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PREMIERE: Influential Beijing Post-Punk Trio Snapline Bombs the Cartoon Airwaves with “Tent” MV

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RADII is proud to premiere “Tent,” a brand new music video from deeply influential, though recently reticent Beijing trio Snapline.

“Tent” is like a secret rave happening between the frequencies during an unscheduled outage when your old-school, broken analog TV is giving you a bent picture of static and undulating color bars. With lobsters.

Buried deep in the background is footage of the band doing their characteristic choreography: Li Qing and Li Weisi slowly rocking behind their guitar and bass, respectively, vocalist Chen Xi stabbing the space around him with angular, jerky maneuvers and belting out left-field lyrical commands like a field sergeant. But mostly it’s all aquamarine psychedelic freakout, with the aforementioned lobsters and a pulsating squid singing along to Chen’s cryptic, “OH! / It’s armed/ it’s gently, softly armed.”

The music video for “Tent,” directed by Li Qing and Li Weisi from the band, with illustration from Andor and animation from Yan Si’nan, comes almost a year after the release of Shou Hua, Snapline’s latest album. Shou Hua, in turn, was released at the end of a six-year wait trailing the release of Snapline’s legacy-making 2012 slow-burner, Phenomena.

We’re not holding our breath for another album quite yet — vocalist Chen relocated to Washington a few years ago, where he makes quirky synth-pop under the solo moniker Late Troubles. Li Qing has been busy on the label and production end of the industry via her role at Ruby Eyes Records, and both she and Li Weisi seem to have fully reclaimed their mantle as the original drummer and bassist, respectively, of era-defining Beijing indie darlings Carsick Cars.

However, given Li Qing’s brief cameo at the end of the first season of this summer’s hit iQIYI show The Big Band, is it too much to hope that Snapline will return intact to weird up the airwaves for an entirely new generation of China’s rock’n’roll youth? We can dream….

More Snapline:

Yin: Beijing Post-Punks Snapline Return with Elliptical “Answer”

Watch: Snapline Release Graphic Music Video for New Single “Fall”

Josh Feola
Josh Feola is a Shanghai-based writer and musician, and RADII's Culture Editor. His coverage of Chinese music and art has appeared in The Wire, Dazed, Artsy, LEAP, Tiny Mix Tapes, and more. He's been active in China's underground music scene since 2010 via his booking platform pangbianr.com, and is a former member of Beijing bands Chui Wan, SUBS, and Vagus Nerve.