Hang On the Box
For Every Punk Bitch & Arsehole
It's always exciting to discover new music from a foreign country with a punky youthful energy, and thanks to Cherry Red subsidiary Arrivederci Baby! out of the UK (the label that also brought us the Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her compilation back in 2002), we can hear Hang on the Box, the only all female punk band from Beijing, China. Formed when the girls were still in high school, it's truly hard to imagine the impact Hang on the Box has on their homeland. They must be considered evil from what I imagine about Chinese culture, which makes them all the more exciting to hear in the modern world of the here and now. Sadly it seems that the Chinese government wouldn't give the girls visas to tour the UK in the World Disorder tour in November 2003 because the government thought that they were "an inappropriate representation of Chinese culture."
Hang on the Box has an interesting hybrid sound which combines riot grrl sounds (of bands like Heavens to Betsy) with more traditional punk sounds from Japanese punk pop like Shonen Knife. They have a tough but laid back sound, never sounding overly angsty but staying punky and upbeat throughout. I think Hang on the Box could be accepted by a whole load of US punk lovers - people who can accept a poppy punk sound mixed with a tougher riot grrl sound.
For Every Punk Bitch & Arsehole is a collection from their various recordings so far (though you'd be hard-pressed to figure that out from the illegible liner notes). It's a short cd at 35 minutes and 12 songs. I think they could've fleshed it out more. Favorite songs of mine include Heroin and Cocaine which combines distorted vocals with a surf styled guitar; What Is Now shows a real Kathleen Hanna influence; Now I Wanna Say My Apology has a Joan Jett catchiness; Leave Me sounds like Kim Deal (from the Pixies) or perhaps bands like The Pastels, thanks to its pleasant vocal style and driving bassline.