiyi’ but the English name to the corresponding song is ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’. I think it’s a reference to a certain type of offbeat female character in modern cinema. In fact, I wonder if the whole album is cinema-inspired as other songs share movie titles, ‘A Clockwork Orange’ being the most obvious.

It sounds like a well produced album with more synthesizer and keyboard sounds infused with many of the songs. Even one song is mixed with an assortment of sounds affects -helicopters, running water, falling coins, ringing cell phone and a car siren to name a few…However, I’d still say it’s guitar-driven and I can  definitely hear influences of early Radiohead in a couple of the songs.
 But it’s the songwriting and the impassioned vocals in the indie/postrock/Britrock style that endear me to this album and to the band in general. I’m definitely going to keep a look out for their older albums. (I’d forgotten I’d checked out their old Myspace page which has tracks from a 2000 album: http://www.myspace.com/mod1976tw )

http://www.facebook.com/1976band