ChthoniC release new MV — TAKAO

ChthoniC have released a music video for their new single “TAKAO” (皇軍). The single is from their new album which is scheduled for release in August July. The video was directed by Vince Chuang (莊志文) who has directed other videos for ChthoniC including “49 Theurgy Chains“.

The video and song is about Taiwanese soldiers who fought for Japan in World War II. Some of these soldiers were indigenous people who were known as the Takasago Volunteers. Their story is the theme of ChthoniC’s forthcoming album. The video includes an 80 year old Atayal man whose father fought for Japan in Southeast Asia.

The song also features the voice of DPP legislator Yu Tien (余天). In a post on Facebook ChthoniC bass player Doris Yeh said, “Yu Tien’s voice perfectly provides the passionate vibe of the song.”

The Chinese name of the song means “Japanese Imperial Army” but the English name is “Takao”. This is the old Hoklo Taiwanese name for Kaohsiung, which was the harbor that soldiers departed from to join the war. Doris said, “This is a way of letting the fans around the world know Kaohsiung.”

The single is being released in Europe by Spinefarm Records. It includes a bonus track with Finnish metal band Ensiferum singing the chorus of “Takao” in English.

Mega Port Festival rocks Kaohsiung

Mega Port Festival in Kaohsiung

The Mega Port Festival (大港開場) was held over the weekend of 5-6 March in Kaohsiung. The festival featured a few bands from Japan and the UK and some big name Taiwanese stars in Wu Bai and Jeannie Hsieh. However, it was largely a showcase of Taiwan’s best contemporary indie bands.

Mega Port by the harbour in Kaohsiung

Bands played on three stages spread out along the side of the harbour in the Pier 2 Arts District (駁二藝術特區). The close proximity to the Love River and the harbour gave the festival a unique maritime feel. Continue reading

Exclaim! TV reports on Taiwan’s indie music scene

Exclaim! TV from Canada visited Taiwan in April this year to report on Taiwan’s burgeoning indie music scene. They attended Spring Scream (春天吶喊) and also checked out live venues in Taipei. A five-part series of videos documenting Taiwan’s music scene is now available for viewing online. Part One is embedded above and links to all five videos can be found at the end of this post.

I contacted  Exclaim! TV’s Sam Sutherland by e-mail and asked him about his impressions of his time in Taiwan. He was surprised that at Spring Scream not many people were drinking. Sam said, “At any music festival in North America, the beer tent is as crowded as the main stage. But it seemed like James and I were the only people bothering to buy beers in a crowd of thousands.” Continue reading

Summer of rock in Taiwan

Taiwan’s summer music festivals were supposed to kick off this weekend with the Wan Bay Music Festival (灣島音樂祭) at Jiupeng (九棚) in Pingtung. However, as a result of an injunction from Pingtung County authorities the event has been cancelled. Apparently police were concerned the event would be used for selling illegal drugs. I have some more details on my Posterous blog. If you have made plans to head to Pingtung this weekend there will still be some musicians playing “unplugged” on the beach.

Hohaiyan (海洋音樂祭) is one of Taiwan’s longest running music festivals. This year it’s on again at Fulong Beach in Taipei County from 9-11 July. Entry is free. It kicks off on Friday 9 July with a great line up including Sodagreen (蘇打綠), 88 Balaz (88顆芭樂籽), Totem (圖騰樂團) and Tizzy Bac.  They are all past winners of the Hohaiyan competition that have gone on to bigger things. On Saturday 10 July bands will compete for Hohaiyan’s big prize. Then last year’s winners Matzka and DeHot will close the night with their rocking reggae tunes. On Sunday 11 July don’t miss Kimbo Hu (胡德夫).

Continue reading

What is justice? 正義系啥米

What is justice? (正義系啥米) was held at the Leader University (立德大學) in Tainan yesterday. The event featured a concert with a number of leading Taiwan bands as well as an exhibition about 228 Incident. The event was organised by the Leader University Hot Rock Club (立德大學熱音社) and the 228 Memorial Foundation.

An exhibition about 228 was set up at the edge of the hall with many people walking through it during the afternoon. Many of the bands encouraged people to go over and have a look at the exhibition and think about what the 228 means. Every year on 28 February there are events to commemorate the 228 Incident, but it shouldn’t be an issue that is just put in the spotlight one day a year. Events like this give people another opportunity to learn about and reflect on the meaning of 228. Continue reading

Justice For All Concert in Pingtung

The 2010 Justice For All Concert (正義無敵音樂會) was held in Pingtung yesterday. I arrived at the venue in the mid-afternoon while the bands were still doing their sound checks. The venue was a park in the Pingdong Sugar Factory — a big grassy area surrounded by palm trees with a banyan tree providing some nice shade.

In the late afternoon the crowd began to build as the first band Windmill (風籟坊) took to the stage. Windmill’s Hoklo rock was followed by the Hakka folk of Lin Sheng-xiang (林生祥). Sheng-xiang is well known as a protest singer and lives in Meinong, not far from Pingtung. Continue reading

ChthoniC takes it to the extreme

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Taiwanese extreme metal group ChthoniC’s  (閃靈) new album Mirror of Retribution (十殿) was scheduled for release in Taiwan on 8 August. However, as Typhoon Morakot hit at the same time, the release was delayed for a few days and the autograph signing activities in Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung were cancelled. ChthoniC have responded to the disaster by donating several large boxes of long-sleeved t-shirts to people in the disaster areas in the south of Taiwan.

I finally picked up my copy of the Taiwanese edition in Taipei today. Mirror of Retribution was released in the UK on 10 August and is set for release in the US on 1 September. The album was recorded in the US last year and produced by Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano. Continue reading

Free Tibet concerts in Taipei

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Thousands of people attended a Free Tibet Concert (西藏自由音樂會) held in the Xinyi District of Taipei yesterday. When the concert began at 1:30pm under blue skies and a scorching hot sun the crowd was quite small. However, by the late afternoon the crowd swelled.

The line up of bands represented some of Taiwan’s finest indie music. From start to finish the bands were:  KoOk, Enno Cheng (鄭宜農), Shoo Band (恕樂團), Chang Jui-chuan (張睿銓), Aphasia (阿飛西雅), Panai (巴奈), Dog G (大支), Fire Ex (滅火器), ChthoniC (閃靈) and LTK Commune (濁水溪公社).

free-tibet-concert-crowd

Many young people attended the concert and Freddy Lim said in a speech that he wanted to show that the youth of Taiwan have ideas and a voice. Although the concert was about Tibet, a number of other important human rights issued were mentioned by performers. There were a few flags of East Turkestan (aka Xinjiang) in the crowd and the violence and oppression there was often mentioned. Continue reading