Introducing: Gate to Otherside, the latest trio of skinny rock’n’rollers to come crawling from the depths of Beijing’s yaogun underground. Fans of older C-indie torchbearers like Carsick Cars and The Gar will find a lot to like here, as will anyone who’s dug on Gate label-mates Chui Wan and Birdstriking — there’s a fair amount of member overlap and style-bleed among all of the above. Gate to Otherside has been gigging around the city’s numerous dives since late 2014 and is now preparing to put forward its debut album, Dragon Bus Terminal, as the latest strain of a particular “Beijing sound” that’s been developing over the last decade or so: one part jangling proto-punk, one part robotic Mancunian rhythmic propulsion, one part noise guitar freakout, and several parts burnout come-down.
The latter is where we end up on the album’s closing track, “Northern Memories (无)”, a smoggy slow-broiler with a distinct end-of-the-night, ashtrays-all-full vibe hanging on it like yesterday’s smoke on your clothes. Gate to Otherside isn’t afraid to wear its psycho-active references on its (record) sleeve, and this song is as good a proxy as any for the album art’s deconstructed Cubist yin yang meets Navajo drug rug aesthetic. With its lyrics about forests, rainbows, soaring eagles and clear skies seen in the mind’s eye (actual Beijing has none of these), “无” is a fitting representation of Gate to Otherside’s mix of napkin mysticism and quality neuro-stimulants, a quick and tuneful trip into the deep psyche of a new generation of lost youth.
Dragon Bus Terminal will be released by Maybe Mars on March 25.