I’m going to reveal something rather un-American to you, Reader—I wish I had a British accent. Not like a little British either—you know, like that asshole kid back in college who went away to London for the summer and came back not pronouncing R’s because he ‘just couldn’t help it’. No, a dead British accent, one where you’d need subtitles if you were in a movie showing stateside.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first to defend our nation’s rebellious spelling choices—why exactly the extra ‘m’ + ‘e’ in programme? And do we need that ‘u’ in colour, really? I think not.
But that accent—how can anyone deny its coolness. Be you a British lord not coping well with a post-industrialization world, an oddly handsome heroin addict trapsing through gray/grey Edinburgh, or a swashbucking piratical Keith Richards, you most likely sound a helluva lot cooler than me.
Granted, I realize I’m not alone in this aural preference. I’d say many, if not most Americans wish they said ‘banana’ instead of ‘banana’ and ‘vitamin’ instead of ‘vitamin’.
Wait, that doesn’t work so well written out.
Anyway, case in point, the band that gives us this week’s Song—Shanghai’s Pairs. Yes, the duo technically hails from China, and, yes, the band’s singer/drummer, Xiao Zhong, is actually singing with an Australian accent, given that he’s Australian, but, on a blind listen, Pairs’ songs strike me as brash, raw, chaotic punk born of the early British DIY scene. And Zhong’s vocals—mired in a heavy accent and a beautifully strategic disregard to tone + form—make the band.
The other half of Pairs, a silent Asian woman known only as F, plays simple, noisy guitar that washes over Zhong’s vocals and drum work to create what strikes me as an oddly pleasing combination of K Record’s Kicking Giant + the seminal (for me, at least) Newcastle band, Milky Wimpshake. Never you mind if those references mean not a lick to you, Reader, just give this week’s Song—”Part Songs”—a listen and see if it’s your bag.
If so, scroll down a bit further and give their full album, If this cockroach doesn’t die, I will, a listen. From the band—”Record goes alright. Some pretty good tracks. Songs about frustration, cock suckery, idiots being in positions of power and a heap of other worldly themes.” You can buy it on double-vinyl and digitally on the band’s bandcamp page.
Not into it? Give them one more try in another format—an even more stripped down version of the band with only piano + voice via their 8-song album, Eltham Join, which you can buy and name your price on the bandcamp page. Like Huggy Bear singing ballads.
Still not down? Butcher’s hook, China plate, what’re ye, Mutt and Jeff?
3.14.13 EDIT: Like what you hear? The band’s been gracious enough to pass on a few download codes for the album. Contact us and we’ll send you one, first come, first served.