The Good China
Gig Seeker Pro

The Good China

Northcote, Victoria, Australia

Northcote, Victoria, Australia
Band Alternative Pop




"Gig Review: The Good China, Georgia Fields, Swiss @ The Toff, Melbourne (EP Launch 17/09/09)"

On a cold, wet and windy evening, Melbourne band The Good China hosted a gig at The Toff in Town to launch their debut EP, Old Maps/New Roads. Referred to most commonly as an ‘eight-piece indie pop troupe’, the dream year that was 2008 for The Good China, brought along with it four week residencies at iconic music venues, The Empress and The Evelyn. As well as bringing their infectious live show to Revolver, The Tote and Ding Dong Lounge, The Good China played the 2009 St Kilda Festival on the ‘Air New Music Stage’, eventually winning the group not only a cash prize but also a spot on the main stage in 2010 and a whole new legion of fans.

After recording their debut EP in the winter of 2009 at Soundpark Studios with producer Steven Schram (Little Birdy, Silverchair, Little Red), The Good China are taking the organised musical circus that is The Good China live experience, on the road.

To kick off the evening, local band Swiss brought their intriguing vocal melodies in the form of lead singers, Louisa and Phoebe. Backed by a four piece band that, for the majority of the set, brought very little energy to the overall performance, detracted from the fun vibes the lead girls were attempting to add to the live show. Heart Love, Tough Skin and Winter Coats were highlights in a set full of indie pop tracks with a dance vibe which occasionally crept into the tracks.

Next support act, Georgia Fields, instantly impressed a building crowd with her infectious energy and music, from the very beginning, demonstrating with her acoustic indie pop, exactly why she was chosen for the support. With a style reminiscent of acclaimed Australian songstress, Clare Bowditch, Georgia’s talents which extended to piano, guitar and ukulele were beautifully accompanied by her vocals. Tracks Drama on the High Seas of Emotion, One Finger and Satellite, written by one of Georgia’s band members, gave the eager crowd an indication of the multiplicity that is Georgia’s sound and lyricism, as well as an insight into future releases. Drawing influence from an extensive range of talented female vocalists, Georgia’s set, which finished with a unique version of Sweet Child O Mine, was an undisputed highlight of the evening.

When the time for The Good China had arrived, my initial fears that the band themselves would not be able to fit on the stage together, were immediately quelled as they launched into the first song of the evening, No More Maps, No More Roads.

Their influences range from Arcade Fire to Radiohead to The Frames, this group bring a diverse energy and musicianship to the stage and to each individual track. With a uniqueness which stems from their constant swapping of musical instruments which range from the basics; guitar, drums and piano, through to banjo, mandolin and violin, The Good China as a live experience, will keep you on your toes and guessing. Perhaps one of its most attractive features, the lack of a sole front man or woman leaves the leading vocal duties predominantly shared between band members, Nicko, Jag, Adam and Ryan, a refreshing element to their diversifying sound.

EP track, If Pain Persists was another crowd favourite with the catchy sing-along vocals and for a change from the violin, the drums driving this powerful track. In what could very well be a preview of what’s to come for The Good China, Self Help Section and Window Seat gave the packed Toff an insight into the future sound of the band. Another favourite, 39 Black, a charging rock track which proved a fine contrast to the following performance of Turn The Page, a slower song and more ballad based than any other on the set list, demonstrated the pure variety of their sound and capabilities as songwriters. It is particularly through track 39 Black, where the powerful and intense vocals of Mit are at their most compelling.

In continuing with the upbeat energy which The Good China continue to provide every performance and particularly throughout that specific evening, Emily Grace and Couch Song captured the crowd’s attention, providing even more opportunities for dancing and general enjoyment, particularly with the catchy harmonies provided by Mit, Cara and Quyen. We Found Three Whistles, is a song which bases its meaning in a childhood spent playing video games and exploring the many different worlds that were available in the virtual world. With a powerful violin hook provided by Quyen and fervently sung by Nicko, the track was both a highlight of the night and a highlight of the EP.

Best known track and final for the evening, All or Nothing had audience members singing and dancing along, not to mention, also handclapping in perfect time to the song’s catchy hooks. The success this track received on Triple J, Triple R and SYN FM attracted even more awareness and acclaim to the band, was highly deserving and the after viewing the live performance of this track, it is not hard to see why. The band returned to the stage and treated the audience to an encore of A Million Little Pieces, then proceeding to treat the audience to a cover, like only The Good China can. Jens Lekman’s Maple Leaves was given its own life courtesy of a snippet of Barry White classic Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love injected into the track alongside the life the band members give the track.

Aside from a few technical difficulties, the incredibly decent sized crowd gathered and quality of their live performance, all eight members of The Good China, proved why they are so deserving of the success that has and will continue to come their way. The infectiousness and diversity of their tracks along with the pure energy they bring to anything they touch, is something not commonly found in the music industry today and is to be highly valued. Although it is tempting to end the review by saying that ‘The Good China aren’t just ‘good’, they’re ‘great’’, I shall restrain myself. I’ll just let the music speak for itself instead.
- Faster Louder

"Gig Review: The Good China @ Pure Pop Records (19/9/2010)"

Yesterday, The Good China played an intimate and achingly beautiful set to a capacity crowd at the iconic Pure Pop Records courtyard (which admittedly is about 40 people). It was a stunning, albeit short, set, and I couldn’t have been more impressed.

The band consisted of seven members at the time, with one absentee who was overseas. Even down a man, the band spilled over all sides of the minuscule stage, creating an even more intimate atmosphere than normally at Pure Pop. Their numerous instruments and accompanying cords took up what little space there was left, creating a hectic and packed stage.

Apparently the courtyard was so full at one point that people waiting outside were refused entry, which is a real pity, because those inside witnessed a real treat. There is no frontman or frontwoman of The Good China, instead the seven bandmembers bounced between instruments with absurd ease, mixing in banjos, melodicas, violins, and everything in between.

They created a surprisingly coherent sound that truly did feel unique, even if you could distinctly spot its influences, most notably Los Campesinos! and Arcade Fire. I only recognised songs from their debut EP, ‘Old Maps/New Roads’, but there was something special to be found in the many layers of every single song.

All Nothing was really rather wonderful, with that distinctive Andrew Bird-esque finger-picked violin providing an uplifting background to the infectious track that saw the band members moving around what little space there was on the stage (at one point the bass player was actually calmly sitting on a seat to the side of the stage while playing, with all other room being taken).

My favourite song of theirs, We Found 3 Whistles, made an appearance towards the end of the forty minute set, and was quite simply mesmerising. It is a track that I have listened to countless times, and live it was even more magic, absolutely captivating the courtyard.

The band explained that this were their first gig in a while, and this manifested itself in occasional forgotten lyrics, but rather than detracting from the gig this only added to the intimate atmosphere and the feeling that this was kind of special.

The closing song, No More Maps No More Roads was really fantastic as well, finishing the gig on a real high note of unabated joy. I’ve been unable to find a copy of this song anywhere, so perhaps it is new, or perhaps unreleased. Either way, me want.

This was one of those really special gigs that I was just really happy to be a part of. The Good China were breathtaking, both in their musicianship, stage presence, and song-writing ability. These guys are one of the true hidden gems of the Melbourne music scene.

Now just imagine what they are like live with all eight band members…
- And Pluck Your Strings

"CD Review: Triple J Unearthed"

View link for updated reviews: - Triple J Unearthed

"Gig Review: The Good China @ The Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne (01/07/2009)"

After knuckling down at Sound Park Studios to record their debut EP this past month, indie-pop outift The Good China were set to return with a series of residency shows at the Evelyn Hotel, with a little help from their friends.

Joining them, and making their live debut, were the ambient-experimental group Icicle Melts. There’s always something infinitely exciting about witnessing a band spreading its wings and taking flight for the first time. The lights faded down to shades of red and blue, to match the moody landscape, the low hum of their ensemble, crafted delicately by the six-piece. As anticipation grew, the band suddenly produced a explosion of noise, and all at once, Icicle Melts had arrived.

Although immediately powerful, I noticed just as quickly that something didn’t quite work. It was fairly obvious what they were trying to achieve, but it didn’t gel all together as well as required. As green to the genre as I am, it became apparent that if ambient’s your thing, precision is paramount. They profess in the kind of music that would be fit for a motion-picture score. A compliment to be sure, but this has its pros and cons, depending on what you’re into. I’d have welcomed a greater emphasis on lyrics, or vocals rather – but on the occasions they did excercise their voices, the band sounded unfortunately similar to a choir of bad hollywood ghosts.

It’s here that a timely reminder is due: its their first gig. As you’d expect, then, nothing was particularly impeccable, but I was impressed by the potential of Icicle Melts nevertheless. For you see, they may be a bit raw, but here’s a group that’s willing to chase a different kind of sound. They’re refreshingly ambitious, with everything from banjo, to xylophone, to melodica gracing the stage. Pleasingly, the band finished on a high, with Dawn Breaks (Over Nothing In Particular), and I can certainly say that maybe a few months down the track, when they’ve found their feet, I’d be more than happy to revisit what will likely be a impressive, professional outfit.

Next were Plastic Palace Alice, a band that’s been tipped for many months across many mediums to be amongst the cream of the crop of Melbourne bands. Needless to say, I was most intrigued. They instantly imbued the Evelyn stage with energy and a sense of spirit, launching straight into their set, and – hang on – is their (male) guitarist wearing a skirt? I digress. Their second song Empire Falls, one of their best of the evening, maintained the tempo, demonstrating their talents as well as their confidence. Even their new material, among which, the rocky Love Frontier, is noticeably polished, coming together well. I only really fault them with the monotony of their setlist. It feels like if you’ve heard a couple of songs, you’ve heard everything they have. They work best when they opt to mix things up, when they indulge in the unexpected, and its these moments that were my favourite of their performance. I also enjoyed frontman Rob McDowell and Emily Taylor’s shared vocals (but then there’s my love of Stars coming to the fore again). Much like the band that preceded them, Plastic Palace Alice end their set on a powerful note, and their reputation as a band to watch proves well-deserved.

One stage, eight people, and a myriad of instruments placed strategically around the headline act. Its a logistical nightmare probably all-too-familiar to The Good China, packed like sardines onto the Evelyn stage. The band introduced themselves to the crowd with the mid-tempo, heartfelt A Million Little Pieces, as each member plays their part in bringing it all together with definitive precision.

You can’t help but note the antics between songs, as each member scrambles to find whatever instrument they need – be it clarinet, ukulele, banjo, violin, to name a few – for the next track. These breaks in the set have the potential, as you might expect, to be long and tedious. Fortunately, on any given occasion, at least one of the eight was sure to take the mic and acknowledge the crowd, tiding them over until everything was good to go. And it was always worth the wait. Each song proved a ride in itself, as their carnival-esque repertoire continued into the night. They have all the bases covered, from the harmony-laced grooves of The Couch Song, to the bittersweet Turn The Page, and finally, the unrestrained ecstasy of We Found Three Whistles. Initially, its difficult to understand exactly what you’ve taken away from such a potent, mixed bag of a set – it is only to be understood that The Good China have treated your ears to a joyous, most entertaining evening.

By the end of the night, I knew a few things. I would certainly be checking in with Icicle Melts somewhere down the line, as they already display enormous potential. Plastic Palace Alice, without a doubt, continue to emerge as one of the best acts on the Melbourne circuit. And as for The Good China, they have three more Wednesday nights in July of calling the Evelyn Hotel home. A handful of grand conclusions, and I have the one word to sum it up: win.
- Faster Louder

"CD Review: The Good China, Old Maps/New Roads EP – 23rd August 2009"

About bloody time too!

Melbourne’s richly diverse musical collective ‘The Good China’ have finally given the world (via iTunes) their debut five-track EP Old Maps/New Roads. I’m only whining about this because it was almost nine months ago when we heard the demos that have led to this EP, and let me tell you that hanging around on street corners whistling The Good China’s catchy refrains… well, that can only be done for so long before the attention of the police is attracted!

Old Maps/New Roads kicks off with All Nothing. This fast-paced, hooky, full-of-refrain-goodness song quickly reveals to the careful listener the massive spread of talent that Melbourne’s eight-piece have at their fingertips. All Nothing has been re-recorded since the demo we first heard in January 2009 and the careful touches in production, alterations to the instrumental and vocal tracks all reveal a surprising depth of maturity in a band who have only been together for a couple of years. I wish I could play you both versions back-to-back but I can’t. You’ll just have to imagine the guitars, glock, jazzy violin (bowed and pizzicato), keyboards, (reworked) harmonies, and all tastefully held together by a beautifully underplayed percussion section that includes claps, shakers, tambourine and, of course, drums.

The second track is If Pain Persists which might have been taken from one of those warning notices on a bottle of pills. After the instrumental introduction the lead vocal is so well balanced with what’s gone before that the temptation is to sit back, close your eyes and let the music flow over you like liquid honey. This Is Not A Good Thing To Do whilst driving or operating heavy machinery. Although the pace on this track is slower than All Nothing, it’s still fast enough to get your feet tapping and fingers drumming loud enough to irritate whoever is sitting near enough to get irritated. It’s a pleasant listen; lead vocals and harmonies to the fore, instruments slightly subdued.

Third up is Turn The Page which sounds like a… Well… I don’t know. Have you seen the film The Lake House? This track, Turn The Page, sounds as though it should be the soundtrack to that. It has a haunting quality, slightly ethereal which is offset by the more musically-grounded rhythm section. The violin is beautiful and carries the melody from section to section effortlessly. The vocals are just… stunning.

We Found 3 Whistles begins not with whistles, surprisingly, but with a key-chord that puts me in mind of No Woman No Cry. And there the similarity ends. Once again the violin is used to good effect to strike a delightful melody which is soon accompanied by acoustic guitar. The mix is joined by bass guitar, banjo, electric guitar and then the counted vocals introduce the listener to a full set of what I can only describe as ‘The Good China Goodness’. It’s their trademark sound – or it is in my head. There’s a little something in here that reminds me of Fanfarlo – and that is no bad thing! I could love this track. No, really. At the end of 4m 44s I wonder where the last 4m 44s have gone. This beautiful track sucks the listener in to a timeless world filled with musical pleasure.

39 Black is the last track on Old Maps/New Roads, it’s slower than anything else on the EP; it hints at a darker side to the signature The Good China sound. There’s a subtle undertow that hints of a depth not yet revealed, a taste of things to come? Maybe. This is a stunning sign-off track to the EP, the performance is heartfelt, the musicianship is obvious and fulsome. It left me feeling breathless on the first listen.

The Good China are an outfit to watch, a band to keep your eyes on but most of all, producers of music that should never be away from your iPod.
- This Reality Podcast

"The Good China w/ The Mischief and Twin Vickers"

Dispatched from Australia, STUART LYNCH reports on Melbourne’s live music scene.

THE EMPRESS HOTEL in North Fitzroy has a fierce reputation for its support of the local scene, and is famous as one of the original promoters of live music in the area. Such standing predictably attracted all manner of trendies and musos to this showcase of three underground acts with steadily growing acclaim of their own.

Headline act of the evening The Good China soon trooped on stage, and provided a veritable musical smorgasbord for the now packed side room. The multi-talented nine-strong unit switched instruments and rotated throughout the set, playing eclectic classical-infused pop using an array of sounds, singers and songwriting styles. This gave them the air of an old-school music collective, adapting to suit each songwriter in turn, and refreshingly void of any ego or permanent central focus.

The gloriously assembled ‘All Nothing’ demonstrated the huge promise that has catapulted The Good China to prominence in the Melbourne live scene, and if only they can find a consistent sound to go with their undeniable talent, there may well be a wider audience in wait.

The Good China w/ The Mischief and Twin Vickers performed at The Empress Hotel, Fitzroy North, on December 4. - The Lumiere Reader

"The Good China @ The Empress, Melbourne (27/11/08)"

I had a pleasant little surprise on Thursday night when I saw The Good China begin their residency at the deliciously dingy Empress Hotel. Like finding a ten dollar note on the ground; unexpected and sure to put you in a good mood.

It was one of those shitty spring nights. You know, where the pavement’s slippery and all the windows fog up. One of those crappy nights where you miss your tram and you have the sniffles. A dirty night where you just want to lie around in your underwear and not go out and see a band.

Basically I just wasn’t in the mood, but being the amazingly committed reporter that I am, I duly traded my futon and doona for sticky floors and the stale smell of beer. And I’m glad I did because as soon as I arrived my troubles, like an unlocked Ferrari in a Footscray shopping centre, instantly disappeared.

A lot of credit must go to Quang Goes Mangoes, who kicked off the night with a lilting, winsome set. A side project of Quang Dinh, one fifth of indie heroes Little Red, his gently strummed guitar and charming harmonies instantly won over a slightly tipsy crowd. It’s nothing too different to Little Red but hey, those guys seem to be doing alright for themselves so who can blame him.

The Good China crowded onto the stage. They are a big band in every sense of the word. Three guitarists, two keyboardists, a bass, a drummer, a violinist and a shitload of singers add up to make one great band.

Inevitably there are comparisons with other chamber pop ensembles a la I’m From Barcelona, Architecture in Helsinki and The Arcade Fire. There’s the soaring violins and the glockenspiel. There’s the fey semi-meaningful song titles like A Million Little Pieces and Trick of the Light. And incidentally what is the deal with all these big bands having arbitrary geographical references in their names?

But don’t worry The Good China are great in their own right. From the swirling opening 39 Black to the rousing final song All Nothing, the local nine-piece were absolutely captivating. Nominally led by the utterly charming Mit and held together by the pitch perfect strings of violinist Quyen, every song is a great example of well executed indie pop.

For such a large band there is a lot of space between the sounds. The players do well not to musically and physically (the stage was very small) step on each others' toes. Each part is discernible in the large sound they create, from the softly shaking maracas on Couch Song to the acoustic picking of We Found Three Whistles.

Basically if you have a musical sweet tooth this is the band for you. The euphoric choruses and saccharine four part harmonies go straight to your head, like a downing a bag of Wizz Fizz in one go. The energy of the band is really infectious too. Every last one of them had a goofy big grin smeared across their face for the entire set. It’s music that quite simply makes you feel good and with them playing every Thursday for the next month there really is no excuse not to check them out.

Gig Review by Domam, 2nd December, 2008
- Faster Louder

"The Good China @ The Tote, Melbourne (19/08/2008)"

Melbourne may never relent in producing fine new talent and a night at the Tote is all you need to submerge yourself in such fresh local sounds. On offer Tuesday night were the sweet acoustic sounds of Grizzly Jim Lawrie, along with the clangy – pop meets punk – sounds of the Box Rockets and the ever so packed stage of The Good China participants. With only a handful of shows up their sleeves to date, The Good China seem to already have a firm grasp of how to work the stage and the live circuit itself (for instance, with posters such as their own, there is little one can do to resist).

It was almost as though someone had given a circus crew a cachet of instruments as the nine mixed-and-matched members of The Good China hit the stage to the super happy melodies of their opening number. The interesting thing though, was that there was no distinction of a ring leader. If such an observation wasn’t clear at the beginning, it certainly was as soon as their second number appeared and the band played their own version of musical chairs – swapping instruments, positions and lead vocal responsibilities.

The Good China moved back and forth between responsibilities and a constantly varying array of sounds constantly from there on, which is likely credited to their shared song writing and contributions. The plucking at violin, head-bobbing hooks and infectious band clapping in All Nothing contrasted with Face, during which a much slower approach was taken amidst the vocal harmonising of several members. Speaking of harmonies, the band obviously loves to sing along with one another – mixing up the guys and girls voices so that each song was distinct from the next. Leading the act on the boys front, five of the six guys had a turn at leading the pack – with Nick McMillan’s voice complementing the pop hooks and Jag Gresch providing more of a gruff delivery on a rockier number. Even those hiding up the back came forward at stages, with drummer Adam Horne opting for guitar and picking up the energy with his upbeat delivery of In My Head.

What’s worrying about seeing a band with nine members is how they will manage the ensemble so that everyone gets to play, but the sound is not over the top and messy. It seemed The Good China had latched on to the clever and careful balance here though, as they juggled their control over various guitars, bass, mandolin, violin, glockenspiel, keys, drums and other percussion with professionalism. Moreover, as far as anyone could tell, the band were performing on the basis that if you can play an instrument then you get a turn with it. A stand out track 39 Black finished the set with Gresch and Mit Sanciolo upfront singing – and eventually screaming their mighty voices – into the concluding moments. The Good China is definitely an act to keep your eyes and ears out for in the months to come.

- Faster Louder, 24th August, 2008

"A Million Little Pieces reviews on Unearthed"

The Good China A Million Little Pieces (2008)

rating: 5/5
Really something special.
distantsun007 15 Oct, 2008

rating: 5/5
Another fantastic singalongable track that gets stuck in your head. These China boys & girls have the right formula!
thecliches 11 Oct, 2008

rating: 5/5
you make me smile, good china. yaay!
10 Oct, 2008

rating: 5/5
09 Oct, 2008

rating: 5/5
What an amazing discovery this group is. Unique sound and just so enjoyable to listen to. Looking forward to hearing more of their stuff.
vjh31 08 Oct, 2008

rating: 5/5
Possibly the best Good China song, especially for repeated listening.
Huranium Jones 07 Oct, 2008

rating: 5/5
sweet and delicate. lovely.
thisisthebestthingever 07 Oct, 2008

rating: 5/5
Went to see this band at the Empress on Saturday and they just get better. Million Little pieces just like the nine band members has a million reasons to like it but just love the tension build up by the band. Sends shivers down my spine. Tiger Two
Tiger Two 29 Sep, 2008

rating: 4/5
if i was zach braff, i would go ape for this song. although i'm not zach braff, i'm still ape for this song!
shonky 23 Sep, 2008

rating: 5/5
Tight atmosphere piece. Dig this indie sound; raw tambourine and heavy reverb backing vox. Like a multi-instrumental Mazzy star.
HINY 22 Sep, 2008

rating: 5/5
wow.....just wow.
AlexWilko 22 Sep, 2008 - Triple J Unearthed


No More Maps, No More Roads - released in Australia as a single in October 2011.

Recording has commenced for their next full release expected in 2012.


Old Maps/New Roads EP - released in Australia 24 August 2009.
Produced by Steven Schram (Little Red, Silverchair, Little Birdy).
1. All Nothing
2. If Pain Persists
3. Turn The Page
4. We Found 3 Whistles
5. 39 Black

Tracks from the EP have received airplay on Australian stations 3RRR, SYN FM (All Nothing featured in SYN's Sweet 16), Fbi, 4ZZZ, Plenty Valley FM, Radio Adelaide, Coast FM, Edge Radio, Eastside Radio, Port Stephens FM and Blu FM. They have also been featured on local and international music blogs and podcasts including Who The Hell, Ice Shack Radio, Indie 30 and This Reality Podcast.


The Good China demo EP - 2008
featuring: All Nothing, A Million Little Pieces and Perversion for Profit.
The demo version of All Nothing has received airplay on Triple J, 3RRR, SYN FM, Coast FM, Traxx and Last FM.



The Good China are eight people who make music together.

Of course, there's more to it than that. They've played some of Melbourne's finest and filthiest venues, overheard themselves on Triple J, Triple R and SYN FM's airwaves, and spent one memorable Valentine's Day serenading strangers from atop the Main Stage at St Kilda Festival. They've shivered together in a Northcote recording studio and emerged with a debut EP - 'Old Maps/New Roads' - born from a mutual admiration of Architecture in Helsinki, Los Campesinos! and Broken Social Scene, the guidance of producer Steven Schram, and an unhealthy obsession with mid-90s video gaming. They've embraced Sydney's monorail, swam in Canberra mall's public fountains, frightened international students in youth hostels in Adelaide, tumbled off stages with red wines in hand in Geelong and found out exactly where Numurkah is. (It's near Shepparton.) And their charming indie pop has made some people clap their hands, and some people sing along, and some people dance and jump and scream at the top of their lungs.

But when it really comes down to it - they're eight people who make music together.

Band Members