A New Genre from China’s Tier-2 Cities: “Slacker Post-Rock”

We’re coining a new term today. “Slacker Post-Rock.”

It’s a new genre taking hold in China’s tier-2 cities, with a number of disparate young bands making laid-back, mostly instrumental, dreamy guitar soundscapes.

From Hangzhou’s Gatsby in a Daze and Fuzhou’s The Romp to Xi’an’s Endless White and Chengdu’s Sinkers — this is guitar-driven, soundscape-heavy music with distant, hazy vocals and a permanent Sunday afternoon laze.

We’re calling it “post-rock” in the original sense of the term: the bands use rock instruments — guitar, bass, drums — in the service of generating atmosphere, textures and evoking images rather than writing straight-up verse-chorus tunes.

But their weapon of choice in creating these images appears to be 90s slacker rock — Pavement and their ilk — rather than weighty post-rock bands or East Asian instrumental groups.

“Another boring night / 
 The sad party never ends / “
- Sinkers, ‘Saturday Night’

The images themselves are not abstract concepts but rather slices of urban life, often centering around ennui, boredom and craving interesting, exciting experiences.

“Bored because I’m bored of wanting”
- Endless White, ‘I Need Him Around to Fall Asleep’

Most of these bands are young, and do not have a formal release yet.

Although next month, Netease is curating what they called a compilation of “Nerd Noise” bands (we like our term better), which includes Gastby in a Daze and Endless White, along with The White Tulips (from Xiamen), City Flanker (Shaoxing), Sounds and Fury (Chengdu), 柏林的雾 (Ningbo) , Last Goodbye (Xi’an, but based in Beijing), , Forsaken Autumn (Shanghai), and Backspace (Beijing).

With song titles like ‘Graduation Day’ and ‘Send Her a Message’, could this be China’s equivalent of “college rock”?

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