Yin: Chinese Punks Demerit Bring their Protest Music West

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8:48 AM HKT, Sat June 2, 2018 1 mins read

Yin (音, “music”) is a weekly RADII feature that looks at Chinese songs spanning hip-hop to folk to modern experimental, and everything in between. Drop us a line if you have a suggestion.

Beijing/Qingdao punks Demerit have a new one out, if you want to take the temperature of anti-social sensibilities in China circa 2018. Out of the Fog is the band’s first full-length since their 2008 sophomore release Bastard of the Nation, which was produced by Public Enemy bassist Brian Hardgroove and endures as a classic heater in the Chinese hardcore/metal crossover canon. The band, led by guitarist and vocalist “Spike” Li Yang, took that on the road with a high-profile stint on the Vans Warped Tour in 2011.

Out of the Fog is toned down in parts by more melody and occasional reggae influence than Demerit has shown in the past, but the edges are no less jagged on this mature document of Demerit’s and Spike’s settling into elder-punk status. My favorite tracks are the intro/opener, which comes with an epic animated video by tattoo artist Riot (above). Especially dig the Mad Max-style skull car rolling through post-fallout Beijing (notice the warped CCTV pants building with a skull up top):

A few years back Spike moved from Beijing — where he’d decamped on the urban fringes of Tongzhou and wrote the area’s definitive anthem — back to his hometown of Qingdao, most famous for its beer. Since then he reopened his erstwhile Beijing punk club DMC, which now also functions as a record label spotlighting local bands like Dummy Toys.

If you feel like yelling along to lyrics about the creeping fog of consumerist misery that’s enveloped our society, study up in the subtitled video above and catch Demerit on the long road they have ahead, which hits the US (June 5-July 1) and Europe (July 12-August 18). Full dates here.

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