Various artists

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 March, 2008, 12:00am

Various artists

Look Directly into the Sun


You don't have to be original if you're angry and cool enough.

Beijing's punk rockers may be a few generations behind their time, and they haven't moved the genre ahead much with the time they've had, but they do what punk does best, which is vent a bit of hurl and burl and hoarse-voiced angst.

Look Directly into the Sun came about when Martin Atkins went to Beijing in the autumn of 2006 to explore the underground music scene and record some material for a new Pigface album. Atkins, drummer with Public Image Ltd, Ministry, Pigface, Killing Joke and so on, found again what he'd known, and helped create, a quarter century earlier: fresh, stomping punk rock played by a generation that's having it better than they used to but still kicking at the walls.

The 18 tracks of this compilation can transport you to New York's now-demolished CBGB's in 1979 or Beijing's own favourite punk venue, Yu Gong Yi Shan. They're all from Beijing bands that are rapidly making this the city to go to for a weekend of rock 'n' roll and attitude.

Some of the kids spitting into the mike have found their way to Hong Kong gigs, with PK 14 playing at last year's Beijing Explosion festival, while Car Sick Cars and Snapline packed out the Fringe Club for the most recent Beijing Explosion in January.

The compilation kicks off with Snapline's electro-punk Close Your Cold Eyes then moves into simpler sounding Dang by Joyside. The Subs, a cornerstone of the Beijing scene, are included with What More, which was also released on their debut 2004 EP Subs Life, while Shanghai is a shout-along with the all-girl band Hang on the Box.

If you can't make Yu Gong Yi Shan for your regular dose of Beijing aggression, Look Directly into the Sun will let you in on what you're missing.