Best Albums / EPs of 2017
selected by Cheng-Chung Tsai

Pigheadskin (朱頭皮) <BR> “50” (人生半百古來嘻)

Pigheadskin (朱頭皮)
“50” (人生半百古來嘻)

A genuine music legend/icon in Taiwanese music history. Sarcastic and humorous, Pigheadskin’s new album “50” is a celebration of his 50th birthday, containing different music styles ranging from Rock, Folk, Blues, Gospel to Electronic.

♪♫  Listen: “Norwegian Wood?” + album stream

Pigheadskin on FacebookYouTube.

Aphasia (阿飛西雅) <BR> “Known Rocks” (知覺的礁岩)

Aphasia (阿飛西雅)
“Known Rocks” (知覺的礁岩)

Aphasia are one of the most important/classic post/instrumental rock outfits in Taiwan. Their third album “Known Rocks” is solid and straight-forward, which gives the listener a mind-blowing and visceral experience.

♪♫  Listen: “Known Rocks” + album stream

Aphasia on Facebook.

Nuno Chen’s Band (老諾x樂團) <BR> “Qingshui” (清水)

Nuno Chen’s Band (老諾x樂團)
“Qingshui” (清水)

“Qingshui” is a brand new album by a legendary rock icon Nuno Chen’s band. It records personal life experiences, urban and historical stories. Hoping that rock’n’roll music can save our world, the album vividly shows the faith and belief in music and soul.

♪♫ Listen: “Song of Myself” + album stream

Nuno Chen’s Band on Facebook.

Various Artists <BR> “Pillow Songs” (枕頭之歌)

Various Artists
“Pillow Songs” (枕頭之歌)

Convened by legendary singer-songwriter called ciacia Her, “Pillow Songs” is an album created for babies and young children. With a range of songs written by indie music’s new parents, this album is a great choice for those who want to play some warm, comforting songs to their newborns.

♪♫ Listen: “Good Night Baby…” + album stream

Various Artists on www.

April Red (紅) <BR> “You Render Me”

April Red (紅)
“You Render Me”

April Red (紅) is an electronic duo formed by DJ Code and singer-songwriter Shao-Shih. Their latest record titled “You Render Me” is a concept album which brings sounds of various Taiwanese instruments.

♪♫ Listen: “Misty Clouds” + album stream

April Red on Facebookwww.

Utopia (世外桃源) <BR> “H”

Utopia (世外桃源)

An electronic music duo blending IDM, ambient pop, trip-hop, downtempo and experimental rock, consisting of singer-songwriter Olivia Yen and electronic/rock sound magician Sonic Deadhorse. Their brand new album “H” is another breakthrough which challenges the limits of audiences’ music experiences.

♪♫ Listen: “H” + album stream

Utopia on Facebook.

Constant & Change <BR> “Stranded People” (擱淺的人)

Constant & Change
“Stranded People” (擱淺的人)

Focusing mainly on instrumental compositions, the members of Constant & Change seem to put pure feelings into their work. Compared with other post-rock bands, their debut album “Stranded People” brings a unique, atmospheric sound, with a little bit of metal flavor.

♪♫ Listen: “Stranded People” + album stream

Constant & Change on Facebook.

LEO37 + SOSS <BR> “Be Well World”

“Be Well World”

Led by all-rounder musician Leo Shia with all-star music group SOSS, this project’s debut album “Be Well World” blends hip-hop, funk, soul and blues. With guest musicians 9m88, ABao, Min-Yen Terry Hsieh, they created a highly skillful album that will be hard to surpass.

♪♫ Listen: “Moment

LEO37 on Facebook. SOSS on Facebook.

Fragile Girls (脆弱少女組) <BR> “Some Pop Songs You Can Listen to When You’re Sad”

Fragile Girls (脆弱少女組)
“Some Pop Songs You Can Listen to When You’re Sad”

By adding more pop flavor into sentimental love songs, Fragile Girls tries to write retro pop music in respect of 80s golden pop music era with more synth and beautiful melodies.

♪♫ Listen: “Because You Carry My Soul” + album stream

Fragile Girls on Facebook.

Your Woman Sleeps with Others (老王樂隊) “Stolen Childhood”

Your Woman Sleeps with Others (老王樂隊) “Stolen Childhood”

An young, award-winning college band, YWSWO reminds you of the Waterboys and Arcade Fire. Through their lyrics, they share the bleeding and ironic truth about Taiwan’s educational system and despair of young graduates.

♪♫ Listen: Cram Schools Killed the Children” + album stream

Your Woman Sleeps with Others on Facebook.

FeiChang (廢埕樂團) <BR>“16222”

FeiChang (廢埕樂團)

“16222” is the debut album from the grunge rock outfit FeiChang. With heavy guitars and furious lyrics, they demonstrate they have truly devoted their lives to rock’n’roll.

♪♫ Listen: “Parasite” + album stream

FeiChang on Facebookwww.

EggPlantEgg (茄子蛋) <BR> “Cartoon Character” (卡通人物)

EggPlantEgg (茄子蛋)
“Cartoon Character” (卡通人物)

Representing retro adult-oriented rock style, on their debut album EggPlantEgg shows highly rhymed compositions with interesting and funny lyrics, mixed with Taiwanese and Mandarin Chinese.

♪♫ Listen: Wanna be You+ album stream

EggPlantEgg on Facebook.

Freckles (雀斑樂團) <BR> “Imperfect Lover” (不標準情人)

Freckles (雀斑樂團)
“Imperfect Lover” (不標準情人)

Reformed in 2014, Freckles’ long-awaited sophomore album “Imperfect Lover” proves that they are still great at writing catchy rhymes and whimsical lyrics.

♪♫ Listen: Imperfect Loveralbum stream

Freckles on FacebookBandcamp.

Yu-Chien Tseng (曾宇謙) <BR> “Reverie”

Yu-Chien Tseng (曾宇謙)

Having won numerous international violin competitions, Yu-Chien Tseng has been considered a violin genius at a very young age. “Reverie” is his first recording released by Deutsche Grammophon, smooth and beautiful. Surely he’ll be a shining classical music star.

♪♫ Listen: “The Last Rose of Summer” + album stream

Yu-Chien Tseng on Facebook.

Misa x Underground Stream <BR> “Mosaic of the Night” (百夜生)

Misa x Underground Stream
“Mosaic of the Night” (百夜生)

An outstanding Hakka singer-songwriters of the recent ten years, Misa has released three albums so far. Her music style ranges from Folk to Rock and Jazz. With the band called Underground Stream, Misa has become more mature with her self-taught music writing skills.

♪♫ Listen: “Moonlight” + album stream

Misa x Underground Stream on Facebook,  YouTube, www.

Starr Chen (陳星翰) <BR> “Welcome to the Next Level”

Starr Chen (陳星翰)
“Welcome to the Next Level”

One of the best producers in Taiwan’s pop music scene, on his debut album “Welcome to the Next Level” Starr Chen combines all different electronic/hip-hop music genres with guest musicians including Soft Lipa, Jolin Tsai and J. Sheon. An all-star album indeed.

♪♫ Listen: “Welcome to the Next Level” + album stream

Starr Chen on Facebookwww.

Ying-Da Chen (陳穎達) <BR> “Animal Triste” (動物感傷)

Ying-Da Chen (陳穎達)
“Animal Triste” (動物感傷)

On this new album, jazz guitarist Ying-Da Chen teamed up with saxophonist Min-Yen Terry Hsieh, bassist Ikeda Kinya and drummer Wei-Chung Lin. Their second concept jazz album “Animal Triste” adds more chamber music flavor with free-jams and improvisation.

♪♫ Listen: “Animal Triste” + album stream

Ying-Da Chen on Facebook.

2HRs  <BR> “Immortal Beasts” (永生獸)

“Immortal Beasts” (永生獸)

By using the violin as the lead instrument, the post rock band 2HRs always creates phenomenal, sentimental and fascinating listening experiences for the audience. After 3 years of waiting, their second album “Immortal Beats” is another solid effort.

♪♫ Listen: “YongHe” + album stream

2HRs on Facebook.

Puzzle Man “Organic Melodies” (有機的旋律們)

Puzzle Man “Organic Melodies” (有機的旋律們)

The debut album from finger drumming machine magician Puzzle Man. Cleverley mixed with all the different music elements from jazz to hip-hop to soul to rock’n’roll.

♪♫ Listen: “Surfing Day” + album stream

Puzzle Man on FacebookSoundcloud.

Zooey Wonder (黃玠瑋) <BR> “Wonderland”

Zooey Wonder (黃玠瑋)

Delicate and fragile, the debut album “Wonderland” by Zooey Wonder (Zoe Huang) fixes broken hearts with touching lyrics and beautiful melodies. By adding electronic elements, Zooey Wonder keeps on searching for better ways to express her deepest feelings.

♪♫ Listen: Fog Forest+ album stream

Zooey Wonder on Facebookwww.

Wu Bai & China Blue<BR> “Ding Zi Hua” (釘子花)

Wu Bai & China Blue
“Ding Zi Hua” (釘子花)

“Ding Zi Hua” is the third album written and sung all in Taiwanese by Wu Bai & China Blue (伍佰 & China Blue). With the combination of different music styles and instruments, Wu Bai proves that he is still the king of Taiwanese rock’n’roll.

♪♫ Listen: Ding Zi Hua” + album stream

Wu Bai & China Blue on Facebook, TwitterYouTubewww.

Sorry Youth (拍謝少年) “Brothers Shouldn’t Live Without Dreams”

Sorry Youth (拍謝少年) “Brothers Shouldn’t Live Without Dreams”

Sorry Youth are one of the best rock bands in Taiwan. After 5 years waiting, on their second album “兄弟沒夢不應該” they add brass instruments and Beiguan music. Singing in Taiwanese, Sorry Youth represent the true spirit of Taiwan’s style.

♪♫ Listen: “Brothers Shouldn’t…” + album stream

Sorry Youth on FacebookBandcamp.

HH <BR> “Remotion”


Compiled by audio-visual sound artists Chung-Han Yao and Ting-Hao Yeh, HH focuses on transformation of music beats blending with noise effects. Their debut album “Remotion” is an amazing listening experience which will invigorate your mind and soul.

♪♫ Listen: “Chao Hsiang” + album stream

HH on FacebookSoundcloud.

Barkher (吠人) <BR> “C”

Barkher (吠人)

An emerging electronic superstar based in Taichung, Barkher mostly creates delicate ambient/drone music compositions. Listening to his album is a mind-blowing experience.

♪♫ Listen: C1” + album stream

Barkher on FacebookTwitter, Soundcloud.

Burning Island (火燒島) <BR> “Ghost Island at War”

Burning Island (火燒島)
“Ghost Island at War”

Fast and furious, with their second album “Ghost Island at War” (妖魔鬼島大作戰), thrash group Burning Island proves that they are now one of the best metal bands on the scene. Sarcastic lyrics reflect political disorder and social chaos with powerful energy inside.

♪♫ Listen: Super GY War” + album stream

Burning Island on Facebook.

Rico Cehn (黎可辰) <BR> “Meet” (遊)

Rico Cehn (黎可辰)
“Meet” (遊)

Led by talented singer-songwriter Zyco, Rico Chen called the music they composed Magic Folk Music. Sensitive, romantic and tender, Rico Chen redefines the power of love songs.

♪♫ Listen: “Mr. Nobody” + album stream

Rico Chen on Facebook.

Creating Music Orchestra <BR> “Naomi” (直美)

Creating Music Orchestra
“Naomi” (直美)

One of the best indigenous music groups in Taiwan, Creating Music Orchestra represents the spirits of Amis and tries to refine their traditional music into exquisite classical style. With beautiful a cappella harmonies and contemporary music arrangements their second album “Naomi” is another instant classic.

♪♫ Listen: Voyage”  + album stream

Creating Music Orchestra on Facebook.

Vast & Hazy  <BR>“Insignificant Secret” (次等秘密)

Vast & Hazy
“Insignificant Secret” (次等秘密)

A wonderful duo from Taiwan’s capital Taipei, Vast & Hazy here teamed up with a lead singer Ka Ka Yen and a guitarist Yi-Chi Lin for their long-awaited second EP “Insignificant Secret” (次等秘密). It includes just three tracks, but it might be a first taste of the future of Taiwanese pop music.

♪♫ Listen: Waves”  + album stream

Vast & Hazy on FacebookYouTube, Spotify.

Bisiu Group (美秀集團) <BR> “Sound Check”

Bisiu Group (美秀集團)
“Sound Check”

Emerging with bizarre and old school music/live performance style, Bisiu Group may be the new representative of the so-called “Tai Ke” rock. On “Sound Check”, their music sounds casual but is really fun to listen.

♪♫ Listen: A Rooster”  + album stream

Bisiu Group on FacebookwwwYouTube.

Wei-Jie Huang (黃瑋傑) <BR> “Dim Night” (夜色)

Wei-Jie Huang (黃瑋傑)
“Dim Night” (夜色)

Second album from talented singer-songwriter Wei-Jie Huang, based in Meinong, Kaohsiung, singing mainly in Hakka. “Dim Night” (夜色) portraits with compassion everyday life of common people. He has also made a giant step regarding his compositions.

♪♫ Listen: No Way Out”

Wei-Jie Huang on Facebook.

FiftyBodyFifty (五五身) <BR> “Yet Again, My Romantic Masculinity”

FiftyBodyFifty (五五身)
“Yet Again, My Romantic Masculinity”

FiftyBodyFifty is a folk rock band with an original percussion formation – djembe. Melodic and passionate, their debut album “Yet Again, My Romantic Masculinity” (再一次雄性浪漫) proves that folk music can be so easy to get into.

♪♫ Listen: Mount Jiali Holidays”  + album stream

FiftyBodyFifty on Facebook.

Sun of Morning (晨曦光廊) <BR> “Lost Whisper from the Kids”

Sun of Morning (晨曦光廊)
“Lost Whisper from the Kids”

One of the best instrumental rock bands from Tainan, Sun of Morning offer the listeners passion, hope and tears.

For their new EP called “Lost Whisper from the Kids” (遺失的人間童語), they cooperated with children’s choir. While truly powerful together, they bring the audience touching and lasting memories.

♪♫ Listen: “Braveness” + album stream

Sun of Morning on FacebookYouTube.