Layabozi

Shaun Tenzenmen's Eastern Strip

Shaun Tenzenmen from Sydney Australia is the man behind Tenzenmen, distributors of underground-DIY music from Asia and Australia and the whole region since 2004, and big supporters of rock produced in China. Tenzenmen is well renowned in Australia for introducing new Chinese music, and it’s also the guiding light behind the Sino Australian Music Exchange facilitating tours and shows between the two countries. They have a nice online catalog with extra information about the bands and the music they are working with.

This is Shaun’s playlist.

As Tenzenmen is usually promoting Chinese music in Oz, when the invite came thru for a top ten of Tenzenmen releases at Layabozi it made sense to promote some Aussie and other countries music back into China for a change.

1. Paint Your Golden Face – “We Keep Cutting Each Other’s Throats”

Paint Your Golden Face – We Keep Cutting Each Other’s Throats by tenzenmen

This Tasmanian duo hit me up to organize a show for them in Sydney in the brief 6 hour stop over they had returning from tour in New Zeland. Seemingly bound for disaster everything went without a hitch and they soon returned to much acclaim with their debut album from which this track is taken.

2. mr sterile Assembly – “Hector Larsen”

Hector Larsen by mr sterile Assembly

In keeping with duo’s and the NZ connection mr sterile Assembly hail from Wellington and play an intricate type of jazzy punk with political lyrics. They have toured thru South East Asia a couple of times to joyous receptions and plans may be afoot for a trip to China sometime soon too. Listen to their song “Axe And The Olive Tree”

3. Zoo – “Manekin Bermesin”

Zoo – Manekin Bermesin by tenzenmen

So to South East Asia and Indonesia’s Zoo, with a short sharp burst of punk, mixing bass, drums and some traditional percussion. I first came across Zoo whilst travelling through Malaysia and a friend there telling me I would really like this band – I stole his copy of their first demo that day – and he was right – I loved them!

4. ni-hao! – Wiper

Ni-Hao! – Wiper by tenzenmen

To lighten things up a little here’s Japan’s Ni-Hao! with a quirky bouncy pop number with a triple female harmonized vocal attack over some bizarre rap.Ni-Hao! features bassist Yukari from Limited Express (has gone!) who recently played a few shows in China. These kids are crazy!

5. Intentions – “Unto Dust”

Intentions – Unto Dust by tenzenmen

Back to Sydney and a young political agit-pop band, Intentions take elements of Dischord, emo and math rock and make it something of their own. These guys prefer to play shows in anarchist book shops, art galleries and record shoes and travel with their own PA – totally DIY!

6. Hira Hira – “Monsters”

Hira Hira – Monsters by tenzenmen

This is from a split CD with Little A where they do a cover of one of each other’s songs. This highlights the genius of the original and the imagination of the performer. Hira Hira write such fabulous fast punky pop songs that should be the top of everyone’s hit list.

7. Nikko – “Wedding Song”

Nikko – Wedding Song by tenzenmen

Nikko and me go back to 2007 when they were organizing their first tour as pimply teenagers and they asked to play at the warehouse space I was booking at the time. The show wasn’t special and the post rock they were playing had long since worn out it’s welcome at Tenzenmen towers. But wow – when they wanted to work on releasing an album together and I got to hear it – I had to re-evaluate my opinion completely.

8. Scul Hazzards – “Too Late”

Scul Hazzards – Too Late by tenzenmen

I’m going to finish with a noise rock triumvirate as I guess this is where my particular passion lies these days. Scul Hazzards have relocated themselves around the world a few times already and are now in Melbourne where they’re continuing to scare audiences with their fierce super tight brand of noise.

9. Truth From Facts – “For Diana Oughton”

Truth From Facts – For Diana Oughton by tenzenmen

Two guitars (no bass) drive this amazing band full throttle into noisy math rock of exceptionally quality. Watching them play was so beautiful and draining at one house show they absolutely nailed it and everyone was stunned. A few minutes later a kid gets up and starts playing the ukelele – it was such a great juxtaposition and everyone was stunned again at such a great night. The next day, playing in the back yard of an anarchist book store, they were halted mid set by an irate neighbour who later called the police, who eventually arrived after everything was packed up and gone.

10. When Chimps Attack – “Bison”

When Chimps Attack – Bison by tenzenmen

Deliberately obscure, when asked about the song title When Chimps Attack just said that it’s a magnificent beast. When asked about the lyrics they all denied having any idea what each other was actually singing. Released on Christmas Day, 2009 (why not?) When Chimps Attack continue to dumbfound me at every listen. Imagine seeing this performed live – they were truly remarkable.

The complete albums for 95% of releases on Tenzenmen can be heard at tenzenmen.com or tenzenmen’s bandcamp.com.

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About the author:
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Mache is a hippie witch that was born under Beltane's full moon. She enjoys talking to ghosts and interdimensional beings, and cooking for her friends and beasts. She has Chilean wine in her veins instead of blood,and at the moment she belongs to China.

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