A standout in Beijing's underground rock scene (learn more about it from our story on five other bands) returns to the U.S. this month for a few shows in NYC before swinging through the South. Hedgehog, formed in 2005, is one of the most notorious and popular groups to come out of China in recent years. The country's indie rock movement gained steam in Beijing in the early part of the last decade, continuing to grow nationally and abroad. Like the birth of punk, raw, energetic tunes primarily make up this now preteen movement.
Represented by Modern Sky, one of China's only indie labels, Hedgehog's meteoric rise to the forefront of alternative Chinese music in 2007 came after a slow start on the scene. The bands defacto leader Atom, featured on the cover of the 2009 book Sound Kapital: Beijing's Music Underground, is stout in stature but fierce on the drums. She brings an enchanting energy to their performances and, while the driving melodies are hypnotic, she's undeniably the center of attention.
The band's music is difficult to define because it includes a broad spectrum of sounds. Indie pop with a twist of punk feels like an almost adequate description, but so few words for such a dynamic group seems unfair. Already at the top of the underground game in Beijing, their second trip to America will include the recording of a new album with Russell Simmons (of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) and Coco Rosie's John Grew. Touring with Xiu Xiu and Kindest Lines, catch the badass Beijing youth all along the Eastern Seaboard through September.