Best Albums of 2015
selected by Cheng-Chung Tsai

Trash <BR>“Start from Zero”

“Start from Zero”

After receiving the main award of Ho-hai-yan Rock Festival, Trash have released two albums since then.

The second one, “Start from Zero” (歸零) , shows a substantial improvement both in the song arrangements and performances. Trash are certainly one of the bands deserving more attention.

♪♫ Listen: “World’s End

Trash on Facebook.

Silent Toads <BR>“Roads to Somewhere”

Silent Toads
“Roads to Somewhere”

Grungy and funky, Silent Toads (啾吉惦惦) is a four-piece indie rock band from Zhongli.

Resisting the vogue and sticking to their beliefs, Silent Toads’ music shows the group members’ great talent in creating melodies and powerful arrangements.

And the lead vocal of Zorn Lu, capable of singing in a variety of styles, is quite spectacular.

♪♫ Listen: “Parade

Silent Toads on Facebook, YouTube.

Cicada <BR>“Light Shining through the Sea”

“Light Shining through the Sea”

Cicada is not a traditional post-rock band that makes noisy and big guitar wall of sound. Their music rather consists of chamber music elements delivering the audience delicate and comfort feelings.

Their new album, “Light Shining through the Sea” (仰望海平面), focuses on our living environments, creating music inspired by their exploration of the east coast of Taiwan, and generates beautiful melodies lingering around the room.

♪♫ Listen: “Light Shining through the Sea

Cidada on YouTube, Facebook, www + beehype.

Zhong-Qi Xie/ Chang-Cum Wang <BR>“Cyplosion”

Zhong-Qi Xie/ Chang-Cum Wang

“Cyplosion” is an important live recording that documents a live performance of two great electronic musicians, Zhong-Qi Xie (謝仲其) from Taiwan and Chang-Cum Wang (王長存) from China.

Subtle electronic soundscapes and laptop arrangements let you feel all the tiny beats and effects around, giving you a unique listening experience and leading you into a different world of imagination.

♪♫ Listen: album excerpt

Cyplosion’s www.

Hello Nico <BR>“Familiar Desolation”

Hello Nico
“Familiar Desolation”

It’s hard not to be attracted by the great voice of Yu-Ting Chan, the lead singer of Hello Nico. But their debut album, “Familiar Desolation” (熟悉的荒涼), shows them as great music arrangers as well.

By adding synth/electronic elements and drawing from rock’n’roll at the same time, they have all the necessary ingridients to become Taiwanese music scene’s shining star.

♪♫ Listen: “Flower

Hello Nico on Facebook.

Chocolate Tiger <BR>“Yi-Chun”

Chocolate Tiger

Led by singer-songwriter Enno Cheng, Chocolate Tiger (猛虎巧克力) had a big breakthrough with their second album, “Yi-Chun” (怡君).

Now their music is more mature and at the same time more accessible to the general public. Rich arrangements and subtle lyrics are just two of many reasons we should keep following this band in the future.

♪♫ Listen: “Eternal Dream

Chocolate Tiger on Facebook.

Wei-Jie Huang <BR>“Daybreak”

Wei-Jie Huang

Influenced by legendary Hakka singer-songwriter Sheng-Xiang Lin and Meinong culture, on his debut album Wei-Jie Huang (黃瑋傑) explores connections between people and land.

The record titled “Daybreak” (天光。日) shows his great songwriting skills, and certainly deserves for more attention.

♪♫ Listen: “Daybreak

Wei-Jie Huang on Facebook, YouTube.

LTK Commune <BR>“Country. People. Blues”

LTK Commune
“Country. People. Blues”

The most important punk/Taike (台客) band in Taiwan, during more than 20 years of their career LTK Commune (濁水溪公社) have been rising social consciousness and political awareness throught their music and thus have become listener’s working class heroes.

Their new effort, “Country. People. Blues” (鄉土‧人民‧勃魯斯), is one of their most mature albums with sophisticated music arrangements and skills.

♪♫ Listen: “Nylon’s Last Words

LTK Commune on Facebook, YouTube.

PoeTek <BR>“∞Infinite”


“∞Infinite” (∞無限) is a rap concept-album created by the young hip-hop super star PoeTek. He cleverly plays with trap music and samples famous songs sung by Simon and Garfunkel, Ta-Yu Lo and Yi Jeng.

On this new album, PoeTek (熊仔) shows that he is not only a rap-battle champion, but simply a great musician.

♪♫ Listen: “Keep in Touch

PoeTek on Facebook, Soundcloud.

Zi Xuan & Slow Train<BR>“The Stranger”

Zi Xuan & Slow Train
“The Stranger”

Zi Xuan (黃子軒), one of the most talented singer-songwriter in Taiwan, has never stop writing inspiring and beautiful songs with a range of inspirations (Hakka, Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese).

His new album, “The Stranger” (異鄉人), was created with his new band members. Together they tell us about the beautiful nature of Taiwan and various stories about the country.

♪♫ Listen: “Local Express

Zi Xuan & Slow Train on Facebook.

Summer Lei <BR>“Sounds not to Forget”

Summer Lei
“Sounds not to Forget”

Delicate and beautiful, Summer Lei’s (雷光夏) music always comforts lonely souls in the modern city.

Listening to her new album, “Sounds not to Forget” (不想忘記的聲音), you may simply throw all your trouble away. Feel her quietness and gentleness, and let the poetic music fill in the empty space.

♪♫ Listen: “Sounds Not to Forget

Summer Lei on Facebook, YouTube.

Ming-Yo Hsieh <BR>“Lovebeast/Febeast”

Ming-Yo Hsieh

Having been writing and producing music for more than twenty years, Ming-Yo Hsieh (謝銘祐) is a legendary folk singer-songwriter who released two albums at the same time last year, “Lovebeast/Febeast” (情獸/也獸), and accompanied them with a personal novel.

One album is sung in Taiwanese, and the other sung in Mandarin Chinese, and the words are accompanied with simple guitar accompaniment. Ming-Yo Hsieh shows he is still the best folk singer in Taiwan.

♪♫ Listen: “Miss You

Ming-Yo Hsieh on Facebook, YouTube.

Chthonic <BR>“Timeless Sentence”

“Timeless Sentence”

The most important and internationally renowned heavy metal band from Taiwan, on “Timeless Sentence” (失竊千年) Chthonic transformed their songs into folk ballads.

By sharing stories about Taiwan’s history through these melodious songs, Chthonic (閃靈) once again proved that a heavy metal band can also be soulful and touching.

♪♫ Listen: “Defenders of Bú-Tik Palace

Chthonic on Facebook, YouTube.

Sunset Samurai <BR>“Sunrise”

Sunset Samurai

Young and talented, Sunset Samurai(夕陽武士) is a punk/indie rock band based in Kaohsiung and mainly singing in Taiwanese.

Their debut album “Sunrise” (日出) has earned critical acclaim all over Taiwan. The songs they have produced are not just typical rock ballads, each one has a different meaning hidden deep inside lyrics.

♪♫ Listen: “Value

Sunset Samurai on Facebook.

Goosander <BR>“White Noise”

“White Noise”

Goosander (川秋沙) is a four-piece Taiwanese indie rock band. “White Noise” (白噪音) is a concept album that originated from the epic novel by Don DeLillo.

With blurred guitar sounds and the atmosphere generated by the synthesizer. The lyrics themselves search for the meaning of deepest humanity and the dilemmas of Taiwanese society.

♪♫ Listen: “Drama” + album stream

Goosander on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, YouTube + beehype.

Sam-Sing Hiàn Gē <BR>“Sam-Sing Hiàn Gē”

Sam-Sing Hiàn Gē
“Sam-Sing Hiàn Gē”

Experimental/electronic project Sam-Sing Hiàn Gē (三牲獻藝) consists of three prominent musicians: Sonic Deadhorse, fish.the and Blaire Ko.

Their self-titled debut album mainly samples sounds from traditional temple fair, adding elements of electronic and minimal music. It reminds us of the legendary experimental album “Hsi-Yu Chi” by David Shea.

♪♫ Listen: “各均“, “柯智豪“, “Fish. the

Sam-Sing Hiàn Gē on Facebook.

IGU Band <BR>“Nobody Cares of What You Care”

IGU Band
“Nobody Cares of What You Care”

Sensitive, furious, decadent, wild, melancholic… Listening to IGU Band (那我懂你意思了) you may find all kinds of different feelings inside.

The lead singer Hsiu-Tse Chen has been recognized as the most powerful and talented singer-songwriter in Taiwan. On the band’s new album, “Nobody Cares what You Care” (沒有人在乎你在乎的事), his distinctive yet delicate voice shows the true spirit of rock’n’roll.

♪♫ Listen: “Nobody Cares of What You Care

IGU Band on Facebook.

Outlet Drift <BR>“Drowning”

Outlet Drift

Raw, energetic and full of power, Outlet Drift (漂流出口) is a trio formed by young aborigines from beautiful Taitung.

It’s hard to describe their music by simply saying it’s grunge or punk. The music world they create on their new album, “逆游”, is a kind of psychedelic that gives audience the most unique listening experience.

♪♫ Listen: “Strafkolonie” + album stream

Outlet Drift on Facebook, YouTube, Bandcamp.

Ying-Da Chen <BR>“R.E.M. Moods”

Ying-Da Chen
“R.E.M. Moods”

In the recent years, more and more Taiwanese jazz musicians have been coming back to their beautiful homeland after studying abroad. Exceptionally skilled guitarist Ying-Da Chen (陳穎達) is one of them.

For his latest record, “R.E.M. Moods”, he teamed up with a great saxophone player Min-Yen Hsieh. Together they made an album full of tricky and interesting ideas searching for new, weird dreamlands of human beings.

♪♫ Listen: “Half Year of Solitude

Ying-Da Chen on Indievox.



After seven years of waiting, the indie rock trio Orangegrass (橙草) still keep what is their trademark on their latest album, “Crow” (烏鴉).

Huge walls of guitar sound, deep bass and drumming constitute a unique atmosphere that makes it hard to prevent being hooked by the great music that Orangegrass make.

♪♫ Listen: “The Nameless

Orangegrass on Facebook, YouTube, www + beehype.

Ma-te-Lin <BR>“Animals in the Room”

“Animals in the Room”

A band with both electronic and acoustic flavor, Ma-te Lin (林瑪黛), a fictional name, focuse on creating beautiful and vivid sounds that bring people into a world with care and love for all kinds of animals.

“Animals in the Room” (房間裡的動物) will definitely make listeners throw themselves into the fantastic sound images they created.

♪♫ Listen: “Elephant Says

Ma-te-Lin on Soundcloud, YouTube, Facebook, www + beehype.

Ardor Huang <BR>“Useless Guy”

Ardor Huang
“Useless Guy”

A legendary singer-songwriter, after 15 years Ardor Huang (流氓阿德) finally released his fourth album, “Useless Guy” (無路用的咖小).

For this new record, Ardor gathered 8 indie bands with more than 30 musicians to present the long-waiting audience his delicate and touching songs.

♪♫ Listen: “Useless Guy

Ardor Huang on Facebook + beehype.

Lo Sirong & Gomoteu <BR>“More than One”

Lo Sirong & Gomoteu
“More than One”

A Hakka music Master, Lo Sirong (羅思容) has already been recognized as one of the most important musicians in Taiwan.

This time, he gathered 12 poets who wrote beautiful lyrics that blend three different languages – Mandarin Chinese, Hakka, and Taiwanese – with traditional folk and blues.

“More than One” (多一個) is definitely one of the most important albums of this decade.

♪♫ Listen: “Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva

Lo Sirong & Gomoteu on Facebook.

Ken Ohtake/Toru Hayakawa/Noriaki Fukushima <BR>“Live in Tainan”

Ken Ohtake/Toru Hayakawa/Noriaki Fukushima
“Live in Tainan”

Guitarist Ken Ohtake (大竹研) and bass player Toru Hayakawa (早川徹) are band members of the legendary Hakka singer-songwriter Sheng-Xiang Lin’s band, and they currently live in Taiwan.

“Live in Tainan” (佇台南), recorded together with the drummer Noriaki Fukushima (福島紀明), documents their amazing live performance in the famous live music bar Room335 capturing the free jam/jazzy atmosphere of that night with invincible instrument skills.

♪♫ Listen: “Unexpected

Ken Ohtake on Facebook. Toru Hayakawa on Facebook. Noriaki Fukushima on www.

Chiu Pi <BR>“Zang Zang”

Chiu Pi
“Zang Zang”

A natural born artist/musician, Chiu-Pi (邱比) has already composed hundreds of songs and self-produced/released many albums.

By combining minimalism and modern electronic elements on his latest album, Zang Zang (正正), you will find more pleasure inside the music itself and transfer it to other possibilities that the sound may bring to you.

♪♫ Listen:: “Dance Floor

Chiu-Pi on Soundcloud, Facebook, www.

Inka Mbing & Her Young Atayal Friends <BR>“Ima lalu su”

Inka Mbing & Her Young Atayal Friends
“Ima lalu su”

Digging in the traditional music of Taiwanese aborigine Drekay, Inka Mbing (雲力思) is its most important singer and represents the exuberant vitality of this generally unknown music.

“Ima lalu su” (你叫什麼名字) is an album that gathers all the beautiful Drekay music to pass it on to younger generations.

♪♫ Listen: “我的司馬庫斯歌

Inka Mbing & Her Young Atayal Friends on Facebook.