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Culture

New Music: The Upside Down’s Sophomore Album is a Dreamy Summer Escape

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New Music, formerly Yin (音, “music”), is a weekly RADII column that looks at Chinese songs spanning hip hop to folk to modern experimental, and everything in between. Drop us a line if you have a suggestion.

Summer, elusive summer. In Shanghai, we’re going through the throes of the end of spring and the beginning of the best season of the year. The weather is shifting between gorgeously warm, blue-skied days and more temperamental windy and stormy weather.

The threat of rain can be a dampener, but we’re just about ready to let go of our sombre, springtime musical tastes in favor of something with a bit more sun — especially as lockdowns continue to loosen.

This week, Chongqing indie band The Upside Down are setting the tone with their excellent new album, Dream Tide. Yes, we realize they share a name with the spooky alternate dimension from hit TV show, Stranger Things, but Mind Flayers and Demogorgons you won’t find here.

Coming courtesy of Beijing-based label, Cao Tai Records, Dream Tide is effervescent, as it sparkles with synthesizers and the sultry sound of singer Huang Jing’s vocals.

Stateside readers might recognize the band from their appearance at Austin music showcase South by Southwest in 2019. The songs on Dream Tide were written over the course of 12 months, with the album set to be released in January this year.

Related:

Listen: RADII’s SXSW 2019 Spotify Playlist

Stateside readers might recognize the band from their appearance at Austin music showcase South by Southwest in 2019. The songs on Dream Tide were written over the course of 12 months, with the album set to be released in January this year. The release was ultimately put back by three months, but its arrival feels timely, given the seasonal nature of the music.

Noteworthy moments on the record include “Floating Summer Night,” which bears certain similarities to Madonna’s “Holiday” and includes some funky bass beats a la Chic, as well as the album’s closer “Dream Tide,” which is driven by reverb-laden guitar and dreamy, buried vocals.

Bryan Grogan
    Bryan is RADII's Culture Editor. He is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with an interest in culture stories with a social bent. He can be found at a music show, usually with pint in hand.