China Room
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China Room

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"Fake Tales of Sex and Disco"

If Radiohead, the Pixies, and faint elements of the Killers procreated in a drunken haze of brilliance and glory the world would be left with this band, China Room. China Room is indie pop at its best. Their self-released album, "Put On a Smile, They're Coming Your Way" presents us with songs of despair and hope set in the bright lights and glamour of the big city. This Los Angeles based band has been touring this town and winning hearts since 2004, and are about to go on tour once again, up the Coast. They've performed with some indie favorites, including the Grey Kid, the Shore, Black Black, the Cold War Kids, and have also performed a month-long residency at the Tangier in Silverlake. Keep your eyes peeled for China Room because I expect nothing but greatness from these five gentlemen.
- Lipstick Communism

"Album Review in Indie-Music Magazine"

By Lisa Monroy

Nima Kazerouni's angsty vocals sound like a cross between Thom Yorke and Robert Smith with alt-rock radio station-friendliness on "Put on a smile. They're coming your way," foursome China Room's full-length debut. The title even sounds like it could be plastered across a Radiohead CD. But these guys prove they're originals. The highly-produced sound of this album is California all the way, starting from opening track "my friend the manic" ("scripted nights in California, young and bright in California") it's a journey best described as angst goes to the beach, a panorama of a Sunshine State burning up into oblivion.

The song "disco chopper" addresses a high school prom queen turned movie star: "Is this really you, movies and magazines ... can't you see you're dying, prom queen?" Later, the listener is let in on the feeling of that unique brand of urban depression seen in L.A. .. "I'm trying to explain myself, Angeles. everyone, these old hills are coming undone." Accompanied by a backdrop of slick, radio-ready rock, these songs avoid being predictable while keeping a mainstream sensibility

Some of the writing reminds us that the album is the band's freshman effort, as on "stuck in the middle," a somewhat repetitive refrain of "stuck in the middle or jumping off a big cliff, always stuck in the middle or jumping off a big cliff," sounds mostly stuck in the realm of cliché. But Kazerouni's melodic piano, Vince Mazza's grinding guitars, Johann Carbajal's energetic basslines and Gary Bramlett's drums melodically mesh even on the weaker tracks. According to the group's MySpace page, Bramlett will not be back for the sophomore effort, as they're currently searching for a drummer.

If China Room continues in the direction they seem to be headed, the room for improvement in the songwriting will inch towards closed, and the band will be primed for takeoff – just hopefully not too far from the left coast, where their inspiration clearly lies.

"Put on a smile. They’re coming your way" rocks through the crashing waves, leaving broken surfboards strewn on a chilly, empty beach, the thin air of California in wintertime.

"Review in"

China Room's debut "Put on a smile. They're coming your way" is destined to become one of the better new wave/pop records out there today. The band has been compared to Thom York and Robert Smith of "The Cure."
China Room's California dreaming has become a shimmering reality evoked solely by the strength and hard work these guys put themselves thru to prove their musical prowess. China Room was recorded and mixed at "Stigmata Records" in Playa Del Rey, California. "Mortars For Sale" is an emotion filled snappy upbeat little number in spite of it's seemingly morbid content. I can totally picture driving to the shore with the windows down and this cd blasting as the sun shines on my face.

You have to agree that some of the songs are reminiscent of "The Beatles" or even” The Beach Boys." Harmonies are a plentiful within these ten tracks. It was nice to hear something different for a change. China Room will absolutely leave you breathless with their originality and a lasting impression will form I'm sure. Most of the songs on this lp are about fear or isolation and how they tend to cope thru imagination. The melodies are amazingly pop and exuberate some "Radiohead" radiance that they send your way. The boys have played all over LA now and a few gigs with indie acts "Cold War Kids", "Black Black," "The Shore," and "The Grey Kid." If you are desperate for a change of pace this cd is for you.

Reviewed by: Kristin Theckston


""New new wave" (Interview/Review)"

China Room's first full-length album, Put on a Smile, They're Coming Your Way, is crammed with musical ideas. Kazerouni's voice recalls the soaring tenor of singers like Jeff Buckley and Muse's Matthew Bellamy, while the band—which includes bassist Johann Carbajal, guitarist Vincent Mazza and drummer Greg Erwinn—walks a tightrope between postmillennial dance-punk and epic '90s Britpop. It all makes for a pretty dramatic affair. Songs like "Disco Chopper" rise above the radio-friendly pablum they might fall prey to in a lesser band's hands—with intricate guitar riffs, busy (but tasteful) drum fills and a sense of dynamics rare in today's pop music

It would be easy to start another band poured into the Hot FM mold; say, another Killers knock-off. And though the songs are catchy and danceable, China Room avoids hamfisted simplicity on purpose. Pastor attributes this to guitarist Mazza.

"It feels like the band kind of views the first album as a really solid fresh effort—the sound is sort of sophisticating a lot," Kazerouni said. "Vince had a lot to do with that ... he feels like there's a lot of crap that comes out of L.A., and even with this album he's still not satisfied."

Pastor chimed in.

"Vince is kind of like anti-stereotypical L.A.," he said. "He's so skeptical of bullshit. He shuns himself speaking bullshit. He fears bullshit in every capacity."

China Room plays music that feels both fresh and familiar, from the epic pop of their album to what Pastor calls the "gypsy jazz/bossa nova things" that are creeping into their new songs and live shows..."

by Joel Hartse

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Contrary to popular belief, the 1960s wasn’t all incense and peppermints and yellow dandelions blowing in the winds of peace and harmony. Beneath the indelibly gorgeous melodies of artists like the Beach Boys and the Beatles flowed an undercurrent of dread and tumult and, of course, revolt. LA-based quartet China Room attempts to embody that subliminal uneasiness in the modern age, with a sound that is at once stirring and dark. Invoking the feeling of the Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd’s mad genius Syd Barrett, the band also tosses in more contemporary influences such as Radiohead and Joy Division for a hybrid style driven by a strong sense of melody. The band celebrates the release of its debut album, Put on a Smile, They’re Coming Your Way, at the Livery Theater on April 30.

- VC Reporter

"Buzz Bands"

Shouts: South Bay quartet La Bella Ruse(former name), which delivered a strong set Tuesday at the Silver Lake Lounge.

- Los Angeles Times

"Interview in "Unsigned the Magazine"

By: Carolina Jones

We here at UTM like the bands we cover to have personality, professionalism and most importantly we like them to sound awesome. So we present to you China Room.

This five man ensemble are admittedly victims of pop culture: The melodies of yesterday, big city glamour and the hopelessness of a despair deferred. Since music is their only option, they present songs of fear and isolation that attempt to hint at a comfort and hope that only exists in the imagination.

Their debut album “Put On a Smile, They’re Coming Your Way” is expertly produced, mastered and mixed down. From start to finish the lyrics and vocals transport you to a world of sunshine and teardrops where you can be caught either driving with your top down on a beautiful breezy day or holed up naked in the corner of a room sobbing. Either way, you’ll feel something with this album.

Their sound although polished serves to transmute pain and anguish into something uplifting and radio friendly.

UTM - Okay tell us who's in the band and who does what.

CR - Nima Kazerouni is on lead vocals and rythym guitar. He occasionally picks up the accordian when he wants to. Vince Mazza is a maniac on lead guitar. Joaquin Pastor plays rythym and lead guitar, organ, and is also known to take off his clothes and dance into an astonished crowd. Johann Carbajal is a madman on bass and Greg Irwin does his
thing on drums.

UTM - What's the ultimate goal of your band?

CR - At the very root is to continue to develop a sound that is so honest and real that there is no mistaking a China Room song with anything else out there right now. This is a lot to ask for but it is what it is.

UTM -Tell us how you came up with the name China Room?

CR - The name comes from a philosophical argument against artificially intelligence. As a rock band it's the perfect homage to such a mind blowing idea.

UTM - What's the best part about being independent?

CR - The best part about being independant is that we can more or less do what we want, how we want. It's completely in our hands what we choose the next step to be. That kind of freedom is quite refreshing these days.

UTM - What's the sucky part about being an indie?

CR - The flip side to that of course is the same reason it's so great: The responsibility completely rests on our shoulders what the next step is actually going to be. There isn't a major label pushing us with PR teams and the capital to shove the product down people’s throats. To grow as an indie band it takes pure and sweet hustling.

UTM - What represents the pinnacle of success to you?

CR - To dream a dream...seeing our name on the marquee of sold out shows not only in the States, but in the UK and Japan. Japan would be unbelievable...

UTM - What's the best advice you've been given?

CR - A stranger who later became a dear friend once told us while we were selling CD's on the streets that as long we continue to be truly fascinated with what we are doing, then we will all find what we are looking for. The moment this seizes to be the case is the moment we should stop doing what we are doing. We have since taken this to heart and we really want to pass this piece of advice to everyone out there.

UTM - Reveal your secret super hero identities.

CR - Joaquin is Channel-man, whose special ability is to live completely and utterly unconsciously at all times. He allows something greater to flow through him. In fact, if you couldn't see him, he wouldn't even exist.

Johann is Dr. Serling, who wields the ultimate power of intense concentration. And he wears a hood so no one can read his thoughts.

Nima is the Time Traveller. What sort of alter-ego did you expect from a UCLA History major? If you can't decipher what his powers might be, then perhaps it's time for you to put this magazine down and take a nap. Or call your mother.

Vince is Captain Planet. Except he doesn't need all those pussy-footing teenagers to unite before he can do some serious earth-saving.

Greg is a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger - the Green Ranger to be exact, mostly good, but almost mostly bad. Powers? We're talking Sword of Darkness, Dragonzord, Dragonzord in Battle Mode and on a good day, the MegaDaragonzord.

UTM - You all are offered 20 million to do music that isn't really you. What do you do?

CR - 20 million dollars offered to an indie band is just so much money. The truth is, nobody needs to sell themselves out to achieve wealth and success. That goes against the very reason we started this band in the first place.

Well there you have it. They wouldn’t sell out for 20 million where as we totally would. Maybe we’ll do an article on just how much we would sell out for...but I digress...

You can catch up with China Room at: - Unsigned the Magazine

"Album Review in"

"The band's debut release, "Put On a Smile, They're Coming Your Way," evokes exactly what sound the band seemingly wants it to, the new wave/pop-rock/alternative music that has been on the rise as of late. Don't get me wrong, however, as they are not only effective, but show room for positive polishing. It's refreshing to hear vocalist Nima Kazerouni's genuine talent and the emotion showcased in tracks "Wonder Years," and the solid closer "Sleep Station" only wonders what they may sound like at this time in a year in two..."-----Amanda

"Featured Artist of the Week"

Soaring vocals and lyrics that to take you on a journey adorn almost every song. Impressive delivery and a pretty sweet recording. Summer is here. These songs make you feel it.

listen up.
support. - XM Radio


Put On a Smile...They're Coming Your Way(April,2006)

1. My Friend the Manic
2. Disco Chopper
3. Stuck in the Middle
4. Mortars for Sale
5. The Idiot
6. Wonder Years
7. Justine
8. Hero Tale
9. The Feast (Spring Roses)
10. Sleep Station

Self titled E.P ( February, 2008)

1. Gargantua
2. Nose Bleed
3. Rosie the Riveter
4. No. 37
5. Ike



Heavily influenced by an upbringing listening to the Beatles, Lou Reed, and the Beach Boys, while later discovering the treasures of Joy Division, Syd Barrett and Radiohead, China Room is indie pop with a dark and disturbed past. Since their fruition in 2004, China room has played all around the Los Angeles area including a residency at the Tangier in Los Feliz and has enjoyed performances with indie groups such as The Grey Kid, the Shore, Black Black, the Cold War Kids and Red Lightning ( featuring Alain Whyte of Morrissey fame). China Room recently completed a successful summer west coast tour playing in every major town from Los angeles, Ca to Seatlle, Wa. Sponsored by the Peace Alliance, the tour was ducumented by a filmographer who is planning on releasing the documentary by early 2008. China Room's songs have found their way to hit shows such as Michael Eisner's "Prom Queen" and recently found its way to multiple episodes of Marshall Herskavit's(creater of "My So-Called Life", "Legends of the Fall" "Blood Diamond") highly anticipated show "Quarterlife." China Room is currently working on recording a very special e.p of new songs written during their summer tour. The e.p is planned for release in mid january of 2008.