13 November 2011
YanYan Pang (aka Tyger Feb) playing acoustic at the end of Pitch Yr Culture at Videotage last Friday night. Nice songs with interesting lyrics. If she is singing somewhere near you, please listen! Pitch Yr Culture is a good night out where people stand up and show their age by talking about a song for no longer than the length of the song. What's left on the screen is a song by The Descendants that was chosen by no less two presenters. Never heard of them before. I certainly have now.
09 October 2011
This is Riz of King Lychee dialoging with fans at Hidden Agenda last night. Riz said that the difference between hardcore and metal is that in hardcore the audience gets to use the microphone. Here he is showing he is as good as his word. I am not a hardcore fan, but this was a great night at a great venue with Inner Core, Shepherds the Weak, This is Ammunition, Face Face, King Lychee, and all-the-way-from-the-Philippines, Badburn. Below, Marben Romero of Badburn, a nice guy who really knows how to look scary on stage, getting down with the audience. One day I'll work out how to take photos in the dark with an iPhone.
10 September 2011
My favourite Taiwanese band, from their newish album Now playing, the tell tale heart. Not the best track on the album, but only one in English. More important, Tizzy Bac will play at KITEC Hong Kong on Sept 17, the first day of Taiwan Calling 2011. The adventurous hedgehog is looking forward to Echo on the 18th. Not cheap at HK$680, but you do get to see 18 bands.
08 May 2011
A curiosity bought on a recent trip to Singapore. This locally-produced EMI Regal disc of festive songs from 1971 looked innocent enough until I opened it up and found that it had once been owned by Radio Television Singapore. Side One swings along with Chinese versions of Xmas classics such as Silent Night and Jingle Bells, but turn the album over to listen to some Chinese New Year songs and things begin to get sinister. While four of the songs escaped the beady eye of the censors, Good Fortunes and A Happy New Year are clearly marked as "banned". Why? Much as I enjoy listening to banned songs, the pleasure is lost on me here, because neither I nor anyone I have asked has the slightest idea what could have caused offence or threatened to bring down the government of the day. Any ideas?
22 April 2011
Back to the article I am writing on Asian singers singing in English, here is Japanese megastar, Koda Kumi, with versions of her first two singles from 2000 that were released in the US. Not surprisingly,they didn't do very well. The Japanese versions had better music and better production - even if you don't understand Japanese, at least you can hear what she is singing.
14 April 2011
Some records coming up that I bought on a recent trip to Singapore. The Blue Star Sisters - five Filipino sisters (?) who were popular in Hong Kong in the 60s. I am told this EP was recorded in Singapore, which is why I digitized it and gave it away - long story. But Not Goodbye is a Hong Kong original - thumbs up to shatinterry for posting it on YouTube (and the fascinating chat about 60s nightclubs and electric car racing!). No date on the record as usual, but it must be 1968 or 1969 as the original of As I Look came out in 1968. I am choosing As I Look as my favourite track, because I was once a big fan of The Rebel Rousers.
08 April 2011
I have just written this about SNSD (aka Generation Girls in Korea, Siu Nui Si Doi in Hong Kong) in an academic paper on Asian artists who sing in English. "At a 2010 press conference for the Korean female pop group SNSD (who regularly issue English version of their Korean songs, and recently topped the Japanese Oricon sales chart with a single recorded in Japanese), Kim Young Min, CEO of the groups production company SM Entertainment, expressed his aim to “unify the Asian market and build it into the biggest market in the world”. The press release reported that SNSD want “to reach further out to their foreign fans all over Asia, and becoming fluent in foreign languages is essential to that goal”, and quoted group member Tiffany as saying that the group had “really focusing on the language these days, especially since we want to be able to connect with our foreign fans”.
Into The New World was their first single from 2007. Hoot is from 2010. The certainly have focused on their English, but somehow I wish they hadn't.
03 April 2011
Under the leadership of the adventurous hedgehog we have been visiting some of Hong Kong's oldest cafes and I have got in the habit of ordering anything on the menu with a raw egg in it. First, a bowl of 'pheonix egg custard' from China Cafe on Canton Road, Mongkok. Custard powder and hot water with a broken egg dropped in and the rest is up to you. It tastes, well, a lot like custard. Next, the same without custard from Diamond Cafe in Choi Hung estate (Picture below). Stir it up and add sugar and it tastes, well, a bit like custard.
09 February 2011
Another top class CD form the guys at Harbour Records, released last year but I have only got round to listening to it today. The sleeve notes are a bit cryptic so I had no idea who or what Audrey Lily is - until I came across this Time Out article and found out that she is, in fact, a person, who does pretty much everything with her voice, guitar and a computer. The Time Out writer has her down as Kid-A era Radiohead meets Cantopop, while Audrey herself says she grew up listening to Anita Mui and the Byrds. Before I read any of that, I was already hearing Faye Wong meets Joy Division. This is my favourite. Track 6 - 'inspired by My Little Airport' - watch the video and tell me if I'm wrong...
06 February 2011
A really nice album from The Marshmallow Kisses. A long time in the making and worth the wait - indiepop.bossa nova.shibuyakei.french pop.60s.retro - yeah!
Btw, The Marshmallow Kisses are not the guys in this video, but they are playing the music!