Monthly Archives: September 2012

Spend Your Oct 1 With Snapline, Glow Curve and Not There at Zajia

It’s been a great couple of months for Not There. Once again, we’re lucky to play 2 really awesome bands: Snapline & Glow Curve. It’s going down on Monday, October 1st at Zajia  and we’re looking forward to playing some groovier/spacier/ambient jams. Not There hits the stage around 9:30

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4 Reasons Why Chinese Pop Music Sucks

We all know Chinese Pop Music sucks. All you have to do is listen to it. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some of the underlying reasons why the stuff on the radio is utter garbage.
1. KTV

KTV is the spawn of the devil and it ruins pop music. The simple truth is that most people can’t sing worth a damn and they get very flustered trying to sing songs with complicated melodies. In China, KTV is exceptionally important. For your song to be a hit, people need to able to sing it passably drinking green tea & whiskey while fish-eyed pseudo hookers clap along. Good luck getting some sauced business man to hit a melody more complicated then “Laoshu Ai Da Mi.”

2. Self-Censorship

I’m not going to say anything here. I’m not going to say anything here. I’m not going to say anything here.

3. Advertising

Good pop music can be commercial, but can it be strictly commercial? I don’t think so. Chinese Pop is basically a platform to create advertising spokesmen, I mean how else can you sell instant noodles? If you’re music career is about creating a personal brand that will make you billboard-ready, you’re probably gonna play it pretty safe.

4. No Dancing Allowed

James Brown once said something like “The only good music is something you can grind to or dance to.” I agree with him. Chinese Pop, however, is more like a campfire sing-along. It’s not music for your body, it’s music that everyone can sing together while shaking horrible plastic percussion instruments and buying sex. Think about campfire songs in English–can you really get into “Michael Row Your Boat?” Maybe if there were companions (read: hookers) sitting around the ol’ campfire.

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Thank You

We would like to thank everyone who was a part of No Filler. It was a great experience and we hope everyone who played, watched, danced and drank had as much fun as we had. Now some specific shout-outs.

Randy Abel: You are the best fucking country fried singer in this city and we rocked the hell out of Elvis.

Residence A: As always you guys were amazing.

My September: Your set was monumental, the band sounded like one big, crazy tripped out instrument.

Pacalolo: Disco.

Media Peeps: A special thanks to everyone who helped us get our message out.

Yugongyishan: Y’all dealt with us for 2 nights. Special thanks for working so hard behind the sound-board.

Beibei & Crew: Thanks for helping us make our crazy schemes come alive.

The Crowd: Ain’t no show without the energy you guys bring. Thanks for supporting our crazy, mostly instrumental electro-rock band & some of our favorite bands.

 

 

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NiK Richards and Baudrillard: Chillin’ at Pool Bar

At first blush, Pool Bar might be a strange place to interview Jean Baudrillard, maestro of the hyper-real. But hell, Jean suggested it so I agreed. I mean it does sorta make sense. Pool Bar might be the world’s first simulated Dive Bar.

So Bauds and I meet over luke-warm Harbin beers and braved the acrid urine stink. Here’s our little chat. Turns out he thinks I’m just a simulation of a simulation. I sorta think he’s a pretense laden wanker who’s just ripping of Heeter.

 

NiK:

So hey dude, what’s happening? What’s up? Why the hell are we at Pool Bar?

Baudrillard:

If you have to ask, I’m not gonna tell you. I mean have you read “Fatal Strategies?”

NiK:

No.

Baudrillard:

NiK, It’s time to give up and let the visceral swirl of images swoosh over you! The sublime is here.

NiK:

It smells like a Yak pissed all over the Pool table…

Baudrillard:

Actually Not There is a prime example of the Ecstasy of the pOst-mOdern sublime. You are a Fatal Strategy.

NiK:

What?

Baudrillard:

What? You people are damn simulacrum. A hologram. Just a bunch of flesh & blood Zombie DJs. You don’t play music, you play the image of music making images of itself. Neener. Neener. Neener.

NiK:

What the hell are you talking about?

Baudrillard:

Let me break it down for you slowly. You people play dance music.

Nik:

Right.

Baudrillard:

Dance music was made by DJs. DJs sampled their stuff from like those Northern Soul Collections and like some Amen Break or something. You lot, with your digital & analog synths and your fake 4-on-the-floor…you lot are totally just simulating a DJ.

NiK:

Ergo?

Baudrillard:

Ergo you are simulating a simulation.

NiK:

Deep.

Baudrillard:

Totes.

NiK:

Are we done here?

Baudrillard:

Wouldn’t you like to hear my take on the Carsick Cars? Talk about a coin with no face…

NiK:

Um. I have a date or something.

Baudrillard:

Laters. See you at No Filler on September 15th at Yugongyishan!

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Pacalolo and No Filler

Pacalolo is a really awesome band. They’re talented and a lot of fun, but more importantly they’re authentic and they work their asses off in practice.

You want to know why we asked Pacalolo to play with us on September 15th?

Read this and you’ll get it.

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Nietzsche Loves No Filler

As some of you know I have a pretty strong relationship with Mr. Will2Powah himself, Freddy Nietzsche. I interviewed him over lukewarm coffee at the Bridge Cafe for the now defunct China2Valley blog. It was pretty intense.

Once again, Nietzsche’s publicist reached out to me, indicating that Freddy wanted to have another chat, this time about music.

Of course, I was stoked.

Given the whole Germanic superman thang, I thought Cafe Zarah would be a suitable choice for our second chat–what with the Bretzels, floating waiters and artistic snapshots of trash from all over China. (I kid because I love.) What follows is my conversation with Nietzsche.

Jonathan:

So, what’s happening dude? What are you up to?

Nietzsche:

Not a lot. I’ve just been sorta chilling. Looking forward to seeing James Murphy this weekend. And Chromatics. What a bill. Are you going?

Jonathan:

No. I’ll be in Chongqing. I’ve gotta go to a wedding.

Nietzsche:

A wedding? That’s uh, whatever. Dude you’re slipping.

Jonathan:

I mean whatever. Both of those bands are totally going to suck live.

Nietzsche:

Yeah, maybe.  But like, think about it in terms of the Eternal Recurrence. If you had to go to that wedding forever, you’d just be bored & drunk, eternally.

Jonathan:

Fred, I always thought that theory was full of b.s. Anything done forever would probably suck, right?

Nietzsche:

Your songs go on forever, but I sorta like them. But what the hell is this No Filler thing?

Jonathan:

No Filler is a concert dude.  September 15th at Yugongyishan. You should totally come. Wagner is gonna be there. You guys should patch things up. I mean bury the hatchet dude, it’s about time.

Nietzsche:

I’ll come, but you tell that Wagner douche to stay the hell away from me. Are you like one of those self-hating jews or something? Wagner…

Jonathan:

No comment on the Jewish thing. Quick question though. What the hell are Eagle and the Snake in Zarathustra all about?

Nietzsche:

I was pretty whacked on bath salts at that point and I don’t really remember. I mean the only thing I’ll stand by from that book is that quote about the Buddha. “Blessed are the sleepy, for they will soon nod off.” You write in aphorisms, well let’s just say that’s a signal to people that you are full of shit.

Jonathan:

(Tittles). When are we putting that Grateful Dead cover band together, you know the Jolly Ubermensch?

Nietzsche:

Whenever dude, I’ll bring my axe.

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Residence A at Mao Live

I went to see Residence A at Mao Live on Friday. It was great. Here, for no particular reason, are my notes from the show.

– Simple & direct

-Huge groove & big heartbeat (the drums are fucking great)

– Super tight with a deep pocket no matter how fast or slow they play

– Great energy, great stage presence

– Lot’s of soul & you can tell that they mean every note they play

– No bullshit & no acting

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