The Top Chinese Bands To Check Out This Week

Music isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about China right? Sure, the traditional instruments and standard love ballads of China are charming but they don’t exactly make for great road trip tunes or gym playlists. However, there are some intriguing bands that have come out of China that may just be worth a listen. Need a little help discovering them? Here are some of the top Chinese bands that you should check out this week.

Hanggai

If you are a fan of Rage Against The Machine, you might just like the attitude and feel of this band’s music. They are from Beijing and considered a folk group that blends punk rock with Mongolian folk (pretty interesting right?!) They have exposed mainland China to the culture of Mongolia which makes them especially interesting.

MHP

Photo Source:

Photo Source: Smart Beijing 

Techno and electronic music have become increasingly popular all of the world and China is no exception. Ma Haiping (MHP) is known as, ‘The Son of Shanghai Techno’ and is a favorite, especially in this modern city. His music features a range of instruments from the cello and trumpet to the guzheng. People have described his sound as being a mix of electronic, avant-garde and experimental. Seeing one of his performances is pretty special too as there is often dancers, art performances and visual artists.

Mayday

These guys aren’t exactly new as they have been bringing rock and roll music to China since the 1990s. The five piece group hails from Taiwan but are also very popular in China as well. They have been referred to as the “Chinese Beatles.” They have more than 10 million fans across the globe and have performed over 1,000 times live.

Brain Failure

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There aren’t too many bands from China that sing in English, but luckily for you, this one does. Coming out of the Beijing punk scene, they have garnered up some international fans and have toured with the Drop Kick Murphies, Street Dogs, and the Unseen.

Duck Fight Goose

This group has been around for quite a while but continues to evolve with the times. They are based out of Shanghai and are known for being playful as well as artsy. Their style has been described as a mix between experimental, rock, electronic and cutting edge. They are quite unique and increasingly trendy, which led them to perform at an event for Vice.

NovaHeart

Photo Source: Getty Images

Photo Source: Getty Images

Finally, we have added some ladies to the list. In fact, this band consists of all women and their sound can be described as dreamy, mysterious and psychedelic. Their voices have been described as crisp and lighthearted while their sound has been compared to something out of a David Lynch film. They hail from Beijing and really bring a unique sound compared to the other bands on the list.

PurpleSoul

Another band from Beijing, this group takes a more hip hop approach to their music. They have lyrics that are a bit on the harsh side while often talking about politics. They don’t foresee themselves ever becoming mainstream since they are always pushing the limits towards Chinese censorship. Their following consists of a much younger crowd and they have garnered the attention of many other bands in their genre.

Yaksa

They’ve been around since the late 1990s and was one of the first Chinese bands to produce music that was in the metal genre. Most of the band members came from Sichuan province in western China and the sound has been described as aggressive, punk rock and thick.

Queen Sea Big Shark

Photo Source:

Photo Source: E China Cities

The lead singer of this band has been compared to David Bowie due to her looks and style. Much of her music and appearance seems to be reminiscent of the 80’s and her performances are quite artistic. The band has gained listeners internationally since some of their songs are actually performed in English.

Hang on The Box

This band was the first all-female punk band to come out of China and their performances and lyrics scream feminism. They have been known to push the boundaries of China’s typically reserved culture with lyric topics touching on politics and sex.

Zuoxiao Zuzhou

Photo Source:

Photo Source: Alchetron

This musician is as artsy as you can get, also living as a poet, and novelist in Beijing’s East Village. He is known to be friends with activist and artist, Ai Weiwei and has been labeled one of the most artistic rock artists to come out of China. His lyrics revolve around human rights and freedom which make him a little on the edgy side.
Have you heard of any of these bands? Which one do you like the best?

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Shannon Ullman

Hey! I'm a published American travel blogger and teacher. My travel writing has been featured on Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Matador Network and Thought Catalog. I spent over a year living and traveling around China while I taught English there. I have also visited dozens of other countries around the world.