Best Hong Kong bands to rock out with

Best Hong Kong bands to rock out with

Folk rock, psychedelic stoner metal and political bubblegum pop – it’s the soundtrack of our Hong Kong lives

Hong Kong bandsLighten up with Noughts and Exes.

Noughts and Exes

The makers of Hong Kong’s finest indie-folk-pop are set to make waves further afield as the first Asian pop band to join US label Spectra Records in August.

Noughts and Exes are a multicultural outfit, whose members hail from Hong Kong, Canada, Australia and Britain. They produce an equally eclectic sound, using instruments such as electric cello, glockenspiel and melodica which come together in delicate musical tapestries.

Their second album "The Start of Us" was released in 2010 (listen to it on their website), with keyboardist Gideon So and singer-songwriter Joshua Wong at the helm.

Noughts and Exes will play at Clockenflap on December 11 at the Harbour Flap

Hong Kong bandsDP: Hefty metal.


This hefty, hairy duo have a hard-earned reputation as one of the heaviest live acts in Hong Kong. But how can two men produce such a massive, monstrous sound?

We're still not sure, but by distilling the spirits of Black Sabbath and stoner metal with classic rock and 1970s psychedelia, drummer Paul Maclean and bass player Dave Wong have won a devoted local following and even an appearance at last year’s South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

The band, which rose in 2007 from the ashes of popular local rock outfit The Academy, released their self-titled debut in August. The follow-up album is due early next year.

DP will play at Clockenflap on December 10 at the People's Party stage. Listen to DP on their Facebook page.
Hong Kong bandsThe Poubelle International art-poppers.

Poubelle International

This colorful party rock trio formed in 2007 after a few late-night jam sessions at Sheung Wan hangout Sense 99.

Poubelle International landed their first gig through local music showcase Underground the following year and released their debut EP, "Avec La Boom," in 2010.

Vocalist Ben McCarthy, drummer Johan Persson and bassist Zane Stroud produce deceptively simple angular art-rock with a whiff of disco and are known locally for their wild live shows and striking videography.

The band launched their latest record, "Sans Contrôle," at a packed Grappa’s Cellar in June and their video for single "The Hedonist" is now screening on MTV and Channel V.

Poubelle International will play at Clockenflap on December 10 at the People's Party Stage.

Watch Poubelle International videos at

Hong Kong bandsCan't be lost with 9 Maps.

9 Maps

Record labels are already vying to represent 9 Maps, one of Hong Kong music’s newest stars. They caught the city’s attention with a closing show at last year’s Clockenflap Festival and have continued to play at venues across town.

Sherin Siew (vocals, keys, guitar), Ciosa Houlihan (vocals, guitar) and Gabe Andre (drums) create a lush, thoughtful brand of acoustic indie-folk. The girls also have a talent for simple, beautiful songwriting that will no doubt set the group apart.

9 Maps will play Clockenflap on December 10 at the People's Party stage. Their debut album, High Incline, is due out on December 18. See details at the Facebook event page.

Hong Kong bandsChoi Sai Ho strangling sounds out of circuit boards.

Choi Sai Ho

A self-described “one-man electronic music unit," Choi Sai Ho is an audio and video artist whose bleeding-edge electronica recalls the warped musical vision of Aphex Twin.

On stage, Choi commands a small army of machines used to conjure up intense, arrhythmic beats, scattershot computer bleeps and mind-blowing visuals. He commands them well; leaping around, stabbing at buttons and strangling sounds out of circuit boards.

Choi is Hong Kong’s most visible exponent of the electronic avant-garde and is now working on his second album, due out in 2012.

Choi Sai Ho will play Clockenflap on December 10 at the Robot

Also on CNNGo: Most Hong Kong musician, Choi Sai Ho
Hong Kong bandsLaura Palmer does beautiful feedback-drenched noise.

Laura Palmer

Named after the central figure in David Lynch’s cult TV series "Twin Peaks," this four-piece has learned a lot from the classic noise-rock guitar bands.

Blending the feedback-drenched pop of The Jesus and Mary Chain with the dissonant drone of the Velvet Underground, Ray Lam Pui-wai (vocals, guitar), Chan Chin-ho (guitar), Azia Chau Ka-chun (bass) and Lee Kai-ho (drums) produce a beautiful noise that is also influenced by the UK shoegaze movement.

The hotly tipped band formed in 2008 are set to release their debut single on Hong Kong-based Metal Postcard Records soon and plans for an album are under way.

Laura Palmer will play Clockenflap on December 11 at the People's Party stage. Laura Palmer on Vimeo and on Myspace.Hong Kong bandsTwee with a mean streak -- My Little Airport.

My Little Airport

The irreverent rulers of the city’s indie-pop scene are most often described as "twee" but there’s nothing sweet about the title lyrics of their YouTube hit, "Donald Tsang, Please Die."

The song went viral in 2009 after appearing on their last album, winning thousands of new fans for the whimsical outfit, who can trace their sound back to 1960s bubblegum pop and the DIY ethos of punk rock.

Band members are Nicole Au and Ah P who met as journalism students at Hong Kong Shue Yan University.They recently finished a massive two-week tour of the Pearl River Delta region to promote their new album, "香港是個大商場 Hong Kong is One Big Shopping Mall."

With Au based in Beijing, hometown shows are a rare treat., My Little Airport on Facebook.

Hong Kong bandsHungry Ghosts: Don't call them emo.

Hungry Ghosts

Luke Chow is one of the unsung heroes of Hong Kong’s independent music scene, a prolific singer-songwriter and busy solo performer who is often enlisted by local acts as a guest vocalist.

But he’s made his biggest impact as the frontman of Hungry Ghosts, a guitar-driven outfit that specializes in noisy pop songs flirting with post-rock structures. Their sound is reminiscent of Broken Social Scene and Death Cab for Cutie, but just don’t call them "emo."

Hungry Ghosts are now in the studio working on their second EP, due out by the end of the year, so live shows have been a low priority in the coming months.

Hungy Ghosts on Facebook and YouTube.

Hong Kong bandsThe Yours to make a comeback.

The Yours

These hipster darlings and one-time music scene favorites are making a comeback with plans for a debut album to be launched at the end of the year.

The Yours formed in 2005 as a duo of Jack Leung and Nicholas Wong but have re-emerged as a group of four with new members Gwyneth Tang (bass) and Nelson Ko (drums).

Selling themselves as a psychedelic post-punk band, their gloomy sound owes a debt to the likes of Joy Division and the Cure.

According to their Facebook page, the band are now creating fresh material “in a late night dive in Kwai Chung; aided only by the sickly rays of fluorescent light and a steady supply of budget-priced cigarettes."

The Yours on Myspace and Vimeo.

Hong Kong bandsEthereal multimedia experience with Volt in Music.

Volt in Music

Let nobody accuse musicians Honhim and K of being derivative. This electro-pop duo may sound like a down-tempo version of Daft Punk and 1980s Depeche Mode, but how many other bands design their own instruments and other hardware?

Volt in Music’s live shows are a full multimedia experience, offering tripped-out visual effects as well as ethereal, robotic vocals which float over layers of warm synths.

It’s a sound well captured on their debut vinyl EP, "New Vision," released this summer on Metal Postcard Records.