Some of the Best Bands in Taiwan
Here are some of what I consider to be some of the best bands in Taiwan. I’ve seen most of them live. They aren’t listed in order, just bands that I listen to regularly. Some sing in Taiwanese and others Mandarin. Most of the bands are alt-rock or indie-rock. Taiwan has a really great music scene that I feel is under-appreciated. A lot of these bands should be popular in the West based on their playing abilities.
拍謝少年 Sorry Youth
Sorry Youth (拍謝少年) are usually on rotation a few times a month. When I listen to them I’m usually wandering around the Taiwanese countryside on my motorcycle. They are the Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢) of Taiwanese rock. They recently released a new album ,歹勢好勢, it is a nice departure from their previous two albums. This album includes features from other artists, such as Jen Jen (余佩真), who was in the excellent movie “Tshiong” (衝組). My favorite song on the album is 出巡. I love the use of traditional instruments on modern songs.
If Sorry Youth are the Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢) of Taiwanese rock, then EggplantEgg (茄子蛋) are the Edward Yang (楊德昌) of Taiwanese rock. This band puts out some of the best music videos I’ve ever seen. All of them are miniature movies. In fact, their recent single is the song for a new movie, Man In Love (當男人戀愛時). I’ve probably listened to that song 100 times. I had it on repeat for a week while I drove to work. Definitely check them out.
飛鴻 Faye Hong
Faye Hong (飛鴻) are the first Taiwanese band that I really got into. I saw them live at a festival in Hualien and was blown away. I patiently waited for their first album and it’s one of the my favorites. Traditional instruments are a lot more prominent in this band. The lead singer’s voice gives the songs a spiritual element. It’s like he’s tapping into the spirits of Taiwan.
餵飽豬 Feed the Pigs
Punk is very much alive in Taiwan and Feed the Pigs (餵飽豬) are my favorite Taiwanese punk band. I saw them at the same festival in Hualien as Faye Hong and waited for their album as well. I’ve seen them live twice and they bring a lot of energy to each performance. Listening to them makes you feel like you can take on the entire PLA.
血肉果汁機 Flesh Juicer
My favorite Taiwanese metal band. Flesh Juicer (血肉果汁機) are a metal core band that mixes traditional elements into their music and lyrics. They’re one of the bands that I haven’t seen live yet and I was supposed to see them this July, but the recent COVID-19 outbreak has postponed the concert until October. Definitely looking forward to seeing them live in the future.
禁藥王 & 栗子 Asiaboy & Lizi
Asiaboy & Lizi (禁藥王 & 栗子) are the best Taiwanese hip-hop group. They have the best beats and the best flow and they make all the other Taiwanese hip-hop groups look like amateurs in comparison. These guys are fire and I don’t know what else to say.
盧廣仲 Crowd Lu
Not only is Crowd Lu a great singer, he is also a great actor. He’s in my favorite Taiwanese TV Show, A Boy Named Flora A (花甲男孩轉大人). He has a huge following and he deserves it. He wrote the titular song for Your Name Engraved Herein and it has become an instant classic. He’s another artist I would love to see live, but the tickets for his shows sell out quickly.
董事長樂團 The Chairman
The Chairman (董事長樂團) are a classic Taiwanese band. Like Crowd Lu, they are also incredibly popular. I was lucky enough to see them live in Anping. It was a small personal concert and I was blackout drunk. A lot of their songs incorporate local religious elements. Their song, “The Gods Bless Taiwan,” was my number one played song on Spotify last year. The song is incredibly catchy.