Beijing indie rock stars Carsick Cars are passing through town, as they often do this time of year. This time they’ve got a new album, 3, which lazy critics (such as me) will say sees them moving from a Sonic Youth-influenced sound into Velvet Underground territory and which was recorded in New York last year with The Clean’s Hamish Kilgour. There’s definitely more jangle, a bit more playing to the rafters. I’m not sure that the Velvets comparison is quite right, but I’m too tired to think of anything else.

Above, last year’s gig at Ran Tea House. Tonight they play at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn—arrive early for White+, singer Shouwang’s electronic side project. And Saturday night they open for Dean Wareham (of Galaxie 500 and Luna) at Bowery Ballroom.

If you haven’t made one of Carsick Cars’ New York shows, it’s well worth your time. From the first note, there’s always electricity in the air, both from the band’s assured playing and from the audience, full of Chinese kids living in New York and Americans who spent some time in China, all excited to have a bit of Beijing in the city.

An interesting mini-doc about a Nigerian dance music pioneer.

Chinese Art on a Pier in the Hudson this Weekend

This year’s Armory Show—a big-deal art fair on two Hudson River piers, named for (but not related to) the 1913 Armory Show that’s credited with introducing Modern art to America—has a focus on Chinese contemporary art, with 20 artists from 17 galleries. (Here’s W Global Watch D12-03 by Wang Luyan, one of three artists presented by Beijing’s Pékin Fine Arts.)

One hopes the selections will get across that there is more to Chinese art than kitsch and Mao suits; that not everything has to be overtly political. According to an interview with Randian, “among [the] younger artists—He Xiangyu, Li Shurui, Zhao Yao, Lu Pingyuan, and Liang Shuo—I think you see a sensibility that I’ve been very interested in lately, which is art that speaks to a Chinese situation and conditions but doesn’t actually look Chinese on the surface. That’s I think a defining method for this younger generation, the so-called ‘On/Off’ generation,” says Philip Tinari, who curated the China section of the show and is director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, one of the top spots in Beijing’s 798 Art Zone.

Platform China, also in Beijing, presents what they call the “Northern Salon,” meant to evoke a salon for trading ideas about art and featuring six painters, many reflecting on Socialist Realist traditions, from the Dongbei (northeast) region. Each day, a space within the booth will have a different mini-exhibition of an artist or two, such as Sunday’s “Testing the World Through Painting – Song Yuanyuan.” (Song’s Poor Studio, Door Factory is below).

And Shanghai artist Xu Zhen, who now works under the name MadeIn Company, created several commissioned works for the show, some of which are in WSJ’s preview.

(Reblogged from holysoul)


Power Pop legend Paul Collins comes to town in less than a week!

(Reblogged from split-works)


You can’t get very far in a conversation about rock music in China without the name Cui Jian popping up. His band jolted viewers in the 1980s when they appeared on national TV, and he went on to sing with the student protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

As a new generation of rock musicians has developed, the rocker/trumpet player’s music seems less interesting, but he’s still revered in China and among China-watchers for being the first.

He’s at NYU today and tomorrow for two daytime events, a talk and a film screening.

Eddie Huang hangs out with Shanghai street-food vendors.

For the briefest of moments last week, my article on spots for recharging after the holidays occupied some enviable real estate on the homepage, under a shirtless Adam Driver and the Lena Dunham cover story.

With 2014 just three weeks old, isn’t it time for a soul reading in snowy Wyoming, playing on the shores of the Maldives à la Tilda Swinton and Ryan McGinley, sleep enhancement in Thailand, lunar spa treatments and tequila in Cabo San Lucas, and a hangover-curing IV in New Orleans?

You say polar vortex, I say just another day in Harbin, northeast China, where the ice and snow sculptures stay frozen all winter and the average temp is around 0 Fahrenheit.