Just in case you’ve been living under a rock out in Turkmenistan or Nebrahoma or Huairou or whatnot, scrappy no-fi Shanghai punk duo, Pairs, are officially hanging it up this spring after several, ahem…fruitful, borderline masochistic years of destroying eardrums, amps and venues across the Middle Kingdom and beyond. The band have a handful of farewell gigs scheduled through May, including one tomorrow night here in Beijing at XP before they (maybe) permanently shuffle off this mortal coil to the chagrin of those of us lucky enough to have partaken in their particular brand of madness/ reckless abandon. In typical Pairs fashion, their “FINAL SHOW”, currently slated for May 31st, will be a decidedly intimate affair that will take place, naturally, at a super secret location somewhere in Shanghai (Xiao Zhong mentioned something about a “bunker” and a buncha like minded noise-mongers, if I remember correctly), so you know that shit’s gonna go off, hard! What’s that you say? Oh, you really, really wanna attend that final show. Well, it’s probably in your best interest to hit up the band directly here and they’ll decide what to do with you. ‘Til then, check out the remaining Pairs affairs below, so as you may plan accordingly…
That’s right folks, just in time for a run of co-headlining US tour dates, Genjing are beyond excited to announce an East meets West wax platter you’ll kick yourself for not snatching-up, lest you secure your very own copy, right this very minute! Limited to a pressing of 500 units on red vinyl, these puppies are gonna go like hotcakes, wethinks – and once they’re gone, they’re really and truly gone! Where can one purchase this must-have piece of culturally viable, sonic ephemera you ask? Well, that’s easy – right here in our shop or anywhere fine musical products are sold throughout the civilized (and uncivilized) world in these fast disappearing, brick and mortar establishments generally referred to as, wait for it…record stores! Remember those? Wait a minute. What’s that you say? You need a little exposition on why this particular seven inch in diameter, phonographic record is important enough for you to add to your carefully curated collection? Feel as though you’d like to actually lay ears upon this release in order to stave off any potential buyer’s remorse? Fear not! We’ve got you covered on both counts, just below, in the form of descriptive copy and an embedded stream. Yup, we’ve literally thought of everything this time around. Excuse us for a couple secs while we (collectively) pat ourselves on the back, real quick…
[one, one-thousand; two, one-thousand]
With the Beijing pollution index hovering around 500 PSI a week and a half or so ago – seriously people, the sun was literally blocked out for something like FIVE WHOLE DAYS – we figured Jonathan and Pauline of Alpine Decline were probably busy sitting around their flat, staring daggers at one another with bleary, bloodshot cartoon eyes, so we thought it best we give ‘em something to do before an impromptu Russian Roulette session ensued. That something, as it turned out, was the task of interviewing each other, ‘cuz, you know you wanna know everything there is to know about what makes these happily married museos tick, at least, we do…and we’re a pretty damn good representation of, er, you…I guess? Also, the fact that we goaded these kids into doing this saved us a whole hell of a lot of transcription legwork! Ahem, right. Many thanks to J&P for actually taking the time to sit down and hash this bad boy out – yadda, yadda, yadda. So now, ladies and gentle-people, children of all (emotional) ages, without further adieu…
I really wish I could have gone along on the Alpine Decline Australia tour like my colleague here at Genjing World HQ Beijing PRC, Nevin, who tagged along under the auspice of “tour managing” or “networking” or some such thing. Must have been nice to fly on down to the southern hemisphere and work on your tan at backyard BBQs and shit while I hold down the fort here in -13 degree Beijing! Yeah, I’m a little bitter/jealous – if you weren’t a freakin’ book, you would be too! Anyway, to rub it all in just a little bit more, it turns out that Jonathan from Alpine Decline keeps a Diary too and now Nevin has asked me to post entries from it on the Genjing website, surrounding the band’s afore mentioned Australia jaunt. The balls on that guy, right?! They’ve even included a playlist of all the great bands they met down under. Some people have all the luck!
Fresh off a highly productive jaunt through Australia and the release of, arguably, their best full length to date, GO BIG SHADOW CITY, Beijing’s Alpine Decline are now set for an extensive tour of their host country, The People’s Republic of China! Not only will the band be lugging around heaps of limited edition phonographic records as well as beautifully hand-screened posters printed by the fine folks at IdleBeats, they’re also bringing along their brand spanking new baby boy, Roland – yes, Jonathan and Pauline named their first born son after one of their favorite pieces of gear! Though the novelty/cute factor of that statement alone should be enough to get you, the proud denizens of the Middle Kingdom, out to one or more of these headlining shows, keep in mind that these two Los Angeles transplants kill it live! No, No, No, not the baby!!! Sheesh. What kind of people…never mind, just make sure you clear your calendars and plan accordingly, these guys don’t disappoint in a live setting. Fact.
FIRE UP YOUR TURNTABLES PEOPLE, ‘CUZ ALPINE DECLINE’S GO BIG SHADOW CITY STREETS TODAY!
Alpine Decline strike out on their first Australian tour playing dates in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne while launching their 5th album “Go Big Shadow City”!
One man DIY punk/blues/horror artist GUIGUISUISUI is off on a two month long tour of China, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. If he survives the tour will take him to forty-three dates across four countries playing pretty much every place there is to play in the region.
Over the past few years Pairs have become one of the most talked about bands in not just Shanghai, but the entire Chinese DIY scene, largely due to the fact that they run laps around most other bands in terms of their output. The Pairs approach to music making definitely syncs with the 80/20 rule championed by the Crap Art / Album a Day movement (“If only 20% of the effort is needed to get 80% of the quality, then by spending only 20% of the effort, we can create five times as many artifacts at 80% quality!” ). The results are often scrappy, lo-fi, out of tune, out of time, and intensely fun. It’s so carefree it’s inspiring; I defy you to listen to a Pairs record and not want to pick up an instrument, start blasting away, record an album right there in your living room and then book a tour and take off the next day.
Despite all the hype that goes around being a rock star most bands find success not through some mystical muse but by years of dedication and hard work. God Bows To Math is one of those bands that embraces the challenge and embodies the spirit of DIY. They have been building a name for themselves across New Zealand and Australia for their incendiary live shows and explosive brand of noise-rock. Last year they helped the Shanghai band Pairs to tour New Zealand and now in a reciprocal effort This Town Touring brought them to China. We checked in with guitarist Martin Phillips to ask him about the tour and find out why it is that the most interesting and unique things are often created out of the mundane.