Wuhan might be more famous for SMZB (that punk band with the bagpipes) or the hangout Wuhan Prison, managed by SMZB vocalist and “punk thinker” Wu Wei, but this week’s focus will be on Wuhan’s post-punk poster-boys Panic Worm and their single “Chicken Spit.” Released in July 2018 with Ruby Eyes records, the band’s debut album Elusive Magic finds it, in the band’s words, “diving head first into the territory of 80’s post punk scattered with 90’s slacker sensibilities.”
According to guitarist Ryan Blankley, once upon a time, in a restaurant far, far away, Panic Worm was taking a break from recording when discussion turned to what name it could place upon the track it was playing that day. The bass player Wang Rongji, (whose name sounds very similar to “chicken” — 鸡 jī) accidentally choked on his food, subsequently spitting in Blakey’s face. From that moment forth, the previously nameless track was to be known as “Chicken Spit.”
Overdriven guitars dance between assonance and dissonance, backed by pulsating bass and a steady beat. Crisp production allows the highs of each hi-hat hit to penetrate, and the lows every bass note to punch, leaving enough space for every instrument to fill the meaty song-sandwich. Vocalist Yu Cheng’s stylistic blends of Ian Curtis- and Mark E Smith-like swoons and croons provides (to quote his own lyrics) an “inexplicably pink-smelling” sonic-smoothie to wash it down with.
Blankley has recently been added to the prestigious roster of EarthQuaker Devices’ affiliated artists, alongside The Mars Volta’s Juan Alderete, and master of all things noisy, Nick Reinhart. The boutique effect pedal company based out of Akron, Ohio, is more commonly known amongst pedal junkies worldwide for its weird and wonderful machines, such as the Afterneath, described by EarthQuaker Devices (EQD) as an “Otherworldly Reverberator” that transforms even the simplest of squeaks into an intergalactic choir of space dolphins, or the Rainbow Machine, a “Polyphonic Pitch Mesmerizer” that, well…it’s got a magic button.
After discovering the discontinued White Light overdrive online, Blankley enlisted the help of a friend overseas to track one down, ship it to China. This is when a self-proclaimed “EarthQuaker fascination” began.
With regards to the affiliation, Blankley says: “To my surprise they were interested despite our clear lack of Western media or popularity. For me that’s also one of the best things about EQD in that they are willing to support all kinds of artists. I’m sure if you go on other pedal websites they are probably only endorsing mostly famous artists. So it feels a great way to start the year being associated with EQD.”
Congratulations, Ryan, and to those over at EarthQuaker HQ, keep on keeping it weird.