New Music Friday, 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.
We need this right now. Take a break from terrifying headlines and breathless media coverage of the world’s ills and stick this on your headphones while you’re washing your hands: Zoo Gazer’s Hiding In Your Room EP.
The young quartet, who hail from Jiangsu province in eastern China, have dialed down the fuzzy noise found on their previous record and dialed up the summery vibes. Maybe I’m going a little stir crazy after all this coronavirus confinement, but the five track record — contrary to its title — makes you want to throw open your door and get out into the sunshine. That might make it sound a bit saccharine or simplistic, but the EP walks the line between clever musicality and straight-up catchiness with guile, adding a little weight through its lyrical musings on belonging, insomnia and displaced youth.
After a sleek trip hop dabbling intro, the EP segues into the languid and immediately calming title track, which takes only a few seconds to dispel any worries that it’s going to be a dark number about coronavirus confinement. Things then kick up a gear on the stand-out “Nastenka, You’re a Star,” before the tropical vibes return on “Insect Tweet By Tunnel Exit” — which we previously highlighted here. By the time the record closes out with “Share a Cloud I’ve Never Seen,” Zoo Gazer might just be one of your new favorite bands.
In China, the EP is available on a suitably colorful 10″ vinyl via SJ Records, though thus far it seems international fans will have to make do with simply downloading it from Bandcamp.
SJ Records, incidentally, featured in the DIY category on our list of China’s most influential record labels of the 2010s — dive into that below:
The Best Chinese Music of the Decade, Via Its Most Influential Record Labels
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