So many bands, so many stages, so little time.
That's about the shape of it. If you're wondering who to check out at this year's Spring Scream, here's a few bands we like who are scheduled to play today and tomorrow at the Kentington (小墾丁) venue in Manchou Township (滿州鄉). We complied this by-no-means-exhaustive list with the aid of demos sent to Spring Scream organizers, Myspace pages, bios plagiarized from the festival's Web site, and even more help from John Kuhel in Tainan, Rocketgrrl backup drummer Nathan Davis and especially former enPOTS columnist and The Deported vocalist Andy O'Brien.
PHOTO COURTESY OF OCTOPUS PROJECT
To a God Unknown (Taipei, Taiwan) Instrumental, reflective post-rock that evokes comparisons to Mogwai or early Pink Floyd. Their songs are long and you should listen to them with your eyes closed.
Atash (Texas, US) One of Austin's premier World Music ensembles, they play a fusion of traditional Iranian music and jazz. Nothing else like this is going on in Taiwan. Completely unique, completely different.
Octopus Project (Texas, US) Austin-based experimental space rock you can dance to. They blend laptops with indie guitar and have many imitators in Taipei, where there music is distributed through White Wabbit records.
Little Fat Pig (Hong Kong, China) This six-piece plays a twisted combination of cute Cantonese pop and 1970s punk. LFP keeps things simple, cheerful and rude.
Mimie Chan (Tokyo, Japan) Loved for their hard-driving ska, feared for a dancing, diaper-clad sumo wrestler and what he throws into the crowd. They dress up in all sorts of weird costumes and combine highly danceable ska with a rock-steady beat and punk's energy and attitude.
The Clippers (夾子) (Taipei, Taiwan) One of the pioneers of Taiwan's early underground rock movement, this band has been going for a decade on a combination of cheezy local flavor, dancing girls and heavy social satire.
Trash Box (Tokyo, Japan) Super-stylish Japanese psychobilly four-piece. 'Nuff said.
Hot Dog Buddy Buddy (Tokyo, Japan) Japanese rockabilly trio with the hair to prove it.
Rocketgrrl (Taipei, Taiwan) They pissed us off when they didn't tell us they'd cancelled their tour last month. But they promise to show up for Spring Scream. Psychedelic noise that sounds like punk rock in a space ship.
Red I and The Riddim Outlawz (Taidung, Taiwan) Music for island people. Red-I, Rintaro Masui and company lay down a rock steady beat of reggae, ska and jazz with local characteristics.
Heavy Smoker (老煙槍) (Taipei, Taiwan) One of the best representatives of the Taiwanese happy punk collective on ZMN Records. Their Green Day-influenced sound is backed up with a heavy dose of "whoa whoa whoa's," "hey hey hey's," "la la la's," and "let's go's."
Charlie Taylor and The Axis of Evil (Ontario, Canada) This Canadian folk singer writes dirty, irreverent songs. If you understand English, he's a lot of fun.
Double Negative (Tokyo, Japan) Crazy, hard-hitting Japanese ska punk.
Children Sucker (表兒) (Taipei, Taiwan) Unique, locally flavored punk influenced by anarchist rockers LTK (濁水溪公社) and sappy nakashi music with neo punk riffs.
Kanaras (Tokyo, Japan) Kentaro Saito from New York spazz-core band Dynamite Club and Takabe of Mimie-chan. One reviewer said Saito's music was "a schizophrenic hodge-podge of different styles moshed together" that sounded like "unfinished musical ideas channeled through someone with ADD." And that was supposed to be an insult.
Public Radio (Taipei, Taiwan) These expats always get good reviews for their instrumental funk, reggae, dance hall, alt-country, lounge, punk and "anything else they feel like hitting you with."
.22 (Taichung, Taiwan) Wicked indie legends who play goofy rock with goofy lyrics and lots of grooves.
Lustsluts Burlesque (Hualien, Taiwan) Burlesque dancers from Taiwan? Need we say more?
We Need Surgery (Seoul, South Korea) Leave it to the band from South Korea to have a slick, pulled-together sound. These Canadians play shimmering dance punk that sounds more like Franz Ferdinand than Gang of Four.
Mates of State (California, US) Adorable married couple whose innocent, charming indie rock is built around an electric organ, quirky drums and upbeat harmonizing. Don't see them if you're having relationship problems.
Bascoda (Tokyo, Japan) Amazingly tight blues punk, they have all the rock 'n' roll posturing down, just like a good Japanese band should. If they're actually playing, expect an awesome live show. Unfortunately, the band was on the Spring Scream schedule last week but now is not.
Last week the news broke that Time magazine selected Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) as one of the global top 100 emerging leaders, “individuals who are shaping the future.” Chiang, who will be 48 in a couple of weeks, heads a dying former authoritarian party that opposes independence for Taiwan and advocates annexing it to China, and is not so much shaping the future as trying to prevent it from happening. Johnny Chiang? Can the reader name any of the half-dozen or so interim chairs the KMT has had since Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) resigned in 2005? Comically,
Whether or not the Formosan clouded leopard still exists in some hidden mountain fastness somewhere in Taiwan is a question that has fascinated the scientific community for many years. Taiwanese researchers attempted to put the question to rest a decade ago by scouring the Dawushan Nature Reserve (大武山) in Taitung County, but came back empty-handed. The survey ran from 1997-2012 and used over a thousand camera traps, but did not turn up a single cat, and the species was declared extinct in 2013. Renowned Taiwanese conservationists Chiang Po-jen (姜博仁) and Kurtis Pei (裴家騏) conducted the field work and published a
With such a disastrous 2020, many are hoping that the “ox would turn the heavens and earth” (牛轉乾坤, a pun on a Chinese idiom signifying a reversal of fortunes used as a Lunar New Year of the Ox greeting). According to Taiwan’s soothsayers, however, don’t bank on it. The 2021 Good Luck Bible (2021開運聖經) predicts another calamitous year for the world, full of natural and human disasters ranging from bad harvests to political crises and surging unemployment. Meanwhile, the prognosticator Wisdom Tsai (蔡上機) foretells large-scale international scandals, increased bullying by stronger countries and a continued shift toward authoritarianism. Major financial emergencies
Taiwan’s oldest surviving Christian house of worship stands in a village at the base of the Central Mountain Range. Upgraded to a basilica minore by Pope John Paul II in 1984, Wanjin Basilica (萬金聖母聖殿) was established in what’s now Pingtung County’s Wanluan Township (萬巒) in 1863. The church’s founder, Dominican priest Father Fernando Sainz (郭德剛), was one of the first missionaries to enter Taiwan after the signing in mid-1858 of treaties between Qing China (which ruled the island between 1684 and 1895), France, Great Britain, Russia and the US. These agreements, collectively known as the Treaty of Tianjin (天津條約), compelled