Thursday Night Musical Outro: RST + Lenz, ft. Andrew Moon

Andrew Moon and Lenz
Meet Andrew Moon, a participant of a growing trend in mainland China’s increasingly sophisticated independent music community — that of the curious outsider whose interest in the country’s creative culture was piqued by pals within and has since gone on to develop deep ties to domestic musicians during trips back and forth from New Zealand.

Friday Night Musical Outro: Pairs – Vatican Colours

Pairs - Vatican Colours
As Shanghai continued to broil in a prolonged heatwave this week, the local boundary-pushing rock duo Pairs offered some relief on Monday with the release of their sixth full-length studio effort, Your Feet Touch Ground, A Carousel, a record that they made available to download for free through their website. The prolific pair’s first electronic album is the latest in a long line of experimentation for the restless lo-fi rock outfit. It follows last November’s If This Cockroach Doesn’t Die, I Will, a sprawling monster of a concept record that Sean Hocking, head of the band’s Hong Kong-based label Metal Postcard Records, hailed as one that will eventually come to embody the experience of expat existence across Asian megacities.

Day Above Ground Says Its Racist Video Is “Art,” Tells Offended Parties To “Step Back, Take A Breath And Relax” [UPDATE]

Day Above Ground - Asian Girlz 1
Aspiring American brodude outfit Day Above Ground finally got their big break on Thursday morning after cultural provocateur Angry Asian Man, comedian David So and several other influential media personalities shaped what was initially a locus of outrage in the Asian American community on Tuesday afternoon into a viral campaign and international news story.

Day Above Ground’s “Asian Girlz” Is Controversial (Stupid) In The Worst Way [UPDATE]

Levy Tran in Asian Girlz
How many deep-rooted Asian stereotypes can you cram into a five-minute music video? Dozens if you’re the American boy band Day Above Ground, the Los Angelenos who galvanized the Asian American community on Tuesday afternoon after blogger and cultural critic Angry Asian Man blasted the video for their song “Asian Girlz” in a scathing post. While we’d love to offer a frame-by-frame analysis of everything questionable about the most racist music video we’ve ever seen, doing so would give us ebola. Our shortlist, however, includes:

Saint Ai, The Musician: The Divine Comedy, Reviewed

Ai Weiwei - The Divine Comedy
Ai Weiwei has managed to upset and alienate many groups during his reign as China’s national gadfly, particularly within the past five years, a period in which the 55-year-old's public profile has swelled to supernova proportions. A respondent brought up the "Ai Weiwei Effect" in last month’s roundup of critical reactions to Ai Weiwei and Zuoxiao Zuzhou’s song “Dumbass,” and on the eve of the release of The Divine Comedy -- the six-song album on which Dumbass appears -- it's worth asking again: how do we perform aesthetic analysis of the outspoken artist-cum-activist's work when our perceptions are so colored by sentiment?

How Is Ai Weiwei’s Musicality? We Asked Chinese Music Experts

Ai Weiwei Dumbass
By now, you’re probably familiar with Ai Weiwei’s “Dumbass," the Beijing-born artist-cum-activist’s widely-publicized collaborative heavy metal music video with Zuoxiao Zuzhou that was unveiled last week to promote the pair’s upcoming full-length effort, The Divine Comedy. Directed by well-known Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle -- you may recognize his work with Zhang Yimou and Wong Kar-Wai -- the highly-polished video offers a surrealistic interpretation of the 81 days that Ai, 55, reportedly spent in detention in mid-2011 for tax evasion

Voices: Chinese In America React To Boston Bombings As Lu Lingzi Is Memorialized

Lu Lingzi in memoriam
A week after a pair of bombs placed near the finish line at the Boston Marathon killed three, wounded 183 (including 13 with lost or maimed limbs) and ignited a weeklong manhunt that culminated in a violent standoff with a pair of ethnic Chechens, Lu Lingzi, the 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from Shenyang who was killed in the... Read more »

Asian TV Stations Confuse Margaret Thatcher For Queen Elizabeth II, Meryl Streep; Plus Other Reactions, Tributes

Meryl Streep and Margaret Thatcher
All white people look the same -- paunchy with yellow hair -- so the news that a pair of Asian television networks committed two separate Thatcher-related mix-ups during their coverage of the former British Prime Minister’s death on Monday at the age of 87 should come as little surprise. The first, Taiwan’s CTi Cable, broadcast footage of Queen Elizabeth II greeting well-wishers instead of Thatcher. Like Lady Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth II is an 87-year-old British politician. Unlike Lady Thatcher, however, Queen Elizabeth II is a different person and had well-wishers to greet.

Margaret Thatcher’s Top Five China Moments

Margaret Thatcher visits the Aberdeen Housing Estate on December 20, 1984, accompanied  by housing official L.K. Chan (Bettmann/CORBIS)
Margaret Thatcher, the outspoken former Prime Minister who transformed Great Britain during her stewardship of the country from 1979 to 1990 and inspired the global conservative moment during her decade in power, died Monday from a stroke. Great Britain’s only woman prime minister, the so-called Iron Lady led the Conservative Party to three electoral victories in a streak that was the longest continuous period in office by a British premier since the early nineteenth century. Thatcher, 87, remained an extremely decisive figure in Great Britain despite stepping away from public office in 1990, continuing to provoke visceral emotional reactions and passionate debate on her native turf and throughout the Commonwealth.

John Lydon Is Controversial, Kraftwerk Is Not; So Why Ban The Latter? On China’s Whimsical Censorship Of Musical Acts

Public Image Ltd (PiL) in Shanghai and Beijing
Ah, music festival season in China. With the balmy climes and fluffy white cottonwood pollen comes the annual rumor mill about which bold-faced recording artists are slated to perform at the summertime’s numerous annual kickoff events, which have been denied performance permits, and general conspiratorial grumblings about why this is and who's to blame.

Follow The Examples Of Comrade Zhao Xiyong, Chinese State Council Impersonator

Zhao Xiyong fake phony hero
Most white people in Mainland China have misrepresented themselves at one time or another — or have at least been given the royal treatment without any probing questions into their backgrounds or credentials or even the assurance that they can string three coherent sentences together in any language, much less Mandarin Chinese. This is nothing... Read more »

America’s Locusts Descend On China: The Duggar Family Visits For TLC Reality Show “19 Kids And Counting”

Duggar Family in China
The Duggar flock -- 19 children (and counting!), their parents and a gaggle of grandchildren -- recently traveled to Beijing, Tokyo and Kyoto to film the three-part special installment “19 Kids and Counting: Duggers Do Asia.” The Arkansas-based brood, all of whom have a name that starts with the letter J, have achieved a degree of notoriety on their native turf for their fundamentalist Christian beliefs and baby-making lifestyle, which have come under attack for being environmentally irresponsible and what some argue is an archaic ideology that has unnecessarily contributed to global overpopulation.