Found for a dollar in a Chinese-language bookstore in Flushing.
Ground-breaking Beijing art/punk rocker Cuī Jiàn has been recording since the mid-1980s. Considered the father of Chinese rock (he was the first mainlander to adapt Western-style pop), he actually started out with the Beijing Philharmonic Orchestra when he was 14 years old. His song "Nothing to My Name" became an anthem during the Tiananmen Square protests, despite his own protest that it was merely a love song--nothing more, nothing less.
His music is at times funky, experimental, slightly off-kilter--sort of like James Chance & The Contortions x Sonic Youth, though I don't think I've heard anything quite like at least some of the tracks on this CD. As the title would suggest (and yes, it means *those* balls), he often mocked China's communist past (and present), ultimately getting himself banned from airplay and major public performances until 2005. Recorded in 1994, "Balls under the Red Flag" is considered by many to be his masterpiece, one of, if not the greatest rock records ever recorded in China.
It's not out of the realm of possibility that he's single-handedly responsible for the current Beijing punk movement.
Soon after I moved to New York City in 1997 I began to notice that bodegas run by people from around the world sometimes stocked CDs and DVDs of music and film from the countries they had come from.
The music I've collected from these bodegas can almost never be found in the "World Music" sections of the few remaining places to buy CDs in the U.S.; nor, for that matter on iTunes (or cheapo MP3 sites like Soundike).
If you are an artist or publisher and do not want your music here, just let me know and I'll remove it.