Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Velvette Vendetta - Beautiful Vision Distorted Album Review

Recorded at: Mark-1 Studio
Recorded by: Hisakazu Koya

1.Too Late
2.A Gloomy Day For A Funeral Of My Friend
3.Night Before The Snow Storm
4.La Chanson de Depart
5.A Very Pale Rose

Next up in this flurry of reviews, comes from a band with a great name. Velvette Vendetta. Just rolls off the tongue with all sorts of sinister images doesn't it? The double V are headed in the right direction, collecting a mass of gig dates, scheduled for playing one of Asia's largest indie music festivals and of course releasing their EP 'Beautiful Vision Distorted'. My first experience with VV came from reviewing the first UNDERGROUND compilation, of which they were the opening tracks on the CD. I remember them being HK's very own Muse.

This comparisson continues throughout the 5 tracks on the EP. To say however that they are a copy cat act without their own identity would be false. The similarities ARE striking (song structures, chord progressions, vocal style) but they have managed to craft their own sound. It's the kind of music that you could say is dramatically epic. You can sort of imagine huge stage shows full of smoke and pyro going along with the melancholic mood. Most of the songs tend to follow the formula of bringing the tune to a rising crescendo, or having quiet, almost eerie, type of verses, leading into earth shattering chorus's. One thing that got me intrigued, was looking out for the synth noises that dance around in the background. A lot of the melodies sound like they could be made for 80's horror flicks. If VV didn't have the synth and atmospheric noises, the band's sound would no way be as interesting. It's weird how such small subtle touches can make such a difference. This leads me to believe that the Vendetta have a clear vision of the mood they want to create in their music and have gone about achieving it very well. My favourite track on the EP is “A Gloomy Day For A Funeral Of My Friend” yes I know, how delightfully dark. For your information, all the titles are of a similar theme.

The physical packaging was put together very well. I love the artwork and the photo's of the guys are some of the best I've seen in HK. All 5 members are dressed in gothic black suits whilst sporting some great make up. Very very dramatic. I wonder if live they wear all the make up. That could be a cool little touch.

All in and all, a good collection of songs. Pick up if you like ambient fused hard rock.


Purchase at: CD Warehouse, Hong Kong Records, Zoo Records

Saturday, June 27, 2009

H3LIUM3 - Skindeep- Album Review

2.No One's In
4.Rule the World
5.Back to Life
6.Twist of Fate
7.It Brings Me Down
10.This Ship is Sinking
11.Come Undone
12.Moving On

Produced by Nick Flavell, Rob Porter & Helium3

It's always exciting when you hold a CD that has come from your own shores. Ok this probably isn't so if you were from somewhere like the States or the UK where they churn it out. Here in HK though, with a tiny (but growing) scene, releases are like a small celebration that something is actually happening! Especially when it's put together as well as the recent release from HELIUM3 (formerly known as Skindeep) cleverly titled Skindeep.
It comes in a real CD case, with real album art, real photographs from photo shoots, and all the real bar codes, production notes, record label logos etc etc. So it looks good, but what does it sound like?
Well first of all its a full LP of 12 tracks, and if I was forced to sum it up in one word, it would have to be “pleasant.” It reminds me a little of 'Michael Learns to Rock', maybe a hint of 'Air Supply' and a trace of 'Jon Bon Jovi'. The songs are mainly uplifting and are about picking yourself up when times are down. Their intro track will tell you , that they themselves are the cure for tough times. “We recommend a radical new therapy, please collect your prescription for H3lium3” If HK actually had decent radio stations here, you could imagine many of the songs appearing on the 'drive home' show. It's very easy listening and some may call it light rock. You can bob your heads to it, but it's never going to get you wanting to slam back the jager bombs and put bricks through windows. In fact, I can picture my mum and her Sunday morning brunch club dancing along to Helium3 at somewhere like Dusk till Dawn.
Now steady on guys, I'm not having a dig, I'm just painting the scene. It's actually not bad at all. The songs are all well wrote, have interesting parts, great chorus's with harmonized singing but most importantly its fun to listen to. Which to me means, mission accomplished for these guys. My favourite track on the CD is “Rule the World” and wouldn't be surprised if they chose this as their lead single. It's got the slick Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) talking guitar effect. Commonly known as the talk box. It has a great groove to it and asks if you want to rule the world. I like! Other tracks to look out for are “Sundays” one of the lighter ballads and “Home” which starts out with an epic but short synth before kicking into the regular slow rock sound. The chorus is harmonized well and is catchy. I can hear this being the second single.
One thing I'm gonna pick fault with, is that it's beyond me why the lyrics printed in the sleeve, do not follow the track listing. Absolutely baffled.
All in all though, it's a good release. It's clean sounding, sets a mood, a little “samey” at times but mostly just good enjoyable songs. It's not flashy but it doesn't need to be. I reckon the Helium3 crew would be proud of it, and so they should be!


Purchase at: HMV, Hong Kong Records, iTunes and http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_dmusic?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-music&field-keywords=helium3&x=14&y=20 - (previews available

The Underground "#2 Straight Ahead ...Back to Roots" album review

Guesssssss whatttttttt IIIIIIII gotttttttttttttt?
A bunch of awesome CD's in the mail. CD's that will be scrutinized at the very hands (or ears) or yours truly.

Today we are offering the 2nd in the compilation series that comes from The Underground. “Straight Ahead ... Back to Roots” is the title. I have to say, I'm pretty impressed/happy that a follow up to CD1 has come out so soon! This means that other peeps have enjoyed that 1st CD as much as I have. Even more impressive is the fact that the line up for CD3 has already been announced. No messing around here in the HK music scene folks!

So congratulations to the necessary people at the Underground and Mark-1 for making it happen again, and yes, it's equally awesome if not better.

So on with it!

Recorded by: Hisakazu Koya except track 3&4 by HIM, track 7&8 by Li Xu, track 13&14 by Guy Yeung
Directed by: Chris B & Hisakazu Koya
Most tracks recorded at: Mark-1 Music Center. (For more album details, purchase the CD and check out the inner sleeve =) )

Disc 1

01. She's The One - The David Bowie Knives
02. Crystal Clear - The David Bowie Knives
03. Dash - Kissing on the Dance Floor
04. Subtle Sexy - Kissing on the Dance Floor
05. No One - The Ember
06. The Last Call - The Ember
07. Sugar - Gong Wu
08. Back of The Line - Gong Wu
09. For My Brothers, Friends n Sisters - Quasar
10. Let it Be - Quasar

Disc 2

01. The Chase - Poubelle International
02. The Battle of Trafalgar Square - Poubelle International
03. Dead Air We Breathe - Homeless Alien
04. Awake - Homeless Alien
05. Rock'n'Roll Machine Part 3 - Thinking Out Loud
06. Gonna Be Famous - Thinking Out Loud
07. I Feel Fine - F.T.T
08. Ride With me - F.T.T
09. Taxi To Wan Chai - Bone Table
10. Bullet Proof Black Sedan - Bone Table
11. Port Royal - Transnoodle
12. Transnoodle - Transnoodle

The David Bowie Knives

1.“She's the One”
To kick off this musical journey, we have one of HK's current hottest acts (they will tell you, I mean literally sexy hot) I have never seen the word sex related to one band so much as I have done with the David Bowie Knives. In fact tDBK's REFER to their music as sex rock. To be honest these guys sound very brit indie to me, but its cool, I'll go along with sex rock. Mainly because I'm pretty certain “She's the one” Is about “Giving her one.” “Her hand went to unzip my fly” is actually a lyric in the song. I'm also thinking the lady in question, is one that is “professional” if you know what I mean ;) ;) Either way, well catchy tune boys. I love the harmonies that lead into the chorus, very pro. Great sound, again arguably not unique, but what is these days? One of my top picks over both the discs, strategic placement putting them on first I feel!

2.“Crystal Clear”
Crystal clear has a much darker tone than the previous track. Still pretty sexy though. Now would be a good juncture to point out the concrete Rhythm section that drive along tDBK's. Very tight, I'm not sure how long they have played together, but the bassist and drummer sound like they could be brothers. This isn't to say that front man Shaun Martin, is crap at his guitar, because ...well he isn't. He's a great vocalist also, lots of emotion comes through in the singing. He sounds a bit like the dude who sings for The Black Keys actually. Compliment. Anyway back to the song, not that we are in danger of missing it, it goes on for over 6 minutes! I particular like the “Doors” sounding break down that comes in about 4 minutes. I feel tDBK's chose this one to show off their musicality a bit more. Fair enough, it did. This one isn't as pandemically (my blog, my made up words) catchy as the last one, but that doesn't mean it's shite. Good on them for showing that they aren't a one trick pony.

Kissing on The Dance Floor.

What a delightful little band name! I believe it is inspired by the main activity that takes place at Neptunes II (self high five!) Dash starts off and I am intrigued as to whats happening. We've got a disco bass line, atmospheric guitar, effect laced vocals and a quirky rhythm keeping it together. I'm having a little difficulty hearing the vocals in the early part, but I can hear the lines “Do you remember the treasures that you are looking for” being repeated. Peculiar! 2 minutes into the song and it breaks out into a more conventional tune. It's got great lala's in the chorus of which I am a fan of. Especially when it stems from the lyric “coco cola”. Just when I thought this song was picking up however, it ends. So, next song.

“Subtle Sexy”
This one almost sounds like its a completely different band. It's bright, bouncy and flows along like the rain being brought by this typhoon. I can imagine more making out on dance floors taking place to this song then the previous one. 1min33 is one of my favourite moments on this CD. Without giving away to much , I'm going to say one word: groovybaby. The lyrics are still fun and quirky, “Like we're running in Africa” Again though, the song ends too soon for me. In their defence though, it is the standard 3 minute length so fair enough. Overall, consistently interesting. Well done KOtDF.

The Ember

“No one”
Bust out the in house moshing! Our first head banging track has arrived and I am loving that the song giving it the most balls, comes from the only all girl band on the CD. \m/ (Thats the bullhorns btw grand dad) Is it journalisticly inappropriate that I point out the girls are hottt? Oh well. Should have paid for a magazine if you wanted integrity. Enough! Back to the music. It's what most people would call “emo” music. (Please save the Sunny Day comments, don't worry, I come from that school as well) Anyways, it IS fairly emotional regardless! Evidence can be heard right from the first line: “This world is full of shame, there's no place for me to hide.” I'm liking the singers voice in the chorus, she holds those high notes quite amicably. The verses remind me a lot of the band “Lost Prophets.” They have that whole melodic guitar picking married with broody vocals thing going on. Quick production kudos here, I love the sound of the kit and especially the bass guitar. Distorted guitar in the chorus's though, not so much a fan of that sound. Guessing it's a metal zone girls? Once again, this is purely due to my taste in sounds. Next song!

“The Last Call”
This one has a reduced tempo from the last one, but the emotional level has not decreased at all. We're still at Defcon 6. In fact there's more screaming and heartfelt singing in this one. This tune reminds me of some of the older “The Used” songs. Slow yet piercing. Granted not everyone is going to like The Embers style, but so what. The girls are good at what they do and in a scene where many many bands sound the same. I feel they stand out quite well, and thats not just because they are a bunch of girls. Props!

Gong Wu

If you go to Gong Wu's myspace, its clear these guys think the sun shines out of their arse. If you make some of the comments that these dudes make, you best make damn sure you've got the music and performance to back it up. You know what? They do. They really do. Everything sounds immaculate, from the “Yeaaaahs” leading into the chorus to the funk style guitars in the verse. It's rock defined. Major attitude, Major guitars and Major(ly) sounds like it could be on the Terminator sound track. Solid stuff. It pains me a little to say it, but hats off to Gong Wu.

“Back of the Line”
Wait scratch that, this should be on the Terminator soundtrack. You can absolutely hear the Guns'n'Roses influence the guys mention in this one. Now, a quick point to detail here. I'm pretty certain the lyric I'm hearing here is “Back of the Line” but the inner sleeve lists the track as “Black of the line” oops. Musically, it's a lot like the last one. Great structure, good performance from each member, and holy shit the note held by the model come singer towards the end has the potential to shatter some serious glass. Gong Wu have been making a very good name for themselves in the scene recently. It's hard to argue that they aren't a great sounding band. They just are. Fact.


“For My Brothers, Friends n Sisters”
For the record, Sanjeev (lead singer) is my favourite singer in the scene. Even though live I feel this band can offer more performance wise, his singing is always so note perfect and has that ability to send a tingly feeling down your spine. It can be real grungy ala “Vedder” and at the same time very stadium rock ala, well 1980. This track starts off very dark with a chorus drowned guitar haunting the sonics accompanied by a mysterious bass line holding it together. The vocal harmonies are the best on the CD, but then again I was expecting this to be the case when I saw they were on the track list. There's no doubt that this is a very moving song. It looks into the harsh times of our home planet. More so on the whole war and violence side of things. It's almost a call to arms to stand up and fight for your rights. Very fitting for this day and age. 4min20 has a great bass shining moment, which has also sold the song to me as being one of my favourites. This is another one that extends the 6 minute mark. In fact it just goes past 7 minutes. Epic!

“Let It Be”
Bold, bold move naming a song that instantly identifies with “The Beatles” but anyway. This one is much happier then the last. It starts off with the trademark Quasar dreamy guitars, before the rest of the band joins in with this great tune that I am going to go ahead and say is a love song. It's very alternative rock, and extremely 80's rock at the same time. I can almost imagine a terribly embarrassing music video for it. Theres not much else to report, and thats not a bad thing. I thoroughly enjoy the mood of it, the chord progressions, the tones , the melodies everything! It's very well planned out. Another one of my top picks! I'm glad I've got to hear Quasar recorded. It has definitely boosted their ratings in my, oh so important books. Some bands DO sound better on tape.

Disk 2

Poubelle International

“The Chase”
Pretty certain it's no big secret that I heart PI, serious amounts. I was excited to see that their names were on the track listing for this CD. I was, however, a little skeptical to hear if their great live sound would translate well onto a recording. Do not panic kiddo's for it does! If you aren't familiar with PI they play indie/garage/pop. They use the formula of simple catchy songs, and they do it well. Damn well. Lots of repetition, interesting lyrics and keeping the audience wanting to dance. Dance'n'roll! This song is another one that tells a tale of lust. “If you want it, come and get it” will get you singing along and continuing to sing for several days after. Trust me.

“The Battle Of Trafalgar Square”
This one continues the trend of bands selecting two extremes of their music. I suppose thats the smart thing to do when given two tracks to show off your band. This one is a little lighter than the last one, but still bouncy and catchy. I'm digging the “Elliot Smitheque” vocal delays. The thrilling threesome stick to their song writing formula, with lots of repetition and infectious melodies. I'm trying to find fault with PI, but its quite hard. They have a distinctive sound, and execute it brilliantly, both live and recorded. Oh wait heres a fault! Both your tracks extend past 3 minutes boys. Liars! Top Pick!

Homeless Alien

“Dead Air We Breathe”
Cute band name guys. I can imagine some great band logos! The music though, not so comic. Not at all. In fact this is one of the most professional sounding tracks on the album. So much is going on it risks feeling over done and claustrophobic. Instead, the outcome is a very polished track. And a great one at that. The band cites “Radiohead” as being a key influence in their song writing. You can absolutely hear “Yorke” and co. in this song. It's ambient, soul stirring , and rocks out all at the same time. Great vocal melodies continue throughout this song. My favourite thing about it, is that if you listen to the background mix, there's lots of subtle interesting sounds contributing to the overall sound. Major thumbs up guys. They get the award for blending technicality with great song writing. It's never too much and at no times is it empty. To me, this is a great achievement in a song which stretches to 6min03. Top pick!

It was going to be a tough one to follow their previous song, but I was interested to see how they would go about selecting their second track. They've gone the opposite way. This one is more uplifting than the previous. At the same time though, they manage to maintain their atmospheric/busy sound. I'm seriously digging the guitars. You'll be pleased to read that yes I have found some faults. Every now and then when the notes of the vocals go high, the singer struggles a little to consistently get there. Usually this could break a band, but in some ways, it adds that little touch of character to a great sound. This track didn't have me as awestruck as the last one, BUT it definitely had more of a unique sound, as opposed to the Thom Yorke worship that took place in the last one. So props for identity.

Thinking Out Loud

“Rock'n'Roll Machine”
Excellent! The Underground lady herself features on an Underground CD! TOL have a very interesting sound. It's grungy, poppy, funky and has a sax in it! I'm not usually a fan of brass instrumentation in rock bands. The sax solo that kicks off at about 3min16 is, well, fucken' smokin'! You can hear that each member is talented at their instrument, but it never gets too show offy, which I think is rad! A lot of people are fans of the whole virtuoso thing, but not this guy. I'm absolutely loving the sultry singing from Chris B. That little phaser that comes in every now and then on the vocals is a great production touch. I'm also digging the lyrics big time. “Psychedelic messenger from the front line” Niiiiiccceeee! Rock n Roll machine indeed. I wanna hear Parts 1+2 please!

“Gonna Be Famous”
When this track kicks in, I Immediately am getting flashbacks of that 90's teen flick “Clueless.” Particularly that song about becoming a supermodel. Cheesey class that song. Thats what makes this one interesting, as it's fairly ironic. It's bubbly and titled Gonna be Famous, but instead of a , “I'm a super star” song, it's basically a big two middle fingers up at the Miley Montanas and Britney Lavignes of our current media fed world. Attitude! Nice one guys. It's basically taken the argument of most artsy musicians and turned it into a song. I am throughly enjoying the dig at auto-tune and lip syncing. Now instead of ranting the realities of the Disney run music scene to people, I can play this song. Thanks TOL.


“I Feel Fine”
Hooray for poppy rock. Po Kei who I'm guessing is the main song writer of this band as well (he is the front man of the Good Fellas) definitely has a style of music that he likes. It's got a lot of overlapping vocal lines, singing about the joys of being happy. Thats just what F.T.T do and in a year where we are broke, unemployed and have swine flu. That's more than welcoming. It kind of takes you to a summer day driving to the beach. Or taking a taxi I guess would be the HK equivalent. There's a great high energy that continues throughout the track and it never gets boring. F.T.T should stand for Feel Two Thumbs(up). It's impossible not to feel ecstatic when listening to their tracks.

“Ride With Me”
The happiness continues straight through with this song. The music is very guitar driven, lots of repeated chords and riffs that blend over different layers of vocals yet again. This song has time for a neat little guitar solo before returning to the bouncy yay-rock. If The Beatles swapped LSD for cocaine, and were given distortion pedals, I'm pretty sure the sounds wouldn't be too dissimilar to those of F.T.T. One thing that I'm impressed with, is that theres a fine line between cheesy and joyous. F.T.T always stay on the right side of that! Nice one lads.

Bone Table

“Taxi to Wan Chai”
Excellent, we finally get a band who set a song in Hong Kong. If Quentin Tarantino came to direct a film in HK and had a scene in Wan Chai, I'm pretty certain this song would make the soundtrack. It's got that rootsy dirty rockabilly feel to it. Dirty and Wan Chai go together like Hugh Hefner and 7 girlfriends, very well. The song repeats the lines “Taxi to Wan Chai” and as I sit here late on a Friday night polishing this review off, this song is tugging at the strings of my Triple O's full heart. (True story, the mushroom burger I had today was scrumptious) The song's basically about a stock broker who wants to get lashed in our nations sleeze district, then take a broad back to a hotel. A cheap one at that. It's all in the lyrics, this isn't my interpretation of anything. I'm sold! Great tune. Top pick!

Bullet Proof Black Sedan
This one shows off the musical prowess of the instrumentalists a bit more. They are all very tight. The guitars in this one remind me a little of “Hendrix.” Big call I know but they deserve it. Have a listen and you'll see what I mean. The vocal melodies somewhat remind me a bit of that “B-52's” song “Love Shack.” That one I didn't like so much, this one I do. Nifty guitar solo in this one also. Now that I think about it, the guitar work on this compilation is very good. I'm proud to say we have some great guitarists in HK. Bone Table have a fantastic sound that is uncommon in HK. Except for maybe El Destroyo, but seeing as both bands share members, its understandable.


“Port Royal”
Speaking of fantastic sounds. I'm pretty certain there is no band in HK who does what Transnoodle do, at least not as well. Transnoodle have a billion people in the band which plays a blend of ,well, everything. Ska, Reggae, Bossa Nova, Samba, Punk, Rock, Pop and Pirate? Ok so I'm not sure if Pirate is actually a genre, but thats all I can think of when listening to this song. A bunch of rowdy swash bucklers getting absolutely tanked, abusing the ladies and eating their grub in a manner that would offend Prince William. In case you were wondering, yes there is a horn section, and yes it sounds just as good recorded as when you hear them live. Top Pick!

Transnoodle, by Transnoodle. Excellent. This one starts off with a Latin sounding guitar line, I'm expecting some “Gypsy Kings” to start coming out of my speakers. Instead it goes into this big band sounding song. I can imagine hearing this song in a smoky night club where everyone is smoking, in doors, ban free and loving it. I really enjoy the fact that when the singing style switches up for the chorus, the vocal melodies gives the song a completely different feel, yet it's still very distinctively Transnoodle. It's actually worth buying this CD just to hear the great sounds of Transnoodle. Amazing production on this one!

So thats it!
2 discs of some of the hottest talents in the HK indie scene at the moment. And what a scene it is! I'm not gonna get all emotional here, but when you take a step back and actually think about how many great acts there are now, it's seriously a pleasing thing.

Favourite tracks: She's the One – The David Bowie Knives, Let It Be – Quasar, The Battle of Trafalgar Square – Poubelle International, Dead Air We Breathe – Homeless Alien, Taxi to Wan Chai – Bone Table, Port Royal – Transnoodle.

The only major criticism I have of this one, is that there is no band singing in Chinese! Not that I miss hearing Cantonese or anything. I just feel one track would add a touch more of the HK vibe to it. Still though, please support and pick up a copy of this. I know there's some of you who read this blog who don't come out to shows. Get involved!

Sweet, all done...Taxi to Wan Chai!

Purchase at: http://cdbaby.com/cd/undergroundmusic (previews available!)

Monday, June 15, 2009

A post about absolutely nothing.

Just thought I'd mention how much fun the CD Release party was.

I opted to booze instead of review for this one, but just wanted to mention the quality in the bands that I watched (Quasar and Poubelle International) and wanted to draw particular attention to the David Bowie Knives. Real good stuff, was the first time I have actually caught them on stage, despite seeing members at nearly every show I go to.

Thanks to all who made the night so much fun, and congrats to the UG on another successful CD and night out.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The one with the Chris B interview

Evening Rockstars.

As all of you should know by now, the Underground has released their 2nd compilation CD. The CD features 12 of HK's very own indie bands, and boy are there some great names on this one. Personally I'm looking forward to hearing tracks from Poubelle International, Transnoodle and Quasar.

In celebration of this release, the Underground are hosting not one but two parties. One being last Saturday (06/06/09) and the other taking place this coming Saturday (13/06/09)

I somehow managed to get Underground founder Chris B to take time out of party planning to answer some questions on not just the UG but being a rocker (and mama!) in HK as well.

So let it roll!


Care to shed the light as to why you go by Chris B as opposed to using your last name, or is this a mysterious secret that will cause the apocalypse if you tell us?!

Well it has much less mysterious origins... Chris is quite a common name and I was once in a band full of Chris's so to distinguish between all of us we used the abbreviation of our surnames. Well that's what I tell people.Actually I was inspired by The Spice Girls and Mel B is so cool, I decided to nick her surname. Next I want her boobs.

I'm sure you've been asked this many times, but for those who haven't heard the news, how long have you had the Underground going for?

Since April 2004, which is over 5 years now!! Over 90 shows. Over 300 different bands have played - phew!

What was your motivation for starting up the UG?

I just wanted to play a gig to try out new songs with a new band, there was never ever any intention to 'change' the face of the live music scene in HK... hahahahahaha. That came later.... ;)

How has putting on a UG show now, compare to putting on a show back when you started?

Great question! Easier in some ways, harder in others! The first 19 shows were free and I had no idea I would do 19 for a start and then I discovered I was rather good at organising shows and motivating bands to play! I think it was easier then than now though....My own fault! Now we have Compilation CDs, Shirts, The Underground crew, people to liaise with, sponsors to keep happy etc. When it all started, I was organiser, photographer, website mistress, in fact everything except Poster designer (although I did make one, which was appalling....)

You've also played in many bands yourself, what instruments do you play?

Guitar but really I'm a singer first. I play the guitar rather simply but you know what, girls with guitars look so cool, so I keep persisting with working on improving my playing, I'd probably be a better guitarist if I wasn't working on The Underground hahahahahaha Oh, I played keyboards for 6 months in the Sisters of Sharon when I broke a finger....

How many UG's have you yourself played?

Wow, no one has ever asked me that, in 5 different bands I've performed at The Underground - let me see which ones - Underground 3, 4, 6, 11, 15, 21, 55, 62, Djizoes in HK, 69 (ahem), CD2 Launch Party A. So that makes 11 of the shows! Hope The UG lets me play some more in the future hahahaha.

On those nights do you switch up between performer and host or is there a "Vice Chris B"?

Well I just had myself cloned so it was quite easy. Actually I usually just ask someone to introduce the band I'm in, at Underground 62 Soler introduced us!! That was very cool! When I wasn't physically at The Underground, I had Yan (Hard Candy) do the MC work for me, plus friends like Manek helped out too. A lot of people have volunteered their time to ensure these shows continue to happen.

Have you ever got to the point where you have run out of bands to put on a show?

No! Waiting list is still bulging....

Whats your favourite memory of the UG?

So many!! Really there are so many. I love seeing bands improve. I love seeing the joy in their faces when they perform (i love that feeling myself). I have some funny ones too.. And some rude memories...

The UG has now expanded out of HK waters, where else are you putting on, and plan to put on shows?

Well you know we are toying with the idea of more Underground shows in China, especially up in Beijing.... However we still need to strengthen Shenzhen and Macau's showcases before we add more cities :)

What are you doing when you are not getting ready for the next UG show?

Just that! Getting ready for the next show!! hahahahahaha Planning things. You know we ran a T shirt design competition earlier on this year and had over 50 entries. We have a winner but I've been too busy to get the T shirts produced. That is my next project, right after talking to you. Oh you mean my day job? I'm a Rock Mum to Chloe & Ashley who are now 2 and half and they seem to like The Underground Compilation CD 2 which they have heard a few times now....

Whats it like having twins? Do you have hopes for them to become the next "The Veronicas"

Well I hope they decide to learn to play an instrument. I'm pretty sure they can sing, especially Chloe who is pitch perfect! It's cool having twins cause they play with each other and hang out together. A sister and a best friend at the same time. Cool for them. Hope they don't fight over boyfriends when they are older....

Having seen many bands over the past few years, what style of music seems to be the favoured amongst the HK bands?

Well I would say pop rock. Plus metal is popular. And hardcore. We've only ever had one jazz band play. And contrary to a paid music magazine, we've never (yet) had a symphonic goth metal band play at The Underground.

What would be your biggest complaint about the HK indie band scene?

Singers who cant sing in key and then say "It's my style" or some crap like that. And then second biggest complaint are the promoters who continue to book bands with out of tune singers, what does that tell the singers? hahahah I understand that bands need the experience of playing live but no one would sit and listen to out of tune guitars, so why would we listen to out of tune singing??!?!

Or is it cause I'm not doing the right 'drugs'? Anyway a few lessons to help singers is never a bad idea. Do you know Evanescence's Amy? She was out of tune (horribly in fact) when they got signed to the record company, the company wrote it into the contract that Amy take singing lessons. The rest is history. Even Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson takes singing lessons, I don't see it 'affecting' their style, do you?? Some HK bands have got great songs, great image and a lead vocalist who sings out of key, which stops them from achieving great success... :(

Agreed completely, now this weekend is the 2nd party for the launch of the new UG compilation CD. How come you decided to have two parties for this one?

Two parties are always better than one, we wanted to give all the bands a chance to play and also have a week long promotion! We love parties! Although we're toying with the idea of having a mini-festival for CD 3 when its launched later this year.... 12 bands in one night!! hahahaha

A long haul gig, be sure to stock up on enough Asahi. How did the idea for the compilation come about?

Bless Koya (Mark 1 music Center) he arranged a meeting with me awhile back and then asked me if I would like to release a compilation CD - I of course said yes and the rest is history! He is the easiest man to work with, to record with and talk with. I couldn't have found a better partner for the Compilations.

Where do you see the UG in another 5 years?

Well i hope people will look to The UG for more credibility when it comes to bands, to see it as being cool and having a super duper role in HK's live music scene. We are not a 'charity' we are an organisation created by me and filled with musicians who want to make a difference. We DONATE TO charity. We all want the scene to get better and to have more shows to go to and more different bands to watch. We don't want to watch them in tiny warehouses or with shit sound. We want more HK bands to support overseas acts. We want more festivals.

So I see The UG being involved (in small or big roles) with all these projects/ideas etc. Did I tell you we helped Velvette Vendetta get a slot at Baybeats (Singapore festival) this year? How cool is that? The only HK band to play! Bands that give their passion, music and love to The Underground get our passion and love back haahahhaa Oh god I sound like a hippy...High Five!


Well I don't know about you guys, but I thought that was a good little chat. See you cats at party B!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Brokencyde are just plain not good.

Monday, June 1, 2009

oooooooooooooh Party?!

Alright kidlings,

It's summer time, and with summer time comes sexy summer parties. Example needed? well how about the Underground CD2 launch (wait for it) partIES, that's right, so awesome that two parties are needed. That's just how Chris B and co from the Underground rolls. I shall probably be at both and by god so should you. There is actually a possibility you will contract H1N1 if you are a no show ... its true.

Here are the details:

(Taken from the oh so reliable Facebook)
The long awaited Underground Compilation CD2 is finally here! This compilation features another 11 great Hong Kong bands with musical styles ranging from reggae ska punk to rock 'n roll.

PARTY A @ Cavern

* Thinking Out Loud (alternative pop rock)
* Homeless Alien (emo rock)
* Bone Table (indie roots rock)
* Kissing on the Dance Floor (dynamic indie pop)
* Gong Wu (funk driven rock n rolll)

Admission: $150 (includes one Asahi, one CD and one lucky draw chance)

Lucky draw prizes: Thai Airways two return tickets to Seoul (Korea) and one night in the Executive Suite at The Fleming Hotel (Hong Kong)

(Bone Table)

PARTY B @ California
* F.T.T. (brit pop)
* Quasar (rock n roll)
* Poubelle International (garage indie)
* The David Bowie Knives (sexy rock n roll)
* The Ember (all girl emo grunge)

Admission: $150 (includes one Asahi, one CD and one lucky draw chance)

Lucky draw prizes:
Epiphone LES PAUL electric guitar



See ya there!

International Music Buzz

This post takes us away from our HK shores. Here's a little bit of whats going on in the music world:

- Our first bit of news comes from ambient hero's Sigur Ros. They are currently in the studio recording a new LP (While not preparing to perform for the Dalai Lama when his holiness visits Iceland on June 2nd) that is said to be "slower" and "more ambient" than their last release which saw them venture into the realm of more uptemo indie pop. Check out the article and more at Pitchfork

-For anyone who is as obsessed with Guitar Hero like myself, you will be happy to know that the creators have various titles scheduled for release before the end of 2009. The current major one in the works is Guitar Hero 5, which will feature both new songs and all time favourites from acts such as : Blink 182, Muse, The White Stripes, Tom Petty, Jimi Hendrix and many many more. For the current list of who is reported to feature on the next game, head on over to NME. Guitar hero will be adding to their artist series (Aerosmith, Metallica) with Guitar Hero: Van Halen, which is also set for release before the end of the year. Needless to say I am super stoked. For those following the Rock Band franchise, The Beatles edition will be available from around September. I might actually switch up allegiances and purchase a copy just for that. Oh sweet world of virtual rockness.

-This one perhaps is not that MAJOR news to the average rock listener, but the band Finch, brings me back to my high school days and will always have a special place in my cholestoral filled heart. Head over to their Myspace, to check out a new song (and songs from their recent EP, yes they are back together!)

-For all you Placebo fans out there, the eccentric trio have been kind enough to release their album to a special site where you can go listen in full for free. There DO seem to be alot of rules, such as, only 5 playbacks allowed and registering for 1337 passwords to get to it, but it's worth it. I wouldn't call myself the biggest Placebo fan, but I definitely enjoyed listening to the new album "Battle For The Sun" from start to finish and look forward to its release. If you are interested in also listening, click here.

-As many of us know, Hong Kong was recently treated to an epic performance in Coldplay's Viva La Vida 2009 tour. Pause for flashbacks. The band have decided to thank fans for their support by releasing a free live album of the Viva La Vida tour. It of course cannot compare to actually being there, but it absoutely helps in replaying the night in your head. Plus its free, so go grab your copy of LeftRightLeftRight

-Right Ozzy fans. The dark prince is suing former band mate/friend Tony Iommi over the trademark that is "Black Sabbath" For those interested , here is the article courtesy of Rolling Stone.

-TRV$ (Travis Barker) fans. Here is a video of Travis jamming along to the current Eminem single 3Am. Not as cool as the Soulja Boy jam, but still awesome.