After having spent the last few weeks introducing some international releases, I believe it is time to get back to writing about local Chinese bands, which are becoming more and more familiar to me after one year in Shanghai. True, this is not exactly the capital of metal or rock made in China, but every once in a while there are some interesting names coming out of here as well.
As already mentioned many times, one of the main features of Shanghainese music when compared to other cities' is the frequent cooperation between Chinese and foreign musicians, just like in the case of the band I am introducing to you today. 狗神 (goushen, "Dog God", a name which hints at the Italian part of this band) features two Chinese members (vocalist Lenz and bassist Mian Mian) and two foreign members (drummer Dario and guitarist GCFBIV) and has been really active in the local rock scene, especially by playing many small festivals around town over the last year. The band rose from the ashes of two other local acts — Bigongbijing (GCFBIV and Mian Mian) and Androsace (Lenz and Dario) — and offers a range of different influences mainly coming from punk and metal.
During this year's not-so-cold-yet Autumn, 狗神 presented their first official EP in a quite participated evening at the Yuyintang, a livehouse situated in the Western part of the city approaching its tenth year on the run. The disc is entitled "666 KTV" and is a reference to karaoke (known in China as KTV), really popular in East Asian countries starting from Japan (it seems a KTV with this name actually exists in Shanghai).
Running slightly over fifteen minutes, the band strikes with five tracks of straight-up punk, with Lenz singing both in Chinese and in English; of course don't expect any kind of technical flamboyance or elegant refinements in terms of contents. 狗神 threw off some reference to popular culture, such as Wechat (微信 in Chinese) — one of the most used smartphone apps in China, basically used by everybody — in "微信危险" ("Wechat is dangerous") or Sun Wukong, the famous monkey from the classic book "Journey To The West", in "孙悟空暴跳如雷" (which can be translated as "Sun Wukong goes berserk"). Most of the lyrics come from actual experiences of the band members.
This is not an album that will shape music history, but it is a pleasant release in a scene which had been getting a little sleepy over the last few months, reflecting the environment of a fast-changing city, where most bands can just play together for a couple of years before splitting up. We will be waiting for their next release, which will probably be centered on their sludge roots.