We Are Shanghai

Local bands come together for a new compilation (+ MP3s and videos)

To mark the release of We Are Shanghai, a compilation of the city's best bands, the organisers tell Time Out about their favourite songs on the disc.

Moon Tyrant’s Ivan Belcic on Rainbow Danger Club’s ‘Drown the Creatures’

I don’t remember the first time I saw Rainbow Danger Club, but if I did, I’m sure it would be a memory filled with feelings of awe, tranquility, and above all, humility. In a town where anyone with a few hours of free time can get a spot on a stage somewhere, it’s refreshing to see a band willing to put in the time and dedication, fortified by a healthy dose of natural talent and musicianship, for a musical experience that’s on a truly professional level.

Not to mention the fact that their debut album  Where Maps End, perhaps the truest ‘DIY’ record the scene has issued forth thus far, as it was completely recorded and mixed by the band, sounds leaps and bounds cleaner than most others we’ve been given so far.

RDC’s songs, exemplified by ‘Drown the Creatures’, envelop the listener in a warm embrace of odd times that groove, often-atypical chord structures that always manage to resolve, and layers upon layers of vocal harmonies, synths, strings and whatever else they see fit to include.

Producer Adam Gaensler on Stegosaurus?’s ‘Stinky Tofu’(Listen)
Lyrically this song is simple yet hard-hitting and straight to the point. ‘Ta chi wo doufu, wo chi tade’. Brilliant.

I had a great time when I worked with Stegosaurus? recording and mixing their debut album. They are funny and entertaining gentlemen who can write really great songs. I was stoked when they asked me to work with them again on the track for this new compilation as it meant another opportunity for good times and mixing great tunes.

They have really grown as musicians and recording artists since the first CD, coming to the studio much more prepared, efficient and full of great ideas.

Stegosaurus?’s Bren Geringer on Boys Climbing Ropes’ ‘The Knitting Song’

I remember the first show I went to after I arrived in Shanghai was at the Dream Factory: New Pants supported by Boys Climbing Ropes. I walked in halfway through their set and saw this girl bouncing behind the keyboard wearing a hat with an animal pattern on her head. They were cool. Afterwards she was on the floor with the crowd bouncing around to the tunes.

Little did I know that I would later be privileged to share the stage with these great musicians. They’re super supportive of other bands here and are a talented bunch. BCR have a formula for their songs, and it works every time.

‘The Knitting Song’ is great. Last year I asked [lead singer] Little Punk to knit me a hat, so she did, because she’s awesome like that. Now I wear it while I listen to ‘The Knitting Song’. True story.

Moon Tyrant’s JC Heinbockel on Dragon Pizza’s ‘Bomb Cola’
When Xuqi sent me ‘Bomb Cola’, I must have played it six or seven times without pause. The song is a perfect manifestation of who Dragon Pizza are and what they represent. It’s confusing and funny, heavy and catchy. You ask yourself ‘WTF?’ over and over, and when the song ends you want to listen again.

It’s so rewarding to watch Xuqi, Yuki, and Wang Lei play live; the fun they’re having shines through clearly. But they’re much more than goofballs hamming it up. Yuki’s bass playing never fails to elicit envy, and the band’s creativity always blows me away. I can’t wait to hear what else they have in store for us when they release their CD next year.

Rainbow Danger Club’s Dennis Ming Nichols on X is Y’s ‘Never Sever’

X is Y has been described as math-rock minimalism, but that’s really an incomplete description. The guitarist’s chordal voicings and the drummer’s off-kilter accents and breaks are incredibly complex.

Their songs don’t fit any kind of traditional song structure but they are cohesive and accessible to everyone. The lyrics are sung in English and are brutally honest and endearing if a bit lost in translation.

It doesn’t hurt that their bassist/keyboardist is an incredibly cute French-speaking Shanghainese lady who is queen of the Taobao hat-knitting racket. X is Y are beautiful people writing beautiful dance music for people with intelligent feet.

The full tracklisting
1 Duck Fight Goose – ‘Light is God’s Bread’
2 Boys Climbing Ropes – ‘The Knitting Song’
3 Stegosaurus? – ‘Stinky Tofu’
4 The Beat Bandits – ‘Sukiyaki Beat’
5 Break for  Borneo  – ‘Complicated’
6 Friend or Foe – ‘Crazy Eye (The Horses Remix)’
7 The Dangxin Mofos – ‘Geeky Boy’
8 Rainbow Danger Club – ‘Drown The Creatures’
9 X is Y – ‘Never Sever’
10 Pairs – ‘I Wanna Die in the Ocean’
11 Dragon Pizza – ‘Bomb Cola’
12 Moon Tyrant – ‘I Am the Way’
13 The Fever Machine – ‘Heartbrokenbleedin’Again’
14 The Instigation – ‘No Way Out’
15 The Horde – ‘Beijing Sucks’
16 Sonnet – ‘Perfect Son’
17 The Song Dynasty – ‘Slow’
18 Top Floor Circus – ‘Jin Lai Bai Xiang Xiang’

Digital-only tracks:
Baltic States  – ‘The  North Sea’
Little Punk – ‘I’m Not in the Mood for Making a Song’

We Are Shanghai will be released on Friday 13 at Yuyintang and Saturday 14 at LOgO. For more information on the CD, visit www.weareshanghaicomp.com.

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