When Bands Explode

Posted by Pete DeMola on 30. May 2009

The Bigger Bang is one of this country's hardest working bands: the foursome came out of nowhere and spent the better part of the past two years blasting through a countless string of gigs at just about every live music venue in the country.

They're now set to release their debut EP When Planets Explode! on Sat, June 6 at D-22.

The unsigned quartet, led by Guangzhou native Pupi, cut the EP earlier this spring, said band manager Li Zhao, explaining that the entire process was a DIY effort. "They recorded everything in the bedroom and another friend of ours edited all of the songs," she wrote in a text message. "We self-produced it."

In doing so, they've managed to execute a much-needed step in this city's musical development: the successful construction of a bridge between the oft-cited "Beijing sound" -- embodied by chiming guitars and gritty, cathartic vocals cast over a spry late-1970s New York post-punk bounce -- to more accessible, mainstream pop sensibilities characterized by infectious, synth-heavy choruses and indelible, hook-ridden melodies.

Highlight track is the kick-off single "Oh, You!," a winsome nugget of pure, er, New New Wave pop: Pupi alternatively snarls and coos while Abe Gan's synthesizers happily bubble away in the background, making way for an instantly-memorable chorus destined to act as a summertime dance floor demolisher -- especially if given the remix treatment with one of this city's top notch producers (LIman, please report for duty).

Critics' accolades withstanding, we think that wider exposure can only be made possible, in part, if even a minority of this city's box club DJs and bar owners ever decide to extract their heads from their collective money-clogged backsides to look inwards for quality dance floor anthems to get the masses to shake their asses in lieu of stupidly spinning CD-R compilations of last year's Billboard Hot 100 countdown and generic techno trash.

That's not to say that Planets ventures entirely into groundbreaking, crossover dance territory ("Cry for Young" sticks to the seasoned post-punk recipe of jarring guitars, high-hat riding and stop-on-a-dime tempo changes; "She" trots along quietly at a midtempo clip, with vulnerable vocals awash in a bath of lukewarm digital effects) but the 5-song effort is a certainly a step away from the status quo and towards more innovative pastures.

The Bigger Bang is a refreshing and promising young band. Our city needs more artists like them.

Psychedelic rock act Scoff and 8-Bit producer Sulumi will provide support at the release party for When Planets Explode!; Sat, June 6 at D-22.

You can watch the video for "Oh, You!" here.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Niederhauser.




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