Exposé Online banner

Carsick Cars — Carsick Cars
(Maybe Mars MAYBE 2.2, 2007, CD)

Snapline — Party's Over Porno Star
(Maybe Mars MAYBE 3.1, 2007, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2008-10-01

Carsick Cars Cover artParty's Over Porno Star Cover art

These two closely related bands represent Beijing's current underground rock scene quite nicely. Both are trios, and they share two musicians: Li Weisi (bass) and Li Qing (drums in Carsick Cars, guitar and keys in Snapline). The Cars are rounded out by Zhang Shouwang on guitars and vocals; Snapline adds Cheng Xi on vocals (and drum machine programming, I think). Like many Beijing bands, they share a fondness for noise, though it manifests in very different ways. The Cars can be roughly thought of as taking after Sonic Youth, with walls of guitar (though considerably less on this album than you'll hear in a live setting). Vocals are a secondary consideration, more yelping and screaming than exactly singing, but surprisingly melodic when presented here. The producers have wisely focused on the more tuneful side of the band, and the result is quite listenable and catchy. The lyrics run 7/3 Chinese / English, though in many cases they’re pretty minimalistic, as on "Zhong Nan Hai," named after a popular brand of cigarette, where he mostly just repeats the title. On several tracks, they drift into long hypnotic riffs, reminding me (probably unintentionally) of Hawkwind in a noisy mood.

Snapline puts much greater emphasis on the vocals. Cheng Xi has a delivery a little reminiscent of early David Byrne. Li Qing's guitar playing is more overtly avant-garde and less rock oriented than what you hear with the Cars, though she has the good sense to play conventional sounds at times to keep the tunes moving along. Drums are unapologetically artificial, going for an esthetic a bit like early Ultravox crossed with Thrill Kill Kult, if you can imagine that. The lyrics are entirely in English, and sung in such a way that the accent is not problematic, though there is an occasional odd turn of phrase. Both CDs feature unusual packaging, with the artwork printed and stuck directly on the jewel cases rather than on paper booklets.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 36, 2007 releases

Related artist(s): Carsick Cars, Snapline

More info
http://tenzenmen.bandcamp.com/album/carsick-cars
http://tenzenmen.bandcamp.com/album/party-is-over-pornostar

Latest news

2019-12-11
There's No Time Like the Present – The Belgian band Present has been one of the best avant-rock bands in the world since its formation in 1979. Over the years since then, Present has released nine amazing albums, and now they're ready to start work on number ten. They're looking for some financial help from their fans around the world. » Read more

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Agitation Free - Fragments – [Musique Intemporelle edition from 1995] Agitation Free are one of Germany's finest space rock groups, an outfit that launched the careers of many respected musicians like Michael Hoenig, Lutz...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues