When I first moved to Shanghai, I was extremely skeptical when it came to the Chinese music scene. I figured it would, at best, be derivative, boring four chord rock. LAVA|OX|SEA was the band that changed this perception, after seeing them open for Battles a couple years back. The band, a three-piece based out of Hefei, plays a spacey, intricate form of what I suppose could be called post-rock, though not in the epic ‘build/peak/comedown’ sense of bands like Explosions in the Sky and Mono. Heavy Metal Rock is the Best Music is a live recording which, I think, captures the band’s delicate math-rock compositions better than their studio-recorded stuff. My personal highlights of the album would be ‘Kaleidoscope’ and ‘3 + 6′, both songs which highlight LAVA|OX|SEA’s penchant for catchy melodies amid otherwise complex pieces of music. Disregard the poorly translated lyrics, and you have a pretty good idea of the growing potential of the Chinese underground.
– D –