new music

9 New Music Releases From China: Police and Pea, Osheyack, and More

Some dope new Chinese music to crank up loud and piss off your neighbors with

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9:41 PM HKT, Fri July 1, 2022 3 mins read

New Music, formerly Yin (音, ‘music’), is a monthly RADII column that looks at fresh Chinese music spanning hip hop to folk to modern experimental, and everything in between. This month, we introduce you to new music from Smelly Hoover, Hoo!, and more!

It’s the height of summer here in Shanghai, and the lockdown has ended (mostly), so naturally, there’s an air of celebration engulfing the city. Fortunately, we have some excellent new music to soundtrack your parties.

If you’re into jagged, metallic club music, we’ve got Osheyack. If you like something a bit more twee and indie, how about Police and Pea? We’ve also got Abdul G, an off-kilter performer from Xinjiang who blends styles to create something genuinely unique.

As always, don’t forget to check out the latest episode of SoundCheck, where Wes Chen, host of hip hop podcast thePark, and Bryan Grogan talk about their favorite tracks of the month. This is our last episode of SoundCheck, and we want to thank everyone who listened to us ramble on about our favorite tracks every month. Keep an eye on RADII as we have more exciting audio content coming down the pipe!

1. Smelly Hoover — ‘Aiwen’ (‘愛問’)

Guangzhou-based one-man-band Smelly Hoover returns with his new track ‘Aiwen,’ which, when translated directly, means something along the lines of ‘Love to Ask.’ It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything new from Hover Chan, the man behind the project, with his last full-length, Canton, coming out in 2018.  

According to the liner notes, the track is about the love between parents and children, with Chan imbuing the Cantonese lyrics of this ballad-like track with a raw emotional edge. 

2. Hoo! — Lalabush

Another Guangzhou entry here: Hoo!, a group previously with Merrie Records but seemingly independent once again, dropped their five-track EP Lalabush in early June. 

The band describes the release as four stories about genuine disillusionment, both bleak and dazzling. The fifth track is presumably the outro, ‘Moonlit.’ There’s a lot of energy from the get-go here, with the first track, ‘Cloudy,’ an intense power-rock epic, although later tracks like ‘Jumping Beans’ suffer by comparison.

3. Jiafeng — ‘Twitter War’

The latest from Shanghai-based singer-songwriter Jiafeng is an aggressive, melancholy track about the art of Twitter warfare. 

The track’s lyrics set up a petty battle between Jiafeng and another person, with Jiafeng initially doing everything he can to attract the other person’s attention, including stealing their dog. With autotuned vocals and high-intensity metal sensibilities at play, the track is an exhilarating fusion of musical styles.

4. Police and Pea — ‘Forever’

Known both as Violent Champagne (暴力香槟) and Police and Pea, the latter name oddly reminiscent of Junior Murvin’s — and later The Clash’s — seminal track, ‘Police and Thieves,’ the group’s track ‘Forever’ eschews these violent sentiments. Instead, the song reverberates with minimalistic twee and lo-fi sensibilities, with sweet and pleasantly simple lyrics.

The band has several existing members and comes from Shijiazhuang in North China’s Hebei province. This is the second track released by the group in the past month or two, after ‘Pineal Gland’ at the end of May, with an album forthcoming on Beijing label Maybe Mars. 

5. Osheyack — Intimate Publics 

Eli Osheyack recently left Shanghai, having lived in the city since 2012. During his time here, the producer became an integral part of the community around Shelter and later All Club, and adjoining label, SVBKVLT. 

Intimate Publics feels like an eight-track send-off to his time in the city. In the track ‘Still,’ Osheyack provides a rare glimpse at something that feels like romanticism. Still, the sharp and jagged nature of his metallic sound is evident throughout but plays out much softer than usual on tracks like ‘Piecemeal.’ 

6. 鱼翅Fin — StoryFlow 

鱼翅Fin made his name as a contestant on the popular variety TV show Rap for Youth, where his friendship with fellow contestant 夏之禹 (Xia Zhiyu) and his intricate and poetic lyrics attracted plenty of attention. 

He has since linked up with Mintone Records and dropped his new album StoryFlow this month. The record is a diverse blend of styles, with jazz inflections that would not sound out of place in the neo-noir surroundings of Cowboy Bebop.

7. Resurrection — National Martyr

Initially released in 2006, this album from extreme metal band Nanjing Resurrection has been remastered and rereleased by WV Sorcerer Records, which also has its roots in the old Southern capital.

An early milestone in extreme metal, National Martyr is a rip-roaring collection of 12 tracks, which proved to be highly influential within this fledgling genre back in the day.

8. Abdul G — ‘Gezi Wang’ (‘鴿子王’)

Abdul G’s first album, Santana 2000 — presumably named for the popular Volkswagen car, has already dropped on the Chinese streaming platform Netease but seems unavailable on Western platforms. The 14-track album is released with Ruby Eyes Records and IndieWorks. 

Abdul G is an interesting character. With a black bowl haircut and a short black mustache, he looks like a middle-aged man. From Xinjiang, Abdul G sings and raps in English and Uyghur, and his songs are incredibly catchy. ‘鴿子王,’ or ‘Pigeon King,’ is a perfect example of his off-kilter style.

9. Railway Suicide Train — Some Secondary Times

Just two years removed from the release of their excellent album Continent, Hangzhou band Railway Suicide Train return with something a little bit different. The band themselves acknowledge this in the album’s name, Some Secondary Times, and in the liner notes, where they refer to the record as something like a B-side album. 

Some Secondary Times feels stripped back, like on the fourth track, ‘Yuan,’ which uses chanting, bells, and natural sound. The length of the nine songs here varies wildly, and the band professes in the outline for the album that they made the tracks over a long period of time.

Cover image designed by Haedi Yue 

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