New Indie Made In Taiwan
Name: Skip Skip Ben Ben
Where They’re From: Taipei, Taiwan
When They Started: 2009
Genre: Let’s go with noisegaze.
Sounds Like: A bracing jaunt from noise rock to noise pop and then back again just for fun.
Post-punk in the vein of Gang of Four, Wire and Mission of Burma is the single most important touchstone in Chinese indie music, but where UK bands like Interpol and Bloc Party revived the angular bass and art funk elements in order to immediately take them in the most cynically parodic (if danceable) direction possible, rockers in China had an entirely different epiphany. Bands like P.K. 14, Carsick Cars, Hedgehog and Re-TROS saw that even in the wake of Fugazi there was still room to drive terse, progressive punk to even more blistering extremes. (For real, see them live.)
P.K. 14′s Maybe Mars label-mates Skip Skip Ben Ben are taking that passion for serious minded post-punk R&D down a more tuneful and perhaps US influenced path. The Taiwanese group’s findings so far, documented on 2010′s No-Fi, No-Fiction, are illuminating. What started as a bedroom recording project for frontwoman/guitarist Ben Ben has burgeoned into a trio trafficking in fundamentalist indie rock, dreamy pop and pure, cleansing noise.
Sometimes it comes together like the weirdest, most inviting bathrobe ever (stitched from swatches of Mazzy Star and Sonic Youth,) like here on “Last Light”:
Other times there’s a surprising Brit-pop groove ‘n’ jangle that crops up, as it does on “Parking”:
They can do dazed drone outs with the best of them as well. The Black Angels-like “La Lasta” is a cool example:
With a promisingly titled second album, Sacrifice Mountain Hills, due out this fall, we’re happy to assume their investigations are just beginning.