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Hedgehog's jangly, noise-kissed rock descends from grunge and artier elders like the Cure and R.E.M., but trades world-weariness for wide-eyed enthusiasm.
July 15, 2011, 12:00am

What if you went back in time and drained that angsty gloom from the early-90s alt-rock scene, leaving only bittersweet joy? You’d end up with a bunch of bands that sound a lot like Hedgehog. This Beijing trio’s jangly, noise-kissed rock descends from grunge and artier elders like the Cure and R.E.M., but Hedgehog trades the world-weariness for some serious wide-eyed enthusiasm.

After forming in 2005, the band played a series of shows at D-22, a venue with a reputation as the “Chinese CBGBs.” The result: Hedgehog was rocketed into Beijing’s budding indie scene alongside similarly rough-edged pop outfits like Carsick Cars and Snapline. A bevy of shows and festival appearances followed, including a 2009 US package tour sponsored by the band’s label, Modern Sky. When asked by Pangbianr for her impressions of gigging in the States, petite female drummer Atom proclaimed the experience as “the punk road of death” while flashing a huge grin.

Check Hedgehog’s 2009 single “24 Hours Rock Party,” an ultra-charming ode to the pleasures of live music. “Here is a room / Full of cool bands / If you want to see them / Please come in,” wails front man Zo. “Why you come here to see us? / What will we show you? / We will show you a jam / Hey!!!” In the song’s video, fans beam wildly, pogoing to Atom’s beats. Meanwhile, Zo leaps and writhes, executing Kurt Cobain–style moves with Billie Joe Armstrong glee.

In Beijing, the band has largely outgrown its DIY roots. We filmed the Honeyed and Killed release party at Mao Livehouse, a prestigious 800-capacity club known for its state-of-the-art sound. Expect a raucous lovefest between Hedgehog and the hometown crowd—a reminder that alt-rock doesn’t have to bring you down.

You should definitely watch part 2 right now.