The voice of postmodern Shanghai is Stalin Gardens, and it’s fuckin weird. Helmed by precocious high-school harsh noise enthusiast Achmed (birth name: Julien), they take the China-brand no-wave/post-punk thing started by bands like P.K.14 and 8 Eye Spy and shove it down a deep k-hole into the grimiest parts of the Shanghai metropolitan subconscious, and all in time to get home before curfew. I saw them play once. Half their set was Achmed strumming disembodied riffs from “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or “Stairway to Heaven” or something while repeatedly saying “This is experimental rock” and telling the audience to shut up in between songs. (The audience was five people.)
Anyway, SG just dropped a nine-song LP called Shanghai Void. In terms of hard-left-field music, Shanghai is pretty damn empty. So it’s good we have Stalin Gardens to send this plodding slow-burner — which moves from an opening Nas reference to songs about post-national consumerism and bone cancer — screaming into said void.
Stream the full album below, download it for free on their SoundCloud, and find some other odds & ends on their douban. (That’s the equivalent of Myspace/Facebook for Chinese bands. You’re not on douban? Get on douban.)
• Stalin Gardens: http://site.douban.com/sg