Yin (, “music”) is a weekly Radii feature that looks at Chinese songs spanning classical to folk to modern experimental, and everything in between. Drop us a line if you have a suggestion.

I never like assigning ordered numbers to albums, and thus have always bristled at assembling year-end lists, but if forced to choose I think David Boring’s Unnatural Objects and Their Humans would be my favorite album released in 2017. Seeing them live in Beijing a few months ago clinched the decision — I haven’t seen a band with that much nervy energy, equal parts intoxicating and unsettling, in a long time.

Beijing used to brim with these vibrations, and Hong Kong is not known for its underground culture, but David Boring confidently delivered the fiercest, rawest and somehow most delicate post-punk set I encountered all year. I particularly remember the two-guitar harmony intro to mid-album track “Brian Emo”, which quickly descends into a pounding drum+bass assault (also: “Brian Emo” is the best track title of this decade so far I think).

In the latest episode of my podcast, concert promoter Krish Raghav, who worked with David Boring for this year’s Concrete & Grass music festival in Shanghai, had this to say:

David Boring from Hong Kong was the standout show of the year, as well as probably the album of the year for me, as far as loud, cathartic, socially conscious punk rock… What they gave me was a worldview in some way… That kind of confidence in what they’re presenting, this almost activist stance that I think is missing. The anger is there in a lot of Mainland music, but due to structural restrictions, it would never see wider distribution.

Stream/buy Unnatural Objects and Their Humans here, and check out the latest B-side China podcast here.

Cover image: David Boring (via Facebook)