Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Best of Beijing: Glasses City

Bo Yang wears black sport frames by Eunia

Meng wears black/clear sport frames by Eunia ("Panda" model)

4 floors. Millions of frames. Free eye tests. Glasses done in 20 minutes. 10 Euros (or maybe a bit more).

There's too much to choose from, and that's the only problem. You're likely to get exhausted and/or confused if you shop around the whole place. If you're a repeat customer, like me, you find a store or two that suit you and won't try to cheat you, and you stick with them. Most of the cheap frames aren't going to become family heirlooms, but at 10 Euros per pair (that includes your lenses) you won't be shedding tears if they fall apart two weeks later. That's pessimistic, of course, as I have cheap Chinese glasses that have lasted two years and continue on strong. The pairs that have been broken were dropped repeatedly and slept on; things that spell trouble for expensive frames as well. Don't worry about it! Just buy those neon purple "Ray Bans" you've been dreaming of and walk out with a fresh perspective.

*Located just south of Jinsong station, Line 10. Quiet during the week, packed on the weekends.

Monday, November 16, 2009

All about the zippers

Did I mention already that the latest Fuck Buttons album is totally brill? It totally is. A slightly milder tempered and more melodic album than their debut, Tarot Sport is your post-urban, sonic escape unit. I shouldn't mention this, but I will nonetheless. Since the first time I heard it, I have fantasized about having the best sex of my life to "Olympians". [No middle-school whispers about the length of the song and the proposed sex. It's just a conceptual fantasy.]

Fuck Buttons - The Lisbon Maru
Fuck Buttons - Olympians
Fuck Buttons - Phantom Limb
Fuck Buttons - Space Mountain

And, it's your lucky always. Some bonus tracks are waiting just around the bend...

-It's fan death!
>Ahhh, fuck! Run away!
-What! No, silly! Oh, you thought I was talking about the Korean superstition. Haha.
>What do you mean then?
-Fan Death. They're this great new "string driven disco pop band".
>Oh really. That's great. Let's listen to them.

Fan Death - Reunited
Fan Death - Veronica's Veil

Push it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Come on, ride the train!

If you've never been to China and happen to be wondering about the state of rail transport in this land of tea and Llouis Vnittou, well, let me tell you now: It's totally deck! As an American-born-wannabe-European traveler, I have seen my share of train systems. And while my true homeland's rail layout is something akin to an elementary school short-bus, my homeland of the spirit sports some pretty fine and extensive tracks and trains. Nonetheless, I have to say that I'm advantaging China in this category, mainly because of affordability. For something like the equivalent of a European Benjamin, you could get a bed on your journey crossing the entire middle kingdom. Sweet! Try training across the pint-sized European Union with a hundred bucks! Have a nice Ryan Air flight, you umweltunfreundlich sucker. I guess it's time to stop humming Trans Europe Express and time to get with the Chinese new wave.

"Zhan tai" (comes to be "platform" or "depot" depending on the state of your dictionary) was a huge hit in the 80's. It remains a crowd pleaser today, at least among those who are not sooooo "contemporary" as to be scared of a little nostalgia. Moreover, Jia Zhang Ke took the song as the title for his 2002 film about China's crazy 80's, and Beijing's own electro bandits (or sexbots, if you prefer), Pet Conspiracy, have released a cover. So, what are you waiting for...get on it!

Pet Conspiracy - Depot

Liu Hong - Zhan Tai (Original)

Choo choo!

Monday, November 2, 2009

H.M.S. Halloween

Was your Halloween party as wild as mine? I hope so. Tell me all about it. Please. Saturday, here in snowy Beijing, there was a much hyped (by me, in my own head) party at 2 Kolegas. Helen, lead singstress from Beijing's electro-sexbotic Pet Conspiracy, showcased her side-project group while opening the way for international superheroes Y.A.C.H.T. to make my day. It went way beyond the hype, if I may say so myself. I mean, if you were here in Beijing and you missed, you missed it!

These last couple of weeks I've been filling my playlists with so many remixes of songs by Phoenix, and I've never even listened to an original track by them. I'm going to keep it that way for now. Here, I'll give you two, one from the aforementioned duo called Y.A.C.H.T. and another by the über-famous collective of animals. And since I do love to push repetition to the edges of absurdity, I'll give you a Y.A.C.H.T track remixed by Crazylamps' resident DJs, Classixx.

Phoenix - Armistice (Y.A.C.H.T. Remix)
Phoenix - Love Like a Sunset (Animal Collective Remix)
Y.A.C.H.T. - Psychic City (Classixx Remix)

And two wildcards: First, Feist's producer Mocky teams up with GZA the Genius of the Wu-Tang Clan for something short and sweet. Second, Björk remixed by Ratatat...enough said.

Mocky - Birds of a Feather feat. GZA
Björk - Wanderlust (Ratatat Remix)