standard The Bluffer’s Guide to the Chinese Music Scene: Hedgehog/刺猬

Hailing from Beijing, the cultural, musical, and actual Capital of China Hedgehog consist of Zo, the epitome of slacker cool, on vocals and lead guitar, (the Astroboy referencing) Atom, the epitome of being tiny, Chinese, and bloody beautiful, on drums, and Yifan, the epitome of being a tall bass player, on bass. They peddle the kind of psychedelic, poppy, feedback drenched, fuzzed up indie rock that wouldn’t have felt out of place in the early 90s college rock scene.

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They are most famous among Zhongguoren for the album Blue Daydreaming, considered their pop masterpiece by many and still the album whose songs get the wildest reaction at gigs six years, and five more albums, after its release. Most famous among me personally is the fantastic album Sun Fun Gun; the point where the earlier pop sounds start to give way to the full on psychedelia of their later work.

Sensing a theme here...

Sensing a theme here…

The band have regularly played Ningbo over the past few years and are often at festivals in shanghai such as MIDI and Strawberry. One memorable gig in Ningbo led to CMK having to reinforce the structure of the building afterwards as the crowd were dancing, pogoing and just generally enjoying themselves so much that the whole place was bouncing up and down.

Atom also plays drums in the increasingly successful Nova Heart (see last month’s live review), who bring to mind the soundtrack to the film Drive in their stark indie electro take on the 80s, and also include Box, the original bassist from Hedgehog among their ranks.

Where to Begin

Try Toy & 61 Festival from their second album Noise Hit World to catch them at their jingle jangle indie-pop best, Blue Daydreaming from the album of the same name for their stand out live song, Paper Airplane from Honeyed and Killed to see the first efforts of the current line-up to move away from their power pop roots into something more grungy and psychedelic, and Dear Boy I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend, from Sun Fun Gun, for an Atom-fronted slice of pop perfection.

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