CITY MIX: Six Quick Hits from Guangzhou

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1:00 AM HKT, Sat May 26, 2018 2 mins read

CITY MIX is a RADII series in which we give you a sonic spin through the underground music of a Chinese city outside the Beijing/Shanghai nexus.

Guangzhou, a port city in southern China near Shenzhen and Hong Kong, is ground zero for China’s economic opening, a megalopolis “at the heart of the most-populous built-up metropolitan area in mainland China.” While it’s more known for commerce than culture, Guangzhou also hosts a vibrant and varied underground music scene. Click play on the mix below to hear six bands defining the Guangzhou sound, and scroll down to read more on each.



1. Die! Chiwawa Die! – “Fan the Flame” (Qiii Snacks/Genjing, 2017)

2. Nouvelle – “April (四月)” (Dark Deer Project, 2017)

3. Nein Or Gas Mus – “Ingredient” (Qiii Snacks, 2018)

4. Die! Chiwawa Die! – “Taxi Driver (Skit)” / “Call the Ambulance” (Qiii Snacks/Genjing, 2017)

5. Pete Chen – “2018 demo” (unreleased)

6. Landfills – “Drunk” (Fing3, 2018)



Die! Chiwawa Die!

D!CD! are at the center of the Guangzhou scene and the living, bleeding force behind Qiii Snacks Records, a lynchpin for DIY music in southeastern China. Die! Chiwawa Die! has shifted in lineup and sound over the years, but came heavy on a split 12″ with Beijing hardcore band Struggle Session, co-released between Qiii Snacks and Genjing Records last year. That’s where the tracks above are from — also recommend their Plastics cover, which is something of a signature when filtered through main vocalist Jinbo’s frantic energy. “Please come book us to play in your school / basement / garage / home / backyard / playground / rubbish station,” the band says on their Douban page, and I suggest you take them up on it. Look for a new Die! Chiwawa Die! release to come out on Qiii Snacks by the end of 2018.



This band is newer to me, but I saw them play at a recent Guangzhou band showcase in Beijing. Style is deep in the pocket bowl-cut instrumental emo, which can sometimes drift out into further feedback-drenched territories. They released a debut, self-titled EP last May on Dark Deer Project (黑鹿計劃), which describes itself as “A Micro Label Back to the Future” and in addition to Nouvelle is working on releases for Guangzhou bands Golden Cage and Space Station. Stream Nouvelle’s EP in full on their Douban page.


Nein Or Gas Mus

Nein Or Gas Mus rides for Qiii Snacks, and I’ve written about them here before, but somehow just got the joke in their name. Nice. NOGM’s five-song, self-titled EP, released on cassette by Qiii Snacks in April, is an impressive debut, and a fine cross-sampling of the different rock styles being tossed around in Guangzhou, with dashes of post-rock, emo, indie, and a predominating math rock sensibility locking all the pieces together. Check out a recent music video released in conjunction with the EP here.


Madpete / Pete Chen

Took me a while to get these straight, but: Madpete is a duo featuring rapper Madprole (top) and producer Pete Chen (bottom, rocking the SP-404). Pete Chen has been on my radar since the 2013 release of his excellent Cantonese Boom Bap LP on Groove Bunny Records. Highly recommended for fans of old-school hip hop and jazzy samples constructed in a Guangdong state of mind. For this mix Pete contributes an unreleased demo of what he’s working on in 2018.



Last but not least: Landfills, relative newcomers who made a big splash in Beijing a few months back, when they played four consecutive nights in the city’s premiere punk rock dive, School Bar. Landfills plays a very well executed take on grunge, with Nirvana being a key touchstone, but they infect the sound of Seattle with their own weird divebombs, and throw off a truly electric on-stage energy. Check out their debut EP, Black Things, on Douban.

All photos (besides Landfills) by William Griffith for RADII

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