Thursday, March 26, 2009


One of the problems that comes up pretty often with Chinese music is that people seem to expect it to be derivative. When people hear "Chinese indie rock" I guess they get to thinking ,"awwww look how cute some chinee learned to read pitchfork and decided to make a album," which is the only reasonable explantion for some of the descriptions and comparisons that these bands garner. The Gar, who just released their debut album on Maybe Mars, are some of the worst victims of poor generalization that I've encountered. Every blurb I've read about this band throws Television and Pavement's names around which is startlingly inaccurate and is going to disappoint listeners who are expecting that sound.

In reality, this album represents a pretty exciting hallmark in Chinese music because it's some of the first music I've heard that draws noticeably from other Chinese bands. You might think of that as a given but you have to realize that 20 years ago, rock music didn't even exist in China. China got rock from the United States and Britain and Chinese bands have been taking their inspiration from the already well-developed scenes in the west since then. In the past four or five years, however, Beijing's scene has really erupted and it's beginning to seem like the bands there don't really need the rest of the world.

The Gar sound to me like they occupy a musical niche somewhere between the catchy-yet-slightly-dissonant Carsick Cars and the pure pop sensibility of Hedgehog while adding some atmospheric post-rockish instrumentation into the mix. Altogether you get a product that's dramatic without being corny and is most likely going to be recognized as one of the best things going forward in China's constantly evolving scene.

The Gar - S/T


1. Seabird
2. Cat
3. Circle
4. Prince's Revenge
5. Two Moms
6. Interlude
7. Love for Life
8. Big
9. Tell Lei
10. New Order
11. Monkey D
12. Tail

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